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Split image of Princess Diana shaking hands with a HIV patient and Prince William carrying a rainbow-coloured bag© Getty Images

See the times the royal family showed their support for the LGBTQ+ community – from Princess Diana to Prince William

Princess Diana paved the way for LGBTQ+ support from the royals

Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
June 27, 2024
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Pride Month is drawing to a close, and while it's always important to reflect on the progress made, it's still important to reflect on progress made.

One institution that has been trying its best to modernise is the royal family and while public statements from the royals on subjects such as LGBTQ+ rights can be scarce, there have been numerous times that royals have broken ranks and shown their support.

WATCH: Prince William shares support to LGBTQ+ community ahead of Pride in London

The late Princess of Wales made headlines when she visited the London Middlesex Hospital, which was treating HIV patients, in 1987. This has rubbed off on her sons with Prince William and Prince Harry both showing their support in other ways.

Discover the times that the royals displayed their own 'Pride' and showed their support to the LGBTQ+ community…

Princess Diana – Meeting patients with HIV

Princess Diana in a red suit meeting people at London Lighthouse© Princess Diana Archive
Diana's visit marked a change in attitudes

Princess Diana shocked many when in 1987 she paid a visit to the London Middlesex Hospital to meet people who were living with HIV. At the time, the disease was ravaging the LGBTQ+ community and numerous myths were spread about how it transmitted.

One of the most prominent falsehoods was that HIV could be transmitted through skin touch like handshakes, however, the late Princess of Wales helped dispel this when she was pictured shaking hands with patients without wearing gloves.

Her visit helped to break down stigmas and in a speech, she famously said: "HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it. What's more, you can share their homes, their workplaces, and their playgrounds and toys."

Prince William – Attitude cover

Prince William in a suit© WPA Pool
William was the first royal on the cover of an LGBTQ+ publication

In 2016, the then Duke of Cambridge invited representatives from the LGBTQ+ community to Kensington Palace to learn of their experiences of bullying and the subsequent effects on their mental health. He then posed for Attitude, becoming the first royal in the world to appear on the cover of an LGBTQ+-related publication.

Following the meeting, William said: "No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives.

"The young gay, lesbian and transgender individuals I met through Attitude are truly brave to speak out and to give hope to people who are going through terrible bullying right now. Their sense of strength and optimism should give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it.

"What I would say to any young person reading this who's being bullied for their sexuality: don’t put up with it – speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of."

Prince William says he'd 'support his children' if they came out

Prince William and Kate Middleton with Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte© Karwai Tang
William committed to "fully spporting" his children if they came out

In 2019, William was pressed on what his response would be if Prince George, Princess Charlotte or Prince Louis were to come out as gay. Although the royal said he would "fully support" them, he did open about his worries over the public scrutiny they might face due to their identity.

"It does worry me from a parent point of view," he expressed. "How many barriers you know, hateful words, persecution, all that and discrimination that might come, that's the bit that really troubles me. But that's for all of us to try and help correct and make sure we can put that to the past and not come back to that sort of stuff."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle express support

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry smiling© Chris Jackson
Harry and Meghan have supported the LGBTQ+ community on several occasions

Back in 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex publicly showed their support for the LGBTQ+ community during a discussion about human rights. Jacob Thomas, who works in Australia to reduce the suicide rate of the LGBTQ+ community said of Meghan's support: "Miss Markle said, and these were her exact words, 'This is a basic human rights issue, not one about sexuality'."

In 2019, the couple marked the start of Pride Month with a post that read: "This month we pay tribute to the accounts supporting the LGBTQ+ community - those young and old, their families and friends, accounts that reflect on the past and are hopeful for a deservedly more inclusive future. We stand with you and support you. Because it's very simple: love is love."

The Queen Mother backs gay workers at Buckingham Palace

The Queen Mother and William Tallon as King Charles leaves in a car© Tim Graham
The Queen Mother defended gay people working at Buckingham Palace

The Queen Mother had an incredibly close friend with her steward, William Tallon, who attracted the nickname of 'Backstairs Billy'. However, during the 1970s, she was advised by Conservative advisers not to employ queer people. In response, the Queen Mother flatly said: "We'd have to go self-service."

King Harald's passionate speech

King Harald giving a speech© Ragnar Singsaas
King Harald delivered a moving speech

In 2016, King Harald V of Norway gave a passionate speech at a garden party where he proudly showed how he believed "love is love".

Addressing attendees in the speech which also paid tribute to refugees, the Norwegian monarch said: "It is not always easy to say where we come from, to which nationality we belong. Home is where the heart is. That cannot always be placed within country borders.

"Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other."

King Norodom Sihanouk backs same-sex marriage

King Norodom Sihanouk with his hands together© TANG CHHIN SOTHY
King Norodom Sihanouk was a supporter of same-sex marriage

Despite a constitutional ban since 1993, Cambodia's former monarch, King Norodom Sihanouk, turned out to be a huge supporter of same-sex marriage. After watching a documentary about same-sex marriages in San Francisco, the King wrote: "As a liberal democracy, Cambodia should allow marriage between man and man or woman and woman. God has various tastes."

PHOTOS: Meet the LGBTQ mums and dads and their adorable children: From Elton John to Tom Daley

MORE: Stunning same-sex celebrity weddings: Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Daley & more

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