ON a visit to the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow in 1990, Princess Diana accepted a beautiful posy of flowers from a young girl whose mum was a patient there.

Later, she sat beside an elderly gentleman as he stroked the hand of his dying wife.

The lady, who had cancer, had not long to live and her husband told the princess: “I love my wife today as much as I did the first day I met her.”

His words touched Diana so much that on her departure from the hospice, she returned to see the couple, handing the gentleman the bouquet of flowers so he could give it to his wife.

Anne McBryan, the hospice’s former head of fundraising, says the gesture summed up the princess’s “human touch”.

“Princess Diana was lovely – very normal, very kind – and she spent a great deal of time listening to and talking to the patients,” she says.

“She understood that the people there were going through very difficult times – and I do believe seeing her and having her there made things a little bit brighter for them.”

As people all over the world find ways of remembering Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, staff at the hospice – due to move to a new home in Bellahouston Park in 2018 – have released archive photos of her visit there on Tuesday, May 29, 1990.

The building, on Carlton Place in the city centre, had been named in their honour as a wedding gift from the then Lord Provost of Glasgow, Michael Kelly.

The photographs, taken by the late Eric Thorburn, show the Princess relaxed and smiling, immaculate in a cream pinstripe coat dress with black accessories and shoes. She spent time on the wards and in the day-patient room, and inspected a wedding cake supplied by Tunnock’s for the occasion.

Founder and chief executive Dr Anne Gilmore, a former Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year, and her husband Stan, welcomed the Royal couple and their entourage with a tour of the building and a party atmosphere in two giant marquees outside.

Dr Gilmore died in 1998, but Stan recalls how proud she was to welcome Charles and Diana to the hospice.

“It was a lovely moment for Anne, who had worked so hard in the early days to get a hospice for Glasgow,” he recalls. “Both Royals spent time with the patients and the staff – but everyone wanted to see Diana.”

“I remember it was a sunny day, and the Kirkintilloch Silver Band played outside. Charles thought the hospice was very homely and Diana was really lovely – she chatted and sat on the beds and put everyone at ease.”

One of the gentlemen she met was 71-year-old David Dickson, who had Motor Neurone Disease, and had been a day patient there for two and a half years.

The Evening Times reported on the day: “The Princess laughed as David, of Cathcart…told how he enjoyed the facilities, including the jacuzzi bath.”

The Royals also met Fiona Smith, 29, whose daughter had presented the flowers; and day patient Harry Ullyart, 81, and his sister Betty Green from Cowcaddens.

Stan recalls Diana taking time with everyone presented to her.

“She really listened to people – you didn’t feel like she was rehearsed or asking stock questions,” he says. “She was very natural and seemed genuinely interested in what people were saying.”

Stan and Anne had met the Princess on two previous occasions – once at a Royal Variety Show organised in aid of the hospice by Scots entertainer Jimmy Logan at the King’s Theatre in 1982, and again at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, where she had put the first stitch on to a fundraising tapestry as part of the opening day.

Anne McBryan recalls: “It was a triptych of a formal Elizabethan garden, so the staff were there in period dress. We asked people to pay £1 a stitch, and Princess Diana did the first one, and assorted Scottish celebrities and soap stars got involved too.”

She smiles: “We had the Embroiderers Guild on standby in case someone didn’t do it properly, and they could rush in and fix it after they had gone.”

Anne’s own sons, Danny and Mark, then 21 and 15 respectively, also had a role on the day, as stewards helping to show people around.

“It was a big moment for them, especially when they were in the line-up to meet her,” she smiles.

After the 1990 visit, the princess kept in touch with the hospice, sending gifts of vases and flowers over the years.

In his role as chairman of the hospice, Stan Gilmore was invited to Diana’s funeral and he also made a speech at a remembrance service in George Square – a copy of which he still has to this day.

“It made me understand why she was called the People’s Princess,” he says. “There were so many people there, lining the streets, and to see the young princes walk behind their mother’s coffin, was terribly sad.”

Stan Gilmore says: “What always struck me about Diana was that she wasn’t really interested in meeting the Lord Provosts and the Chief Constables – she wanted to spend time with ordinary people. 

“She was much happier doing that, and they loved her for it.”

Pictures: Martin Shields and Eric Thorburn