Entries in Princess Diana (15)


Diana Photo Mystery Man Revealed

Caren Archive(LONDON) -- The mystery of the young man sitting beside the late Diana Spencer in a photo apparently prohibited it from being published has been solved.

The man in photo is Adam Russell, the great-grandson of former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and currently a deer farmer in Dorset.

The photo of Lady Diana before she married into the royal family will be up for auction later this month. Besides the identity of the mystery man, the words, “not to be published,” written on the image in grease pencil, intrigued the photo’s owner, Eric Caren of Caren Archive.

Caren had bought images from the former British newspaper, the Daily Mirror.

Reached on the phone in western England, Russell confirmed with ABC News he was the man in the photo, but refused to say any more.

Asked whether he had any additional photos of himself at the time, he replied, “you’ve got one, it was just several years ago… The hair’s a bit shorter, otherwise you’d probably recognize [me].”

According to royal biographer Andrew Morton, the two were just friends.

In Morton’s book, Diana, Her True Story – In Her Own Words, he writes that her friend, Mary-Ann Stewart-Richardson, invited Diana to join her family on their skiing holiday in the French Alps. It was there that Lady Diana and Russell were injured.

Morton said, Russell “always liked Diana but nothing ever happened, in part because he never expressed his desire for her.”

Diana did not attend Oxford but the two apparently kept in touch when they returned to London.

“After the holiday, he went away for a year and when he came back he was told he had competition: the Prince of Wales,” Morton said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana Set Royal Motherhood Example for Kate Middleton

Tim Graham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The world is abuzz with the news that Kate Middleton is expecting her first child.

The news has delighted royal watchers, who have been speculating feverishly about a royal pregnancy since Middleton married Britain’s Prince William on April 29, 2011.

If the 30-year-old Middleton has any doubts about how to embrace motherhood in the coming months, she can follow the example set by Princess Diana, William’s late mother.

Royal watchers say Diana set the gold standard for mothering a future monarch.

“Diana lavished her boys with affection and she was truly a loving parent, which in many ways broke the mold for traditional royal parenting,” Kate Coyne of People magazine told ABC's Good Morning America.

Diana was just 20 years old when she announced she was pregnant with William, her first child.  The announcement came in November 1981, just three months after Diana wed Prince Charles in a wedding watched by an estimated 750 million people around the world.

Their older son’s wedding eclipsed that.  It was seen by a worldwide television audience of about two billion people.

Diana was thrilled to give birth to a royal child, but she wanted to do it in a modern way.

William was the first royal baby to be born in a hospital.  Diana reportedly was in labor for 16 hours before she gave birth to him at St. Mary’s Hospital.  She followed a natural childbirth plan, which included sucking ice, and Charles was by her side during her delivery.

From the very beginning, Diana insisted on keeping her infant son by her side.

“Prince William was the first royal baby brought along on a royal trip,” Coyne said, adding that Diana “insisted that she bring him.  She would not leave him behind and one of the reasons was that she was breastfeeding -- also unheard of in the royal family up until that time.”

Two years later, when she gave birth to Harry, Diana’s hands-on mothering style didn’t change.  She regularly played educational games with her young sons in their nursery, and was actively involved in dropping them off and picking them up from school in London.

Diana also opposed the tradition of sending off her sons to boarding school.

“In the royal family, children as young as 6 and 7 were sent away to boarding school, but that was not OK with Diana,” Coyne said

Diana would go on to take her sons to such kid-favorite haunts as McDonald’s in later years, notably insisting that William wait his turn in line to order.  She also took her boys to amusement parks, famously going on rides with them.

Her goal?  To give her children as normal a childhood as possible.

Years later, the princes would call Diana the best mother in the world.

Kate has some big maternal shoes to fill, but royal watchers predict she is up to the job.

“I think William and Kate’s parenting styles might be similar to what Diana did,” royal watcher Victoria Arbiter said.  “And I think William and Kate are really going to follow that model and do everything they can to ensure as normal a childhood as possible, while at the same time behind the scenes educating their child for their future role.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prince William and Kate Pay Tribute to Princess Diana in Singapore

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/GettyImages(SINGAPORE) -- Prince William and Kate Middleton touched down in Singapore Tuesday to kick-off of their eight-day tour of Southeast Asia to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first stop a memorable one, visiting the city’s famed Botanic Gardens to view orchids, including one named after William’s late mother, Princess Diana, whose death in an August 1997 car crash came just weeks before she was scheduled to visit the gardens to see the orchid.

“It’s beautiful,” Prince William, 30, said, according to the BBC, pausing to view the flower with his wife, whom his mother also never got to meet.

William and Kate then got to see, for the first time, an orchid the gardens named in their own honor, the Vanda William Catherine.  The pink orchid is described as a free-flowering orchid hybrid with white petals and purple-red spots surrounded by a dark purple edge.

Middleton, 30, whose fashion choices will no doubt grab headlines throughout the trip, stood out in a pink kimono-style dress with an orchid pattern -- seen as a nod to her Singaporean hosts -- by British designer Jenny Packham.

The overwhelming reaction the couple received on their first official overseas trip to North America last summer was matched Tuesday in Singapore, where locals were overjoyed to see the royals.

A crowd of nearly 200 people reportedly gathered outside the Raffles Hotel where the couple is staying to cheer their arrival on Tuesday.

“It was like Christmas,” one local told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff.  “We’re excited.  We couldn’t sleep last night.”

“It’s uplifting,” said another.  “It’s exciting and it’s away from all the depressiveness of recessions and Eurocrises.”

During the rest of their trip, Kate and William will travel to four countries and are expected to engage with the locals through sporting activities, wearing traditional dress and even traveling by canoe.

The pair will conclude their trip with some downtime, staying at a luxurious private estate in the island nation of Tuvalu.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Naomi Watts Latest to Portray Princess Diana 15 Years After Her Death

Tim Graham/Getty Images/Venturelli/WireImage(LONDON) -- Stepping into Princess Diana's shoes on the 15th anniversary of her death can't be easy.

"It's very scary and I kind of wanted to say no but I couldn't," actress Naomi Watts told the Press Association this past February, after she accepted the role of the princess in the first big-screen biopic of Diana's life.

Not only is the actress Diana's doppelganger, as pictures from the forthcoming movie show, but her co-star Naveen Andrews is convinced Watts was the only one who could play her.

"I don't think anyone else could have done it," the former Lost star told the Press Association.  "There's no one else."

In fact, there have been several other actresses who have played Diana before and after her death, including Catherine Oxenberg, a distant cousin of the British royal family.  But all the previous portrayals have been for television.

Diana, which was initially titled Caught in Flight, will focus on Princess Diana's final two years, including her relationship with Dodi Fayed -- who was killed along with her in the Paris car crash Aug. 31, 1997 -- and her little-documented affair with Dr. Hasnat Khan, played by Andrews.


According to a press release from the film's producers Ecosse, the story will show how finding true personal happiness for the first time, Diana was able to evolve into an international humanitarian.

The role of the princess was initially earmarked for Jessica Chastain before Watts was cast.

Watts, who was born in Britian before moving to Australia at age 14, dived into the role.

"I'm doing all the research and there is so much to read, I just hope we make a good film and people can learn something new about her that's interesting.  There are a lot of people that knew her and a lot of books to read and so much information and one story is different to the next, so it's hard to gauge what was the truth.  It's going to be a tough one, it's a big beast to take on, I just try to do my best," she told the Press Association in February.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lady Di and Kate: How Middleton’s First Speech Rates

Simon James/FilmMagic(IPSWICH, England) -- Kate Middleton, the newest addition to the British royal family, captivated her country and the rest of the world last April when she married Prince William in an opulent ceremony.

In her latest royal act, the princess delivered her first speech to rave reviews.

But how did her performance compare with William’s late mother, England’s beloved Princess Diana?

According to Dickie Arbiter, royal commentator and former press secretary to the queen, Middleton passed with flying colors.

“The eyes and ears of the world were on her,” Arbiter told ABC News, "...hanging on every word."

Kate’s first public address took place at the opening of The Treehouse, a hospice run by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices in Ipswich, England.

She spoke to the children at the center, which supports children and their families with life-threatening illnesses, their families and the hospice workers, saying she was proud to be a patron of the charity.

“When I first visited the hospice in Milton, I had a pre-conceived idea as to what to expect,” she said. “Far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home. Most importantly, it was a family home, a happy place of stability, support and care. It was a place of fun.”

Not only was it Middleton’s first public speech, but she had to deliver it alone. Prince William is completing a six-week Royal Air Force deployment in the Falkand Islands.

In just about everything she does, from what she wears to how she speaks, Middleton has been compared to her late mother-in-law.

And according to Arbiter, Middleton may have had a head start on Lady Di.

“When you start to draw comparisons of Diana coming into the Royal Family in 1981, and Kate coming into the Royal Family in 2011, it is very different,” Arbiter said.

“Diana was 20 when she came in. Kate was 30,” he said. “Kate had a university education, Diana didn’t. Kate had an 8-year relationship with William before she got married to him. Diana barely had an 8-month relationship with Charles....Kate’s had 10 years of growing up. Diana didn’t.”

Arbiter also gives credit to Kate’s teacher -- her husband.

“Kate had eight years of learning through William,” he said. “She had the best teacher in the world. And she learned from him so when she came onto the scene last year in April...she already knew what she had to do. She already knew how to behave.”

But there was one major difference between the two speeches.

Diana, said Arbiter, “said very little in the town hall in Cardiff [,Wales] right at the end of the tour, but what she did say had everyone congratulating her because she spoke in Welsh, which is quite something for anybody,” Arbiter said.

“And that went down very well,” Arbiter said. “We still have yet to see something like that from Kate. It’s not going to happen for a long time, that sort of thing.”

But overall, Arbiter believes Middleton’s first speech was a success.

“Ten of ten,” Arbiter said to describe the duchess’s performance. “Eleven out of ten. She did brilliantly.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana’s Back-Up Wedding Dress Sells for Thousands

Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage(LONDON) -- When you’re getting married in front of millions, you ought to have a back-up plan.

Or a back-up dress, to be more precise. Exact replicas of Princess Diana’s wedding dress and slippers were auctioned off in London this week for approximately $132,000. The David Emanuel gown and Clive Shilton shoes were made for the princess in case anything went wrong with her original outfit prior to the ceremony.

A fashion museum in Chile bought the dress; a private buyer took home the shoes (which, according to the Daily Mail, have the initials C and D joined together with a heart on the soles).

Wonder if Duchess Catherine had her own replicas waiting in the wings?

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana and Kate Middleton Together on 'Newsweek' Cover

Tim Graham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The latest edition of Newsweek imagines what the late Princess Diana would look like at 50, putting a digitally enhanced photo of her, alongside daughter-in-law Kate Middleton, on the cover.

Diana, who appears trim with only a few wrinkles, would have reached her milestone birthday on July 1.

In the cover story, Newsweek envisions that the Princess of Wales would have migrated to New York, dumped Dodi Al-Fayed, married twice more and made peace with her ex, Prince Charles, and his new wife Camilla. Newsweek adds that Diana would have enjoyed her new daughter-in-law and been best friends with Kate's mother Carole Middleton.

The digitally rendered scene garnered a considerable amount of attention on Twitter, where at least one user called the illustration “disturbing;" another called the cover “a bit spooky.”

You can see the cover here.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana's Iconic Gowns Up for Auction

Tim Graham/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Some of Princess Diana's most iconic dresses -- including the gown she wore when she danced with John Travolta at the White House -- are to be auctioned off Thursday in Toronto after the Florida woman who owned them went bankrupt.

The dresses up for grabs also include two Diana wore for her photo shoots with Mario Testino that were designed by Catherine Walker, whose fashion house designed the outfit that Kate Middleton's mother Carole wore at the royal wedding in April.

Waddington's auctioneers will place 14 dresses under the hammer, with the "John Travolta" dress designed by Victor Edelstein estimated to sell for between $800,000 and $1 million, according to Vince Ciarlo, a spokesman for the auctioneers. He said interest has been expressed by bidders in China, Germany and Britain as well as the U.S. and Canada.

The sale will take place exactly 14 years after Diana herself auctioned off the gowns for charity at Christie's -- a move suggested by Prince William. Diana, who would have been 50 on July 1, 2011, died in a car crash in Paris two months later.

Tampa businesswoman Maureen Rorech Dunkel bought the 14 dresses at Christie's in New York for $670,000.

Dunkel bought the gowns as an investment, and now she needs to cash in. She went bankrupt last year. Her lawyer, Jeffrey Warren, told the St. Petersburg Times, "The dresses are far more valuable than what she owes."

Dunkel founded the People's Princess Charitable Foundation and sent the dresses around the world. They later were on display for a decade at Kensington Palace, Diana's former London home, and returned last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana's Letters May Fetch As Much as $30,000

Tim Graham/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A 30-year collection of previously unpublished letters penned by the late Princess Diana has been unveiled for the first time and is slated to be sold to the highest bidder.

"Just a cosy nest for Mr. and Mrs. Wales to roost," the Princess of Wales wrote of Highgrove, the new home she shared with Prince Charles shortly after their lavish royal wedding.

The letters, dating as far back as September 1981, will be sold on June 21 at a Royal Memorabilia auction in England.

The correspondence, including letters, signed Christmas cards and Royal Wedding invitations, were all sent from Diana to nursery teacher Margaret Hodge, who worked alongside the former Lady Diana Spencer at a small kindergarten in London, when the future royal was known as just "Miss Diana."  She remained friends with Diana until her death in a 1997 Paris car crash.

Diana wrote to Hodge about everything from her early courtship with Prince Charles to the births of her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

"It's heavenly up here, just having the opportunity to do what you like and walk for miles," the princess wrote of her September 1981 honeymoon with Prince Charles at Balmoral.

Written in girlish handwriting and sometimes hard to decipher, the letters and Christmas cards reveal a very personal side of a very public figure, and document the building, and break-up, of a family.

"When she started out she was obviously deeply in love with Prince Charles," James Grinter, an auctioneer who has viewed the collection, told ABC's Good Morning America.  "It seems like from the early letters she doesn't really know what she's letting herself in for."

Later letters share the pain of her very public divorce from Prince Charles in 1992, an experience the two women could share.

"Unfortunately they both went through quite messy divorces," Grinter said.  "So from that point of view they kept in touch, they had something in common that bound them together."

Despite the tumultuousness of her marriage and life, all played out under the glare of the royal spotlight, the letters show little sign of her unhappiness and often have an upbeat tone.

"I know she was very much in love with Prince Charles and she just wanted to be loved in return," Hodge told British newspaper the Daily Mail.

Hodge, 69, says she is selling the letters, valued at more than $30,000, reluctantly because she wants to have a level of [financial] comfort in her old age.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dying Princess Diana Photo to Be Shown in New Documentary

Tim Graham/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A documentary film about the death of Princess Diana won't be shown in Great Britain because a photo in the movie shows the princess just moments before she died in the wreckage of a Paris car crash.

The grim pictures have angered many Brits, still aglow over the royal wedding of her oldest son, Prince William, and the movie's director claims that British lawyers have insisted those pictures be cut out before it can be shown in the country.

The film, Unlawful Killing, will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this week.  The 90-minute film was financed in part by Mohamed al Fayed, father of Diana's lover, Dodi Fayed, who also died in the 1997 crash.

Keith Allen, the film's director, called the film an "inquest of the inquest" into the death of Diana in an interview with The Guardian.

The film's trailer begins with a 1993 letter written by Diana describing her fears that someone was conspiring to kill her.

"My husband is planning 'an accident' in my car.  Brake failure or serious head injury," the note reads.

The film then explores the investigation into Diana's death, showing graphic photos taken by the papparazzi when Diana is near death in the Paris tunnel where the crash occurred.  The crash was ruled a drunk driving accident.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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