Remembering Princess Diana’s visit to Stevenage – 20 years after her death

PUBLISHED: 08:28 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:03 31 August 2017

Image: Alan Millard

Image: Alan Millard

Copyright 2002

On the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Comet has reached into the archives to recall the day she visited Stevenage.

The ‘Queen of Hearts’ was visiting to open Peartree clinic for measles, mumps and rubella immunisation in Hydean Way, as part of a national campaign for immunisation on October 11, 1988.

The Comet’s photographer that day, Alan Millard, remembers it well.

“She was a very pleasant person,” said Alan, who today is a Hitchin councillor and chairman of North Hertfordshire District Council.

The Princess helped one little girl into her cardigan The Princess helped one little girl into her cardigan "just like a mum." Image: Alan Millard

Alan was the only photographer with access to follow the Princess that day, and said she was relaxed and friendly as she greeted parents and sat in the clinic.

“She was very friendly and helpful, chatting to the children,” he said, recalling how she helped one child into her coat “just like a mum”.

By this time, the Princess had been married and in the public eye for more than six years, and was relaxed in front of the camera.

Image: Alan Millard Image: Alan Millard

“She had no problem at all being photographed,” said Alan.

But she was nervous of needles, and covered her eyes when the first child had her injection.

The visit lasted around an hour, with the Princess taking time to greet the crowds that had gathered outside.

The Princess was patron of the National Rubella Council until her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

Peartree clinic has since closed.

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