In December 1995, Ed Mathews organized the annual fund-raising dinner event where Diana would to receive the United Cerebral Palsy's Humanitarian Award. He made the comment in 2001, "In a jaded world you're always looking for somebody that just trying to go out and make a difference. Our average dinner probably averages $1.2 million. That night our dinner was $2.2 million and we never come close to it since nor do I expect to." 

In October 1996, Diana traveled to Australia on a "private visit" for 3 days. Her previous visit to the country was in 1988. At the time, Diana, along with her then husband Prince Charles, were in town to celebrate the Australian bicentennial with the 2 million of Sydney's then 3 million residents. In 1996, Diana was the "guest of honour" at the inaugural Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute fund-raising charity dinner-dance.

Because it was a "private visit", hence "aside from security arrangements, the federal and state governments have had little to do with this tour," Robert Hardman reported. It was noted Diana's "private visit" coincided with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 5-day state visit to Thailand (formerly Siam) to celebrate King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Golden Jubilee (50 years on the throne, dating back to 1238). It was the Queen's first trip to Thailand since 1972. As such Diana had no officials to co-ordinate the visit and her "retinue" comprised one lady-in-waiting and a secretary.

Nevertheless some 800 guests paid 1000 U.S. dollars (or 500 British pounds) each to attend with Diana in support of the Cardiac Research Institute which Diana officially opened the next day. "It's been said that for evil to triumph, good men must do nothing," Diana made the point. Some hundreds of Australian "screaming fans" who did not pay to attend the benefit waited for over 4 hours behind barricades outside the Sydney Entertainment Centre just to catch a glimpse of Diana wearing a Gianni Versace's off one-shoulder electric blue silk gown.

The crowd cheered loudly when Diana stepped out of her limousine. But it was her massive aquamarine square-cut stone Diana wore on her wedding ring finger that attracted much attention. Diana also wore a matching 5-strand pearl and aquamarine bracelets. On stage, Sting performed 'Every Breath You Take'. On the menu, "seared tuna on a bed of black noodles, roast fillet of beef with vegetables, fresh mushrooms, roast potatoes, and baby green beans. For dessert, lemon curd tart with berries and cream."

Marie Sutton previously worked as a nurse at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney. She grew up in the country town of Mooree. Marie was the organizer of "the event of the decade". The charity dinner-dance would to take Marie one year to set up because it was a "complicated process, a bureaucratic nightmare". A massive contingent of the press from around the world reportedly flew to Sydney at that time to cover Diana's visit.

It was mentioned in 2009 Marie initially approached her friend Dr Hasnat Khan and requested Hasnat to ask Diana if she would be interested in being the guest at the Gala fund-raising Dinner. "Not only did Diana reply in a personal note to Marie, she confirmed that it would be the ideal charity event to announce her retirement from public life," 'The Social Shuttle' reported. On the night, it was reported Diana was "forced to leave an hour early after being caught in an uncomfortable crush on the dance floor." However it was later made known Diana left early to spend 4 hours at a hospice cheering up patients. Marie recounted some years later, "Once as we were driving through the city one day we passed St Mary's Cathedral as a bride ascended the stairs. Diana rolled down the window in her car and yelled out 'don't do it!' to the startled wedding party."

Before coming to Australia, Diana flew to Rimini in Italy to receive the award for her charity work (in the area of public health) from Mikhail Gorbachev, who was honorary chairman of the Centre Pio Manzu (founded in 1969 by railway worker Filiberto Dasi). Chairman Walter Giovanetto told Diana, "You are a star that brightens our coastline." Diana first visited Australia in March 1983. At the time she and the Prince of Wales visited the Northern Territory, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney where "some 20,000 flag-waving Australians" came to see the Prince and Princess. At a gala charity ball held at the Wentworth-Sheraton Hotel at the time, some 480 guests watched Prince Charles and Diana danced "to the strains of 'The More I See You.'" Diana told 23 million Britons in November 1995, "We had a 6-week tour - 4 weeks in Australia and 2 weeks in New Zealand - and by the end, when we flew back from New Zealand, I was a different person. I realized the sense of duty, the level of intensity of interest, and the demanding role I now found myself in."

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