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Diana, Princess of Wales

© Mario Testino

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Diana, Princess of Wales

by Mario Testino
Durst and Lambda bromide print, 1997
49 in. x 39 3/8 in. (1243 mm x 1001 mm)
Given by Mario Testino, 2003
Primary Collection
NPG P1016

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Mario Testino (1954-), Photographer. Artist of 22 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Taken on a single day in 1997, Testino's photographs of the Princess created a sensation when they appeared, with their completely relaxed informality. 'My original reaction was to photograph her in her traditional role as the fairytale princess. Then I realized that the most exciting image you could hope to see of her was as if you were alone in private with her.' The shoot was devised to promote the sale of her dresses at a charity auction, and the princessis seen wearing a black velvet beaded evening dress by Catherine Walker.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 120 Read entry

    Perhaps the most photographed royal of the twentieth century, Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-97) generated global interest and was constantly scrutinised by paparazzi photographers eager to generate tabloid sensation, particularly after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996. The following year, Diana sat for the Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino (b.1954), who created some of the most iconic portraits of the Princess. Styled without royal paraphernalia, the images suggested a relaxed and modern woman exuding polished glamour. The images, published in Vanity Fair magazine, were the last official photographs taken of Diana before her untimely death later that year.

  • Kinmonth, Patrick, Mario Testino: Portraits, 2002 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 1 February to 4 June 2002), p. 131
  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 230

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1997back to top

Current affairs

The Labour party - re-branded as New Labour - win a spectacular landslide election and Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister. Their electoral campaign promised that 'things can only get better' and that their priorities would be 'education, education, education.' While New Labour's 'third way' centralist approach put off some party traditionalists, it secured the popular vote.
Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed die in a car crash in Paris.

Art and science

J.K. Rowling publishes Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first of seven fantasy books chronicling the life of Harry and his friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: learning magic, breaking school rules, romantic entanglements and their struggles against the evil Lord Voldemort.
Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland announce that they have cloned the first mammal from an adult cell: '6LL3', or Dolly the Sheep.

International

Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten hands the island back to China after one hundred and fifty years as a British Colony. Although sovereignty was restored to China, it was agreed that the Island would become a 'Special Administrative Region' under the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle, effectively keeping its capitalist economy and way of life for a period of 50 years.

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