Princess Diana by Mario Testino, 1997

26 August 2011

Photo: Mario Testino.

How beautiful are these stunning photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales by Mario Testino? I defy anyone (okay, almost everyone, I try not to think about the fact that there’s a tough crowd out there) not to look at these images and think ‘Oh, wow, she really WAS a beauty.’

Photo: Mario Testino.

Photo: Mario Testino.

This set of photographs was taken in an old school in Battersea in 1997, just five months before the princess’ tragic death. They were destined to act as publicity for the upcoming sale of some of Diana’s dresses at Christies but now have a greater significance as the final formal photographs taken of the princess.

Photo: Mario Testino.

Later, she was to recall that the shoot with Mario Testino, an eminently skilled photographer whose flattering and seductive eye is to modern celebrity photography what Madame Vigée Lebrun was to Marie Antoinette and the luminaries of her court, as ‘One of the happiest days of my entire life’.

Photo: Mario Testino.

Photo: Mario Testino.

When Diana showed the photographs to her butler Paul Burrell, she asked, ‘Don’t you think I look a little like Marilyn Monroe?’ I actually think there’s hints of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis and, most particularly, Princess Grace of Monaco here as well.

Photo: Mario Testino.

Photo: Mario Testino.

Photo: Mario Testino.

Stunning. Really stunning. I adore how playful and mischievous the princess looks in these shots, how fun loving she clearly was. Unsurprising then that Diana later told Testino that her sons had said that his photographs were the most ‘her’ that they had ever seen her…

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