Princess Diana by Mario Testino, 1997 8


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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8 thoughts on “Princess Diana by Mario Testino, 1997

  • Teresa Morgan

    Wow – the top photo is stunning! Well, they are all stunning.

    Such a waste, such a shame… but we won’t go over something that can not be changed. Thank you for sharing. She was truly beautiful.

  • Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    They are stunning photographs and she looks so relaxed in them and happy for a change. That’s one of the saddest things to me about these photos, that just as she was finally relaxing into her own skin, and moving forward into a new chapter in her life, she tragically died.

    • Madame Guillotine Post author

      It is amazing how happy she looks – that poor woman and those poor boys. I’m always saying that the reason we in this country love William and Harry so much is that a lot of us will never forget the images of them walking behind their mother’s funeral cortege and there’s a general feeling that we have to protect them, I suppose? Thus the wild happiness and, I think, relief when William got married. ;)

  • Jan Abraham

    I just finished Blood Sisters, and LOVED it. You are my mentor for the French Revolution. I am onto a third book by you, I think the one Based on The Buccaneers, as I love Edith Wharton. Ty so much for your talent. I would love your ideas for the party we are planning for Mary Stuart (virtual). We don’t get to hear from you enough! MQS