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Those who were there tell what really happened on the days these photos of Diana were taken

 A look of love for Harry

Mark Stewart, royal photographer: ‘One of my favourite pictures of Diana is one I took of her and Harry on VJ Day in 1995 – it shows how fond she was of her boys. Having talked to her on tours, I came to realise that being a mother was her greatest role. The young men they have grown up to become are testament to the upbringing she was beginning to give them and also of course to their father. I think she would have been great fun as a grandma.’

Diana’s first daring black dress 

Richard Young, photographer: ‘This is one of my favourite pictures. Diana had just got engaged to Prince Charles and she was arriving at a charity dinner in a livery hall in the City attended by Princess Grace of Monaco in 1981. I was still learning the trade, especially as far as the royals are concerned. The pavement wasn’t that wide and there were a lot of photographers there so I was getting pushed further out towards the kerb and into the road. But I got lucky. ‘When she stepped out of the car I was standing right in front of her. The black taffeta dress was by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, who would go on to design her wedding dress. She had to lean down to get out and this was the first and last time that she exposed that much flesh. After that the Palace, or she, always made sure that she had a clutch bag with her to cover up.’

Richard Young, photographer: ‘This is one of my favourite pictures. Diana had just got engaged to Prince Charles and she was arriving at a charity dinner in a livery hall in the City attended by Princess Grace of Monaco in 1981. I was still learning the trade, especially as far as the royals are concerned. The pavement wasn’t that wide and there were a lot of photographers there so I was getting pushed further out towards the kerb and into the road. But I got lucky. ‘When she stepped out of the car I was standing right in front of her. The black taffeta dress was by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, who would go on to design her wedding dress. She had to lean down to get out and this was the first and last time that she exposed that much flesh. After that the Palace, or she, always made sure that she had a clutch bag with her to cover up.’

Elton keeps it by his bedside 

Richard Young, photographer: ‘This is the only picture there is of Diana and Elton John together, apart from at Gianni Versace’s funeral. He tells me he keeps it by his bedside. ‘It was taken backstage at Elton John’s compound at Earl’s Court before he performed there in 1993, after I’d got a phone call saying he had someone very important coming to see him that night. I waited backstage and then suddenly she arrived. I had it exclusively so I encouraged him to get a bit closer and put his arm around her shoulder. Then she was escorted away to sit in the audience.’

Richard Young, photographer: ‘This is the only picture there is of Diana and Elton John together, apart from at Gianni Versace’s funeral. He tells me he keeps it by his bedside. ‘It was taken backstage at Elton John’s compound at Earl’s Court before he performed there in 1993, after I’d got a phone call saying he had someone very important coming to see him that night. I waited backstage and then suddenly she arrived. I had it exclusively so I encouraged him to get a bit closer and put his arm around her shoulder. Then she was escorted away to sit in the audience.’

Tipped off after Andrew Morton’s book 

Ken Lennox, former royal photographer: ‘A few days after the Andrew Morton biography was published in 1992, I got a phone call saying that if I came round to the house of Diana’s former flatmate Caroline by 9pm that evening, the princess would be leaving the house. I parked up and the protection officer said I could work from the opposite side of the street. Then out came Caroline with her husband and little boy and Diana, there were kisses and then Diana walked off. In one of the frames you can see the little boy has spotted me, so everyone else must have too, but they were pretending I wasn’t there. Caroline was getting a lot of stick because she’d been mentioned in parts of the story, so everyone assumed she’d blabbed to Andrew Morton, and this was Diana visiting her to say everything was OK.’

Ken Lennox, former royal photographer: ‘A few days after the Andrew Morton biography was published in 1992, I got a phone call saying that if I came round to the house of Diana’s former flatmate Caroline by 9pm that evening, the princess would be leaving the house. I parked up and the protection officer said I could work from the opposite side of the street. Then out came Caroline with her husband and little boy and Diana, there were kisses and then Diana walked off. In one of the frames you can see the little boy has spotted me, so everyone else must have too, but they were pretending I wasn’t there. Caroline was getting a lot of stick because she’d been mentioned in parts of the story, so everyone assumed she’d blabbed to Andrew Morton, and this was Diana visiting her to say everything was OK.’

How we played a prank on her 

Mark Stewart, royal photographer: ‘A picture of her that I really like is of her playing the piano in an orphanage in the Czech Republic in 1991. She would sometimes play tricks on us, so we decided to get our own back that day, we totally set her up. We knew the children were going to do a little concert for her, so we told them that Diana really loved playing the piano and that if they asked her she’d come and play for them. So when they’d finished, one of the little children marched up to her and said, “We’ve just played for you, will you play for us?” She sat down and played Greensleeves absolutely beautifully for them. But as she left the room, if looks could kill! She knew exactly what we’d done

Mark Stewart, royal photographer: ‘A picture of her that I really like is of her playing the piano in an orphanage in the Czech Republic in 1991. She would sometimes play tricks on us, so we decided to get our own back that day, we totally set her up. We knew the children were going to do a little concert for her, so we told them that Diana really loved playing the piano and that if they asked her she’d come and play for them. So when they’d finished, one of the little children marched up to her and said, “We’ve just played for you, will you play for us?” She sat down and played Greensleeves absolutely beautifully for them. But as she left the room, if looks could kill! She knew exactly what we’d done

Hot and bothered on that last holiday

Charles Rae, former royal correspondent: ‘In July, 1997, Diana arrived with William, then 15, and Harry, 12, in Parc de St Tropez, southern France. She was staying with the then Harrods boss Mohammed Al-Fayed and his wife Heini at their holiday home, Castle de St Therese. ‘The home has only one access point giving a good view – from the sea. With colleagues from other newspapers, we hired a boat and set off. We came to our usual agreement with Diana’s aides that in return for a photo opportunity, they’d largely be left alone. Diana, in a leopard-print swimsuit, and the boys were soon zipping around on jet skis. I was over the moon with the show. William and Harry made sharp turns so we’d get a soaking. It was all very good-humoured. ‘After 30 minutes they all disappeared, then I spotted Diana on the balcony. She was on her phone, giving someone a roasting, one hand flailing around like a windmill. She ended the call, threw the mobile down onto a sunbed and marched down to a speedboat, climbed on with her bodyguard and roared out to us. Diana was not happy. She demanded why the three other boats dotted around were there. I told her they were photographers from European outlets, and one boat was full of tourists. I said she’d been criticised for being with Al-Fayed, who was at the centre of the Tory MP cash-for-questions scandal. But she replied, “Mr Al-Fayed was my father’s best friend. Strictly speaking I’m on holiday with his wife. I hoped to keep the holiday quiet.” We asked her, then, why come to St Tropez, a hotbed for the paparazzi? I said, “You must have known you’d be spotted.” Diana said, “I know I have a role to play but I have to protect my boys.” ‘Before she left she dropped a bombshell. “You are going to get a big surprise with the next thing I do,” she said. We tried to get her to elaborate, but she shrugged her shoulders and roared away. Those 14 words haunt me to this day, trying to work out what she meant.’

Charles Rae, former royal correspondent: ‘In July, 1997, Diana arrived with William, then 15, and Harry, 12, in Parc de St Tropez, southern France. She was staying with the then Harrods boss Mohammed Al-Fayed and his wife Heini at their holiday home, Castle de St Therese. ‘The home has only one access point giving a good view – from the sea. With colleagues from other newspapers, we hired a boat and set off. We came to our usual agreement with Diana’s aides that in return for a photo opportunity, they’d largely be left alone. Diana, in a leopard-print swimsuit, and the boys were soon zipping around on jet skis. I was over the moon with the show. William and Harry made sharp turns so we’d get a soaking. It was all very good-humoured. ‘After 30 minutes they all disappeared, then I spotted Diana on the balcony. She was on her phone, giving someone a roasting, one hand flailing around like a windmill. She ended the call, threw the mobile down onto a sunbed and marched down to a speedboat, climbed on with her bodyguard and roared out to us. Diana was not happy. She demanded why the three other boats dotted around were there. I told her they were photographers from European outlets, and one boat was full of tourists. I said she’d been criticised for being with Al-Fayed, who was at the centre of the Tory MP cash-for-questions scandal. But she replied, “Mr Al-Fayed was my father’s best friend. Strictly speaking I’m on holiday with his wife. I hoped to keep the holiday quiet.” We asked her, then, why come to St Tropez, a hotbed for the paparazzi? I said, “You must have known you’d be spotted.” Diana said, “I know I have a role to play but I have to protect my boys.” ‘Before she left she dropped a bombshell. “You are going to get a big surprise with the next thing I do,” she said. We tried to get her to elaborate, but she shrugged her shoulders and roared away. Those 14 words haunt me to this day, trying to work out what she meant.’

A novel way to show off  

Ken Lennox, former royal photographer: ‘I had been given a tip-off in 1983 that Diana had a new geometric haircut. The Palace had a new press secretary Vic Chapman, a Canadian who was a breath of fresh air in what had been a stuffy role, but when I put it to him even he said there was no chance of an early photo of her. Then two days later he called to tell me she was going to be at a Red Cross event and he arranged for me to have a seat in the front row. ‘She was sitting on the stage and focusing on the speaker, so I didn’t take any photos to begin with. But she could hear that the camera wasn’t going, so after a few minutes she looked at me and mouthed “What now?” I put the camera down, looked at her, and turned my head to the left, then to the centre and to the right, acting out how I wanted her to show off her hair. She copied me, and by the time she moved her head to the right she was giggling, because she realised that, despite being at this big event, she was having her portrait done. She looks like a classical Greek sculpture in those shots.’

Ken Lennox, former royal photographer: ‘I had been given a tip-off in 1983 that Diana had a new geometric haircut. The Palace had a new press secretary Vic Chapman, a Canadian who was a breath of fresh air in what had been a stuffy role, but when I put it to him even he said there was no chance of an early photo of her. Then two days later he called to tell me she was going to be at a Red Cross event and he arranged for me to have a seat in the front row. ‘She was sitting on the stage and focusing on the speaker, so I didn’t take any photos to begin with. But she could hear that the camera wasn’t going, so after a few minutes she looked at me and mouthed “What now?” I put the camera down, looked at her, and turned my head to the left, then to the centre and to the right, acting out how I wanted her to show off her hair. She copied me, and by the time she moved her head to the right she was giggling, because she realised that, despite being at this big event, she was having her portrait done. She looks like a classical Greek sculpture in those shots.’

‘Get off my car’, Charles bellowed

Sitting on Charles’s Aston Martin at a polo match in Windsor in 1987: ‘Charles bellowed across to her, “Get off my car!” So she slid down and stood there, and covered her mouth because she was laughing so much.’

Sitting on Charles’s Aston Martin at a polo match in Windsor in 1987: ‘Charles bellowed across to her, “Get off my car!” So she slid down and stood there, and covered her mouth because she was laughing so much.’

Sitting on Charles’s Aston Martin at a polo match in Windsor in 1987: ‘Charles bellowed across to her, “Get off my car!” So she slid down and stood there, and covered her mouth because she was laughing so much.’

This girl knew what she was doing 

Ken Lennox, photographer: ‘I was up in Scotland to cover the Braemar Gathering in 1980. Prince Charles would always try and get a morning’s fishing in before the Highland Games began. ‘One side of the river is public with a road alongside it, and the other side is royal. I went looking for him, and he had a young woman with him. Upon seeing me, the blonde girl walked away and stood behind a tree. I thought she was a staff member getting out of the way. But then a hand came out from behind the tree holding a compact mirror, looking to see where we were. She used it to walk away, always keeping a tree between her and us. This girl knew what she was doing. I took a few frames, including one of her in silhouette in a hut on the river bank. When I asked around who she was, they said, “She’s Jane’s sister.” So I just dismissed her as a family friend. But one of the royal entourage told me not to. I knew her father Johnnie Spencer, who was a keen photographer himself, so I asked what was going on between his daughter and Charles. Not a word. I asked if there was a romance. Not a word. The last thing I said was did he have any idea where I could catch up with her, then he gave me her address at Coleherne Court. He was a smart man and he knew that if something was going to happen, we needed to get background on her. That was the start of it.’

Ken Lennox, photographer: ‘I was up in Scotland to cover the Braemar Gathering in 1980. Prince Charles would always try and get a morning’s fishing in before the Highland Games began. ‘One side of the river is public with a road alongside it, and the other side is royal. I went looking for him, and he had a young woman with him. Upon seeing me, the blonde girl walked away and stood behind a tree. I thought she was a staff member getting out of the way. But then a hand came out from behind the tree holding a compact mirror, looking to see where we were. She used it to walk away, always keeping a tree between her and us. This girl knew what she was doing. I took a few frames, including one of her in silhouette in a hut on the river bank. When I asked around who she was, they said, “She’s Jane’s sister.” So I just dismissed her as a family friend. But one of the royal entourage told me not to. I knew her father Johnnie Spencer, who was a keen photographer himself, so I asked what was going on between his daughter and Charles. Not a word. I asked if there was a romance. Not a word. The last thing I said was did he have any idea where I could catch up with her, then he gave me her address at Coleherne Court. He was a smart man and he knew that if something was going to happen, we needed to get background on her. That was the start of it.’

Startled by a wolf whistle

Ken Lennox, photographer: ‘All sorts of things made her laugh. We were on the steps of the White House in 1985 and Diana turned up in an off-the-shoulder white sequin dress, I called it her Marilyn Monroe dress, she looked fabulous in it. As she got there I took one picture, and then one of the American photographers wolf-whistled her and instead of ignoring it like royals were supposed to do, she turned round and looked back and I took the second.'

Ken Lennox, photographer: ‘All sorts of things made her laugh. We were on the steps of the White House in 1985 and Diana turned up in an off-the-shoulder white sequin dress, I called it her Marilyn Monroe dress, she looked fabulous in it. As she got there I took one picture, and then one of the American photographers wolf-whistled her and instead of ignoring it like royals were supposed to do, she turned round and looked back and I took the second.’

How she became everybody’s Princess:  Glamorous, compassionate and blessed with the most mischievous sense of humour, Diana soon embraced her new role. Those she charmed along the way tell their stories

The nation wanted a fairytale. And when 20-year-old Diana alighted from the glass coach, walked down the aisle in billowing ivory silk, then coaxed her buttoned-up prince into a kiss on the Palace balcony she made our dreams come true. 

Anointed with the glamour and mystery of royalty, the gauche teenager became a charismatic People’s Princess, whose touch seemingly healed the sick and succoured the dying, who beguiled statesmen and bent her knee to talk to children, who yearned for a role that would harness her gifts of empathy and compassion – even as in private she fell apart.

Elizabeth Emanuel Fashion designer

Charles and Diana leaving St Paul’s after a wedding rehearsal in July 1981. Sarah Bradford also known as Viscountess Bangor said: ‘It felt like there was a lot of hope before the wedding because Diana’s bridesmaid Sarah Jane Gaselee, who was then 11, told me she saw Charles and Diana cuddling on the sofa and even skipping down the aisle during the wedding rehearsals.’

Charles and Diana leaving St Paul’s after a wedding rehearsal in July 1981. Sarah Bradford also known as Viscountess Bangor said: ‘It felt like there was a lot of hope before the wedding because Diana’s bridesmaid Sarah Jane Gaselee, who was then 11, told me she saw Charles and Diana cuddling on the sofa and even skipping down the aisle during the wedding rehearsals.’

‘The most important dress we did was the black dress she wore to Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City after her engagement was announced. We hadn’t made it specially for her, and it showed how naïve we were, they said she exposed too much cleavage. We just thought, “It’s black, it’s safe. It’s an evening dress, she looks fabulous in it and it shows off her cleavage.” We didn’t think about the fact that she’d have to get out of her car, that the cameras might be viewing her from above. It caused such a huge thing in the Press.’

Janet Filderman Beautician

‘She realised the Emanuel dress she wore to meet Princess Grace at Goldsmiths’ Hall was her first fashion faux pas – her first big mistake. She told me, “I cried on Princess Grace’s shoulder in the powder room” and that she advised her, “Hold your head up high; you won’t make this mistake again.”’

Sarah Bradford also known as Viscountess Bangor Royal biographer

‘It felt like there was a lot of hope before the wedding because Diana’s bridesmaid Sarah Jane Gaselee, who was then 11, told me she saw Charles and Diana cuddling on the sofa and even skipping down the aisle during the wedding rehearsals.’

Darren McGrady Personal chef

‘I got to dance with Diana at Balmoral many times. The first year they were doing eight-some reels and all the royals got together in a circle – Andrew, Edward, the Queen, Diana and Charles – and Diana was screaming as she and Charles were spinning around as fast as they could go and he was red-faced with a big grin. Everyone stopped to watch them. There was a magic and chemistry between them.’

Elizabeth Emanuel Fashion designer

Diana’s detective collects the profusion of flowers given to Diana at her first Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

Diana’s detective collects the profusion of flowers given to Diana at her first Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

‘I remember the fun time we had leading up to the wedding, and her singing along to “Just One Cornetto” in Clarence House as everybody was getting ready. I have visions of her getting into the petticoat and David having to get under it with his feet sticking out to make sure it was fastened properly. We had such fun. I remember waiting for her carriage to arrive and everybody was there standing on the steps in total silence. You could hear the crowds outside, but there was this silence at the anticipation. She was standing next to her father and there was this moment – “This is it, no going back, let’s hope all goes well.” The moment we had been working for had arrived.’

Penny Junor Journalist and biographer

‘My most vivid memories of Diana are from her first royal tour to Wales in October 1981. She and Charles had been married nearly three months, the honeymoon was over – in every sense, as it turned out – and, guided by Charles, this was her initiation as a working member of the family. Although there had been huge public excitement about the wedding, and great enthusiasm for the fairytale princess, I think it was on that tour that people really fell in love with her. She was gutsy and gorgeous and had a magical ability to sprinkle fairy dust in almost every circumstance.’

Ken Lennox Photographer

‘She was so aware of the cameras and where we were. I remember when she did her first tour of Wales, I was on a ladder and the rain was bucketing down. For some reason the car stopped in front of me, and Diana looked up at me and mouthed, “How am I doing?” I said, “Fantastic”. And a big smile came over her face.’

Ingrid Seward Author and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine

‘The first impression I had of Diana on the day she invited me to Kensington Palace in June 1997 was of her whispery little-girl voice. She wasn’t in the least bit frosty. She wafted into the room looking pure old-fashioned Hollywood glamour. The thing I really noticed about her was that she had this honey-coloured skin, completely poreless. She was wearing this electric-blue Versace dress with her hair beautifully done and wearing a gold Cartier watch, diamond line bracelet, Chanel shoes but no tights. She looked a million dollars. I immediately felt incredibly scruffy.’

The beaming couple head from St Paul’s to Buckingham Palace after their wedding. When 20-year-old Diana alighted from the glass coach, walked down the aisle in billowing ivory silk, then coaxed her buttoned-up prince into a kiss on the Palace balcony she made our dreams come true

The beaming couple head from St Paul’s to Buckingham Palace after their wedding. When 20-year-old Diana alighted from the glass coach, walked down the aisle in billowing ivory silk, then coaxed her buttoned-up prince into a kiss on the Palace balcony she made our dreams come true

Michael Cole Former BBC royal correspondent, former director of Harrods

‘Princess Diana never looked more wonderful than she did on the night of the ball at the White House given by the late President Reagan and his late wife Nancy in 1985. Dressed in a midnight-blue velvet gown by Victor Edelstein, Diana was a Hollywood dream of a princess and the setting could not have been more perfect, nor the cast more glamorous. Dancing with the president was one thing, and Ronnie still had the moves, but being taken in the arms of John Travolta while the room held its breath was on quite another planet.’

Catherine Walker The late fashion designer

‘Often Diana became tremendously excited at our fittings and would call her dresser. Sometimes she would sit on the carpet correcting drawings, and I remember her delight if she loved something – she would make a little noise, a little like you make if you’re enjoying chocolate.’

Ken Lennox Photographer

‘There is something she always did that Harry now does. If she was meeting children she would get right down to their level to talk to them and make eye contact with them. Before her, royals would just bend over and look down.’

Roberta Stimson Manual lymph drainage practitioner

‘Diana was the first person of her ilk to even consider seeing somebody who was slightly off the wall. All the aristocratic types would go to Harley Street but Diana ignored all that and did what her heart told her, and her legacy was to open up alternative medicine in Britain and the world. She was a pioneer, a bit like a fairytale princess. She didn’t belong in her royal world, which is judgmental and lonely. She was more of a Cinderella.’

The princess dancing with John Travolta at a White House dinner in 1985. Michael Cole, former BBC royal correspondent, said: ‘Princess Diana never looked more wonderful than she did on the night of the ball at the White House given by the late President Reagan and his late wife Nancy in 1985'

The princess dancing with John Travolta at a White House dinner in 1985. Michael Cole, former BBC royal correspondent, said: ‘Princess Diana never looked more wonderful than she did on the night of the ball at the White House given by the late President Reagan and his late wife Nancy in 1985′

Dickie Arbiter Former press secretary to Charles and Diana

‘The sea change came around April 1987 with the first-ever Aids unit, which was established at Middlesex Hospital. She famously stuck out her hand and shook an Aids patient’s hand. She didn’t wear gloves and that was quite a step. Prior to that, people thought you could contract Aids by touching someone and you didn’t talk about Aids. With the high-profile death of Rock Hudson people began to talk about it, but Diana’s one gesture destroyed the “do not touch” myth. She sat down with several patients and that was a revolution.’

Michael Cole Former BBC royal correspondent, former director of Harrods

‘At a stuffy official reception in Portugal she found herself standing next to Prime Minister Mario Soares. Spotting that his evening dress trousers were being held up by red braces, she reached inside his jacket and gave the braces one hell of a twang. He laughed, and so did we. The princess covered her mouth, as if to ask, “Did I really do that?”’

Patrick Jephson Diana’s former private secretary

Diana holding a baby during her visit to Angola with the Red Cross in 1997

Diana holding a baby during her visit to Angola with the Red Cross in 1997

‘I saw her hold her own with presidents, emperors, kings, ambassadors. She would entertain, for example, the Russian ambassador at Kensington Palace. I was with her in the White House where she would quite happily keep up her end of the conversation with the late President Bush, or in the Élysée Palace with President Chirac. There was no royal format in which I didn’t see her excel.’

Carolan Brown Personal trainer

‘Once I had a last-minute call to go to Kensington Palace for a session and when I got there Diana said, “I’m so sorry, we can’t do it in the sitting room as my husband’s having a meeting, we will have to go somewhere else.” So we went into the storage room where the gifts were kept from all the countries she’d visited. These amazing things were stacked up, labelled and dated, so she knew who gave what. Then whenever they came to visit they could be put on display. It was extraordinary. So we danced around surrounded by pictures, statues, paintings and handbags. There was no electricity so we just sang and did our routines.’

Jayne Fincher Photographer

‘I went to photograph her once at Kensington Palace when she was all dressed up in a gown and tiara for a banquet. I told her she looked lovely, but she groaned and said, “It’s a lovely dress but it’s really tight and I can hardly breathe. I’ve got to sit through a banquet in it, which is so long and boring.” She showed her emotions on her face and sometimes you could see her sitting there thinking, “Oh God, how long’s this going on for?” When she got like that she’d sit there looking all demure but be rolling her eyes. You could tell she was thinking, “Get me out of here now.”’

Patrick Jephson Diana’s former private secretary

‘Diana knew how to bend the rules of protocol a little in order to make a point or a spontaneous gesture. When she and Charles visited Budapest in 1990, in the middle of an official state arrival when everybody was standing to attention and listening to the national anthem, the president of Hungary’s wife was in tears. No one noticed except Diana. She put out a hand to comfort her. That photograph turned the visit into an instant success before we’d even left the airport.’

Penny Junor Journalist and biographer

‘In the early 1990s she arrived in Portsmouth in a Wessex helicopter that could be heard approaching from miles away. Hundreds of children were waiting and could barely contain their excitement as the great noisy machine came to rest just a few feet from them. Out stepped a real live princess, come specially to visit them. Anyone who doubts the potency of a royal visit should have been there that day. She was everything they had waited for. More polished and confident than ten years earlier, but none of the magic had gone. There was no shortage of fairy dust.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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