Queen Elizabeth disapproved of Princess Diana’s work with AIDS charities and told her to do “something more pleasant”.

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The princess’ former bodyguard Ken Wharfe told the inquest into her death that Diana was left very “distressed” after the queen voiced her objections to her work with HIV, AIDS and leprosy charities.

Wharfe told jury at the High Court: “The princess would go to see the queen on a number of occasions. Once she returned to the car distressed.

“I asked ‘What’s the matter?’ and she said, ‘The queen doesn’t like me getting involved with AIDS and leprosy (she told me) ‘Why don’t you get involved with something more pleasant?’ ‘

“I think Diana was very angry and annoyed the queen could not see what she was doing. She felt a member of the royal family should be involved with campaigns to find a cure for AIDS.”

The princess – who was killed in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997 – was famously the first member of the royal family to have contact with a person suffering from AIDS and helped to dispel many global misconceptions about the disease.

While many people wrongly believed in the late 80s that AIDS could be caught by touching someone, Diana sat on one victims’ bed and held his hand. She also visited a leprosy hospital in Indonesia and touched the bandaged wounds of patients.

During a state visit to Uganda last November, the queen publicly acknowledged the plight of AIDS victims when she shook the hand of an HIV-positive man during her first visit to a specialist AIDS clinic.

Wharfe also told the inquest the princess said the private secretaries to the queen and her husband Prince Philip were “sharpening their knives” against her because they disapproved of seeing her on the front pages of newspapers.