An unpublished photograph of Diana, Princess of Wales is to be displayed for the first time in her former home, showing the little-known “stoic” and traditionally regal side of the woman once believed to be queen.
The picture is taken by David Baileyand shows the princess in profile in 1988 looking serious and contemplative, looking away from the camera.
Unlike her best-known photographs, she was not exhibited at the time when the public instead wanted to celebrate her for her warmth and accessibility.
Conservators of historic royal palaces have now secured it for a new Kensington Palace Exhibition on the Royal Family and photography, believing it to be the “most powerful” of all the photos from Bailey’s photoshoot with the Princess for its “very different” feel.
While other images from the same series were accepted into the collection of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), this remained with the photographer.
Claudia Acott Williams, curator of historic royal palaces, said the Princess’s decision to pose for Bailey, best known for her celebrity snaps, was “a rather surprising choice”, noting that he was “not a photographer royal established”.
She compared the photograph to formal royal images such as those of Queen Mary, adding that it was “a fairly standard presentation of the monarchy”.
“A truly different light”
“For me, this is the most powerful of all the images from this shoot,” she said. “It shows her in a really different light.
“She created this warm and informal image. Here she steps away from the camera a bit, she looks stoic. He does something very different.
Images from the same series that are now in the NPG collection, she said, showed her as “the most characteristic warm and approachable silhouette. This is how we wanted to see Diana.
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The photograph is a last minute addition to the Life Through A Royal Lens exhibition, on loan from digital Princess Diana Museum with Bailey’s permission.
It will be featured on Friday as part of around 130 photographs ranging from previously unseen to some of the most famous images already guaranteed their place in the history books.
Each has been chosen to help illustrate the relationship between the Royal Family and photography, from the Victorian era to the present day.
It includes a reproduction of the oldest photograph of a member of the royal family ever taken, of Prince Albert in 1842 as a gift to Queen Victoria.
From the relaxed domestic shots of the Queen and her toddler sister to the pomp and pageantry of Cecil Beaton, it tells the story of how the Royal Family learned to manage their own image.
A now poignant image, taken by Matt Holyoak, shows the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh laughing together during their 70th wedding anniversary photocall. At the time, the charming image was considered a bit too intimate to be released by Buckingham Palace as an official portrait.
With her children in 1957
The first photograph Queen Victoria allowed to be shown to the public is here, capturing her with her children in 1957, along with the first royal wedding photograph – of Princess Victoria and Prince Friedrich Willhelm of Prussia.
The modern age is represented by photos of young members of the royal family, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, taken by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Brothers Prince William and Prince Harry are captured side by side in their twenties, a contact sheet shows the Queen cradling a baby Prince Edward as Prince Andrew looks on, and Prince Philip and Princess Anne are immortalized at a barbecue at Balmoral .
There is also a digital display of photographs taken by members of the public, with 1,000 submissions whittled down to 50.
Ms Acott Williams said: “Since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert first embraced the revolutionary new technology of photography, this medium shaped the way the world views the British monarchy.
“It has allowed the royal family to offer a fascinating insight into their lives and work, transforming the royal image and creating an unprecedented relationship between crown and subjects.”
Life Through a Royal Lens opens at Kensington Palace on Friday.