Royal Mail chooses portrait of Princess Diana she ‘disliked’ to for commemorative stamps

Mar 26, 2022
A rare portrait of Princess Diana is being auctioned off 40 years later. Source: Getty

An original portrait of Princess Diana taken from 1986 has recently emerged for sale almost 40 years later.

The Princess, then 25, was photographed looking at the camera with a neutral expression, wearing a crushed deep purple off the shoulder velvet gown.

It was this image of the Princess that gained worldwide recognition when the Royal Mail, Britain’s postal administration, announced they would produce what may be the country’s most popular commemorative stamps ever.


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It was reported, however, that when Diana saw the photo she pulled a face and expressed her displeasure at the image, despite this, the Royal Mail still selected it as one of five commemorative stamps that were proposed as a way to honour the Princess after her tragic car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

As per the Washington Post “Diana’s placement on the stamps of Great Britain, a nation that rarely issues commemoratives for individuals outside the royal family, is yet another testimony to her worldwide appeal.”

The photograph was taken by photographer Terence Donovan, but the copyright was sold to a woman who worked for the Society of the Blind in Brighton, who had the late princess autograph the original print during her Royal visit of the charity in 1990.

The current owner of the portrait, who wishes to remain anonymous, is looking at selling the rare portrait with copyright for an estimated AUD$26,424.79 (£15,000).

Sarah Lindberg, a specialist at London auctioneers Bonhams, says an “original signed pictures of Diana taken by Terence Donovan rarely come up for auction – especially large format copies like this one.”

The auctioning of this rare image comes a week after famed photographer David Bailey divulged a few secrets about photographing Princess Diana, sharing that the princess had “terrible hair.”

Speaking to The Telegraph the 84-year-old claimed the Dianas famous fuffy locks were “solid as a plastic dummy” because of the exscessive amounts of hairspray she used.

Baily is the same photographer who captured the rare, and now iconic, black and white image of the Princess during her prime- a 27-year-old mother-of-two who was growing into her role as a royal.

The image is now part of the National Portrait Gallery but was initially kept by the royal photographer for his personal archives.

Do you think Diana looks stunning in this portrait?

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