Written by Laura Russell, CNN
On December 29, 1981, Princess Diana visited Elizabeth Glaser, the mother of actress and AIDS activist Robin Williams. The princess asked a full-house of support workers what Glaser would like for a Christmas gift.
“Well, you know, it’s Christmas Eve so, that might mean flowers, right? Or a candle?” Glaser replied, according to the memoir “Farewell to Arms: Cancer Letters and the Women Who Write Them.”
“Or perhaps she might just like to get a phone call at 4 in the morning that the Republican Party is giving me $1 million to fight this thing that she told me about several times,” Glaser added.
Diana responded that it would probably be for “new clothes.”
The charity Superenormous
Diana was introduced to the parents of photographer Peter Beard, who was also set to receive the award. She then invited Glaser and Beard’s wife, Julie, to a party in Kensington Palace’s Ballroom.
Diana’s patronages included many organizations that focused on the environment and HIV/AIDS, and specifically Glaser.
“Mummy would be so proud to know we are a difference maker,” Glaser wrote in her final letter in 1989, which was later made into a video.
The princess even sent Glaser dresses. One of Glaser’s last requests was for her to wear a skirt with “a good, sexy slit,” Glaser wrote in her memoir. “You know she’s a role model, Elizabeth!”
During the last year of her life, Glaser worked with Diana’s charity We Love Kids, an organization that funded gifted children from the poor.
A friend of the Princes
Glaser’s son Jake Davis told CNN he remembered hearing those lines from his mother as she waited for a telephone call.
“You could tell she was dying,” Davis said, adding that he thinks of Glaser all the time. “She wanted to talk with him because I knew then her and the Princess of Wales had a very close relationship.”
In 2009, Glaser testified in the US Congress about childhood obesity. She also set up a charity with Prince Charles to create awareness about childhood poverty.
During the years she knew Prince Charles, Glaser supported a number of charities, and gave him gifts including a stethoscope and phone books, according to a tribute in the British Library.
Davis said that most of the celebrities he met never really knew his mother, but Princess Diana would always ask him “How are you and how’s your mother?” during their frequent phone calls.
Prince Harry, Diana’s son, has given Glaser a prominent place in his own Christmas pastime. Last week, Harry revealed on “Good Morning Britain” he loves pantomime, which includes princess characters such as Snow White and Alice.
“The place she would go was to church, and then I think you have a trip to the Posh Holidays in Little Wallis, in Somerset,” Harry said, naming a pub. “I think that was the only thing she did.”