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The photograph was originally commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery
The black and white photograph features as part of a new exhibition called “Life Through a Royal Lens”, which charts the Royal Family‘s life behind the camera over the generations.
The portrait of Diana was taken by the acclaimed photographer David Bailey, chosen by the Princess for his bold, minamalistic style. True to form the black and white image shows a fresh faced, 27 year old Diana, looking pensively to the side. The background is plain, which serves to magnifiy the striking figure of Diana in the centre of the image.
Kensington Palace curator Claudia Acott Williams told Town and Country that the new image: “is the most powerful (in the collection). It shows her in a completely different light…In a way, her retreating from the camera a bit and showing something that’s a bit more stoic was actually her doing something completely different.”
Bailey, who has also shot the Queen’s portrait, spoke about his experience shooting Diana on the Johnathon Ross show in 2020 and was less than complimentary:
“Princess Diana – she was alright. A nice middle-class girl. Her hair was terrible. Didn’t have much posture as well.”
The photographer, whose other famous sitters include the Kray twins and the Beatles, was more effusive about the Queen, saying: “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen. She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women, and she is a very strong woman.”
The new exhibition features photographs from renowned photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Norman Parkinson and Rankin. There will also be a selection of images taken by Royal Family members themselves, including the work of photographer and former husband of Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon.
The exhibition will chart the Royal Family’s enduring relationship with photography from Prince Albert’s early patronage of photography, when it was still in it’s new fangled infancy to images of the Queen before her coronation taken by Cecil Beaton to intimate family portraits taken from the present day.
Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997, aged 36 years old.