Remembering Diana Through 40 Formal Portraits 20 Years Later

It’s surprisingly hard to write this post even though it’s been 20 years since the passing of the woman I first knew as Lady Di, then as The Princess of Wales and now and forevermore as The People’s Princess. I still well up with tears when looking at photos of the late Princess. But here, on the the 20 anniversary of her tragic passing, are several formal portraits of her taken by some of the world’s most renowned photographers including Terence Donovan, David Bailey, Mario Testino and Patrick Demarchelier.

Remembering Diana Through 40 Formal Portraits

By formal portraits I mean commissioned photos or editorial fashion shoots as opposed to candid shots or journalist’s images. The following photos all fall within that category.

Remembering Diana Through 40 Formal Portraits
One of the earliest formal portraits of Princess Diana by Lord Snowden, 1981
Prince Charles; Diana, Princess of Wales on their wedding day by Thomas Patrick John Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield, July 1981

Terence Donovan

Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan, colour print, 1986

Before the stunning Vogue covers and fashion editorials of Diana to which we’ve been exposed over the past two decades, there were the many official royal portraits of the Princess taken by English photographer Terence Daniel Donovan. The Royal Family, and in particular Diana, Princess of Wales formed part of the many commissions which he continued to undertake up until his death in 1996.

Diana, Princess of Wales, by Terence Daniel Donovan, bromide print, 1986
Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan bromide print, 1986
Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan, bromide print, 1986
Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan, colour print, 1986
Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan, bromide print, 1987
Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan, colour print, 1987
Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan colour print, 1990
Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan colour print, 1990
Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons’ by John Swannell, Iris print, 1994

David Bailey

Diana, Princess of Wales by David Bailey, bromide fibre print, 1988

Portrait and Fashion photographer David Bailey (b. 1938) may very well be best known for his statement claiming that Diana was not the most beautiful woman in the world. Nevertheless, along with Terence Donovan, he is known for capturing the fashions and culture of London in the 1960s and socialised with actors, musicians and royalty, only to be elevated to celebrity status. Here are some of his portraits of the Princess.

Diana, Princess of Wales by David Bailey bromide fibre print, 1988
Diana, Princess of Wales by David Bailey bromide fibre print, 1988
Diana, Princess of Wales by David Bailey, bromide print, 1988

Mario Testino

Fifteen iconographic images taken by Mario Testino of the late Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 formed the main part of an exhibition that opened at Kensington Palace in 2005. The photographs Testino initially shot for Vanity Fair turned out to be the last official portraits taken of the Princess before her untimely death the same year.

Mario in front of two of his portraits of Diana

Photographing Diana, Princess of Wales for Vanity Fair in 1997 was one of the most memorable days of my career. I am honoured to have been asked to show some of the photographs from that day in surroundings as unique as Kensington Palace and design the rooms that pictures and dresses are to be exhibited. I hope that the design will reflect my respect and admiration for her in this light celebration of her life.” – Mario Testino

Diana and Mario Testino, 1977

Patrick Demarchelier

Princess Diana admired his work and, in 1989, commissioned him to photograph her and Princes William and Harry, leading to his role as the first non-British official photographer for the Royal family. Photographer Patrick Demarchelier was said to be Diana’s personal favorite. And it’s no wonder when you see these stunning photos he managed to capture of her.



A morphing video tribute of Diana through the years by Slideshow Metamorphosis

Links To Tributes & Other Photos:
BBC In pictures: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales
NBC News: Remembering the life of Princess Diana
Formal Portraits of Princess Diana on Flickr