Home > Fookem and Bug's Believe it or not!, Vlog > Princess Diana learned British Signing Language

Princess Diana learned British Signing Language

August 31, 2007

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Today is the 10th anniversary death of Princess Diana.

I want to inform you the history about Princess Diana involved with the deaf culture.

In 1983, Princess Diana joined BDA (British Deaf Association) to become their patron and learned the BSL (British Signing Language). She was campaigning in landmines for the Red Cross and met Mike Whitlam. Both of them know the BSL and became good friends.

Years later until 1992, Princess Diana captured the headlines by launching the Sign Language dictionary with a presentation in BSL. She often made the trips visiting the deaf schools. In that span, she influenced over 15,000 people to take the sign language classes.

She’s the only one out of the royal family that knows the BSL!

P.S. After some more research and from Fookem/JFLMad’s parents (they visited England few years ago), we found out that Princess Alice (Prince Philip’s mother) was diagnosed with congenital deafness. We are not too sure if she knew some form of the sign languages.

Excerpt from wikipedia.org:

Princess Alice spent her childhood between Darmstadt, London, Jugenheim, and Malta (where her naval officer father was occasionally stationed). Her mother noticed that she was slow in learning to talk, and became concerned by her indistinct pronunciation. Eventually, Princess Alice was diagnosed with congenital deafness after her grandmother identified the problem and took her to see an ear specialist. With encouragement from her mother, Alice learned to both lip-read and speak in English and German. Educated privately, she studied French, and later, after her engagement, she learned Greek.

  1. My 12-year-old son, Billy
    August 31, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Note from my son, Billy,

    Cool, I am so surprised that she knows Sign Language.

    He looked at the pictures of her signing really close and in amazement!

  2. August 31, 2007 at 9:41 am

    I adored Princess Di. How wonderful that she learned BSL and had a connection to deaf people. She did so many great things and her influence is still being felt even after 10 years. Her loss is still one that I grieve. She was just an amazing woman.

    Thanks for this tid-bit.

    ~ LaRonda

  3. mother goose
    August 31, 2007 at 9:42 am

    I love Diana! She touched a lot of people.

    I researched on Diana and BSL history about six years ago and I used it to teach ASL class at High School and the students found it in amazement! I printed a lot of information of Diana and BSL and we studied the history. I found that it inspired all the students and motivated them to get involved deeply with ASL and gestures in such a short amount of minutes! And they chose their favorite song, transferred in ASL, and signed it beautifully ( with the beats). I noticed that Diana really influence on English people but also Americans like my students in ASL class.

  4. August 31, 2007 at 9:46 am

    I am from London, I saw a programme released last week about Diana and children … there is a clip Princess Diana use BSL – fanastanic clips I have saw coming up and up in past few years … no one can forget her … many people should take Diana as role model and learn sign language!!

  5. Jennifer B.
    August 31, 2007 at 10:24 am

    One thing I wish her is to come here in U.S to visit deaf school.

  6. IamMine
    August 31, 2007 at 11:10 am

    It was a tragic time for all of us – all across nations in the World! I’ll never forget the shock feeling I had when I saw the news!

    I wish we had a representative like that who also showed great respect for the deaf people by using ASL and to encourage others to take ASL courses or supporting ASL as the first language for all children and to encourage them to continue that path in education as well!

    RIP Di.

  7. drmzz
    August 31, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    I appreciate ur vlog, thanks. Quite a woman indeed.

  8. Anonymous
    August 31, 2007 at 12:16 pm


    You made a very clear point.

  9. Garfield
    August 31, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Interesting! I didn’t know that she learned British sign langauge. Good topic!

  10. August 31, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Princess Diana was spending her vacation with her kids at my friend’s in Old Snowmass Village (Colorado) a year before her death. They went bowling in El Jebel and skiing at Vail. She said that she felt comfortable to be in Colorado because of no paparazzi chaos.

    Believe it or not, The Royal Family is my cousin.


  11. KD
    August 31, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Would be neat if the video clip is added. Would love to see her sign. Teh picture looks good.

    Fookembug, cousin. OK! Exactly how are you related to the royal family? First cousin or distant?

  12. Janet
    August 31, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    I did not know that Diana knew BSL. Very neat report. I always love this site. You guys know how to keep many topics interesting.

  13. ASL sucks
    August 31, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Bug, why are you living here? You are supposed to be with them in their palace.

    Try to find video of her signing BSL?

  14. Vans
    August 31, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Prince Phillip’s mother was deaf and knew some BSL and so did her mother or grandmother, Queen Victoria…

  15. Lisa Marie
    August 31, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    ASL sucks,

    I tried my best to find some clips of
    Di’s signing BSL but no luck. (I think
    that the pictures from above show Di’s signing really well.)
    Well, you could see a lot of British
    Sign Language Vidoes on YouTube. Com.
    It’s interesting to watch their BSL on clips.

  16. August 31, 2007 at 8:17 pm


    Distant cousin πŸ™‚ Long time ago my distant cousin was a King of Scotland and married to the queen of England. My grandmother had a old family tree book. -Bug

    ASL Sucks,

    I live in America because I love ASL πŸ™‚

    Your best ASL friend – Bug

  17. Lisa Marie
    August 31, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    that’s cool, your long distance cousin was King of Scotland.

  18. Lisa C.
    August 31, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    I didn’t know that. I had adored Princess Diana and her two boys.

  19. Mike
    August 31, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    People’s Princess Diana was my 11 th cousin of my mother’s side. Sometimes I emailed from 12th cousin Prince Harry each other. He and Prince William had been busy Prince Harry told me He tried to learn BSL He asked me need more infomation about BSL I gave him great information about BSL for him.

    I remmy I was young kid, I use ASL and learned from my aunt use BSL She dont know ASL. I never been visit in British Isles
    My ancestry came from mostly England & Wales.

  20. ASL sucks
    August 31, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Bug, most of their relatives live in the palace but not you? I wonder why. And they did not invite or ask you to remember the death of princess di with your relatives?

    I did not ask you to compare ASL or BSL. The different kind of sign languages are beautiful.

    Make me wonder, that’s all.

  21. Deaf Socrate's Trail
    August 31, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    Yes, I remembered when I saw on TV Deaf Mosaic, at Gallaudet University in 1990’s
    She lectured at a big audience She spoke in BSL. That really inspired me who was first royal member who knew BSL. That was really thrilled! I was glad she expressed her openness toward Deaf British. I wish one of any important in higher government in USA who knows ASL, saddly and unfortunately we do not have one yet!Last time in 1920 President Wilson’s wife who fluent in sign language and I was told she used to be a teacher at Kendal School in that certain time, I am not sure!

  22. September 1, 2007 at 2:51 am

    ASL sucks,

    You asked why I live in America so I answered in a humor. Like you said most relatives live in the palaces….because they are close in the family than distant cousins (after 3rd cousins)


  23. September 1, 2007 at 2:52 am

    Mike, that’s really cool. Thanks for sharing.


  24. September 1, 2007 at 11:23 am

    That’s interesting that Diana know BSL and I have heard that she have been involved with BSL for their deaf service and I am sure some of them missed her.

    Also she worn sweat sweater of BSL gave her and keep her warm I read it in people magazine in several years ago before she killed.

    I know All of world have been honored her so much and sad that they bother her so much by for photograhy.

    Her son, William did went to Vancouver BC after his mother passed away. Something things with Royal family would be next. I am worry about situation they go have hard time as likely her mom


  25. JustJodi
    September 1, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    There was another cute story about Di and her boys,, she wanted to go to an amusement park with her 2 boys and wanted to ride the log flume just like any other family… so they did not want to jump the line but wait in line with the other people,, while they were waiting Di turned and saw this little boy signing to his mother, his mother said to her son, if u turn around you will see Princess Diana,, the boy turned and Diana started signing with him..this was on a program called REMEMBERING DIANA on BBC about a month and half ago,.. I am sure the boy probably never forgot that experince,, i think he was just 9 years old,,
    I am not really a FAN of The British or Dutch monarchy,, but Diana was the PEOPLES Princess πŸ™‚

  26. September 2, 2007 at 1:17 am


    I agreed you that Diana’s People Princess. I think Diana and Mother Theresa are kind of lovely person.

    But we did kind of forgot about Mother Therese’ kindly. but nearly same a month two week later Diana was killed.

    Now I saw Princess William hold black baby ( dont know the sexes) he love it and laughed at the baby.. he is seem likely as his own mother, he missed in his life without his mother.
    Today I saw the world news and Harry say everyone that my mother is best of the world since they lost his mother in before his 13th few week after funeral. It is not being fair for them to accepted his mother. I dont think it is not seem acceptable if I am her princess childrens.

    I see why Camilla did not attended there for Diana’s 10th anniversary. I think she finally realized it is made mistaken that Charlie was mistress girlfriend during that time he was married to Di. I feel bad for their mom’s boys missed alot of their lives.


  27. September 4, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Diana learnt BSL to introduce herself at the BDA Congress (she was Patron, but later dropped this when she cut down on her official engagements, on divorce I think). I think she was taught by Terry or Clark (sorry I forget which), and Clark gave a tribute to her at the Diana concert back in July which was televised.

    Princess Alice of Battenberg was the reason Queen Victoria could fingerspell too, and is the reason for at least one royal patronage on a deaf organisation in the UK.

  28. Mark Maki
    September 4, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    HI I loved Princess Diana she is my favorite for long time. I wish I meet her here in USA.

    I remember years ago I saw her on tv that she signed BSL. I was surpised. when I learned she was killed when I pick up my newspaper and I was shocked. I will always remember her all my life. She is quitely amazing person. Thank you for showing pictures of her signed BSL.

  29. ASL Risen
    September 5, 2007 at 11:24 am

    oh dang, I do missed Princess Diana’s representating for BSL! Miss her so miserably!

    Princess Diana was so wonderful advocating for the Deaf’s sign language! She inspired us all the Deaf!

    Thanks for bringing Princess Diana’s supporting BSL! Shawn

  30. September 9, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Interesting about Diana, she had a good heart and reach peoples needs. Even she saw young boy sign language. Good experience for her what she saw.
    Her gift was mercy, kind and care, compassionate.
    Her 2 son William and Harry gone thru without mom! That hard for them.
    I’m sure Diana look over her sons daily, especially Harry had been reach and help out the worlds needs!
    Bless him!

  31. Biker in Illinois
    September 9, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    well thats good that we are proud abt the asl as for diana to see for herself abt our language and deaf world there to commuticate. thanks who ever brought it up

  32. Nicky
    September 10, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Thank you for share and dont know that about she can sign langauage taht good show for share with deaf pepole

  33. Paige
    September 10, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for letting everyone know about Princess Diana learning British Sign Language. That was nice of her! That was why she was very caring person! I wish, she lived in North America so she could help many people here.
    Diana is always missed and was blessed for what she did.


  34. Brenda Quick
    September 11, 2007 at 10:36 am

    I am really appericate that Prince Di really interest to Deaf people. I know that She really love to all the world. She was so friendly to people and help to people too.I do miss her when she was die last ten years ago. God bless her. Love Brenda

  35. David Galyean
    September 11, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    Yup you are RIGHT! big time that nobody could ever forget her! Even although it’s already 10 years ago.

    I was SHOCKED to learn about her death while I was camping out with some of my friend at the campground in Cle Elum, Washington during that time.

    She sure have done countless of heartful joy thing among many adoring her AROUND THE WORLD! not only in England, or United States πŸ™‚

    Only regrets I have about her is that I certainly wish she visit:

    1) Gallaudet University

    2) Deaf School among in America

    3) become a deaf adovocate in some ways.

    4) Establish a company only owns and operated by the deaf community to remove from barrier, government housing, government payrolls (SSI, SSDI) etc.

    Happy Autumn 2007 πŸ™‚

    Take Care,

    David G.

  36. September 15, 2007 at 11:56 am


    Very interesting information! Thanks!


  37. DB
    September 29, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    she’s really a smart lady and want challenge communicate with Deaf people. How she can understand communicate with deaf children to adults? She learned BSL and what about ASL? She missing next one but too late. We wish meet her one day. But we wish her stay alive!
    She really very friendly, smile to everyone..
    Very amazing that she leaned BSL really well!
    We all will miss her deeply.

  38. Deb Ann
    September 30, 2007 at 10:09 am

    BSL rock! ASL rock!
    You know that yesterday was Sept. 29th, Deafies wear in Black shirts in honor of ASL. So, I wrote a Poem in honor of ASL! It’s based on “Wave” by Andy. I wrote it to describe ASL and other countries’ sign langauge as well.

    “Waving With My Deaf Hands”

    How do my deaf hands wave?

    moving and rising is my hands

    the way it shows all the pictures

    reaching, grasping, and encasing in my hands

    it paints your understanding into a perfect place

    tumbling and rumbling in my hands

    move all the beautiful feeling in an inspiration

    crashing and smashing in my hands

    it stands for all the meanings of natural signing

    waving with my deaf hands reflects!

  39. Deb Ann
    September 30, 2007 at 10:11 am

    correcting the error

    Moving and rising IN my hands ;))

  40. September 30, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Nice poem that you wrote. πŸ˜‰


  41. Mike
    November 7, 2007 at 4:44 am

    See this link for a tribute to Diana and her work with deaf charities:


  42. kristian
    February 5, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I dont know that! the princess diana proud of the deaf people. I have never been hearing. I am interested. I am loving deaf and hearing history.I was studing at college in vanccouver becuase i help to hearing people want to read for deaf history. I am tell to them about the story deaf history. I know who was princess alice was deaf.

    Well, hearing people dont understands about the deaf history and deaf culture.

    I am intertested. I admit to you. You surprise me. I was activated including the canadian force opporunity. I was dreamful my navy and army. I am proud myself. I never throw in the towel.

    contact me email: kristianreyes07@hotmail.com and canadian_navy07@yahoo.com

  43. May 9, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Due to the fact you are ghey. Why was the Mayan calendar wrong last year?

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