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50 Stunning, Rarely Seen Photos of Princess Diana

Until her tragic death in 1997, the Princess of Wales was one of the most photographed people in the world. Her legacy lives on in these photos of her most memorable moments.  

Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales visit to Canada, June 1983Boris Spremo/Getty Images

Princess Diana’s legacy lives on

This year marks the 24th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, who would have turned 60 in 2021 had she lived. In the years since Princess Diana’s funeral, many remember the Princess of Wales as far more than a fashion icon—she was a kindhearted philanthropist and, most importantly, a devoted mother to Princes William and Harry. These powerful Princess Diana pictures remind us of the mark the People’s Princess left on the world.

Lady Diana SpenceEugene Adebari/Shutterstock

She even makes plaid look couture

If you thought that long plaid skirts were reserved for Catholic schoolgirls, think again. This rare photo of Princess Diana in the 1980s shows how she always took fashion risks. Learn the 9 secrets about Princess Diana we didn’t know until after her death.

PRINCESS DIANA WHEN SHE WAS LADYSTEVE WOOD/Shutterstock

Confidence was her best accessory

Subtle accessories like a pearl necklace, scarf, and woven wicker basket tote bag are what proved Princess Diana to be a style icon for every generation. Learn some things we still don’t know about Princess Diana’s death.

Princess Diana Of Wales Before MarriageJames Gray/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

The sweetest giggle

They say laughter is the best medicine and looks good on everyone. We wonder what made Princess Diana giggle in this rare photo of her from the ’80s! Have a look at never-before-seen photos of Princess Diana and Prince Charles on their wedding day.

Lady Diana Spencer outside her flat in Coleherne Court, London, before her engagement to the Prince of Wales, December 1980.Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Working woman

Before she became the Princess of Wales, Diana was known as “Lady Diana Spencer” to her friends and family. She came from a wealthy and aristocratic family, but she worked as a kindergarten teacher and lived in a London flat with her friends, which is where photographers snapped this shot in December 1980. Find out how much the Princess Diana Beanie baby is now worth.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales with his fiance Lady Diana Spencer during a photocall before their wedding while staying at Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral Estate in Scotland, 6th May 1981.Tim Graham/Getty Images

A royal engagement

After announcing their engagement in May 1981, Diana and Prince Charles posed for pictures at Craigowan Lodge on the royal family’s Balmoral Estate in Scotland. While Princess Diana’s ring was an undeniable showstopper, it was her sweater that became instantly famous, and ladies around the world scrambled to purchase it themselves.

Ravishing in red

Arriving at the London premiere of the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, Diana sparkled in a red Bellville Sassoon dress. Her wedding to Prince Charles was only weeks away, and thousands of fans waited hours outside the theater to catch a glimpse of the soon-to-be princess.

Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Shows the famous kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, after ceremony.Bettmann/Getty Images

The blushing bride

On the Buckingham Palace balcony in front of a roaring crowd, the Prince and Princess of Wales shared their first kiss as husband and wife. Princess Diana’s wedding dress later inspired a wave of imitations worldwide.

Princess Diana At The Victoria And Albert Museum For The Splendours Of The Gonzagas Exhibition Gala Wearing A Pale Blue Chiffon Evening Dress Designed By Fashion Designers Bellville Sassoon. The Princess Seemed Tired During The Event And The Following Day The Palace Announced Her Pregnancy.Tim Graham/Getty Images

All tuckered out

Royal duties can be exhausting. Princess Diana famously nodded off during a gala at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1981. The next day, the palace announced the good news: She was pregnant with Prince William! These are more times that Princess Diana’s body language told the real story.

The Princess of Wales and the Queen attend the Opening of Parliament in London, November 1982. Diana is wearing a white fur coat and the Spencer tiara.Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

The Queen and Diana

Due to their frosty relationship, it was rare to see Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II together. Yet in 1982, the Princess of Wales and the Queen shared a carriage to attend the opening of Parliament in London. Diana wore a white fur coat and the Spencer tiara for the occasion.

Princess Diana at the School of the Air, in Alice Springs, Australia, 30th March 1983. She is wearing a dress by Jan van Velden.Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Stealing hearts

Throngs of adoring fans, many waving British and Australian flags, greeted Princess Diana when she arrived in Australia for a royal tour in 1983. It was her first official visit as the Princess of Wales, and she stole their hearts as she waved to the crowd, spoke to the children, and accepted their gifts of flowers and chocolates.

00-Stunning,-Rarely-Seen-Photos-of-Princess-Diana_1043075a_EDITORIAL_James-GrayDaily-MailREXJames Gray/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock

Picnicking with her tiny prince charming

During a tour of Australia and New Zealand, young Princess Diana and Prince Charles took a break from their royal duties to play with baby William and answer questions from reporters. While royal parents typically left their children behind during their official trips, Diana broke tradition by insisting that her son come along. Now it is standard practice for royal babies to tag along on official tours.

Prince Of Wales & DianaJames Gray/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Hitting the slopes

The royal couple was just getting ready for their ski vacation of 1984 in Liechtenstein when they posed for this photo. Diana’s effortless and sporty outfit proves she could look cool no matter what she was doing. What’s not cool are the 9 things Princess Diana lost after her divorce from Charles.

Diana, Princess of Wales at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor, June 1984. She is pregnant with Prince Harry, and wearing a Jan Van Velden maternity suit and hat by Frederick Fox.Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Pretty in pink

During both of her pregnancies, Princess Diana made fashion history with her maternity style. Her wardrobe included everything from flouncy bows to pretty pastels to light and loose-fitting ensembles—like this Jan Van Velden maternity suit that she wore during her pregnancy with Harry. Like many other royal traditions, Princess Diana forever changed how royal women give birth.

Birth of Prince HarryJOHN SHELLEY./Shutterstock

Holding her early gift

Prince Harry arrived one week ahead of schedule after nine hours of labor, the last three of which Diana spent reading a paperback novel. Just 23 years old at the time, the young mother was glowing as she stepped out of the hospital to greet reporters and adoring fans. Here are more surprising things you probably didn’t know about Prince Harry.

Princess Diana holding Prince Harry 1985James Gray/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Off to a “flying” start

Many years before Prince Harry became a pilot himself, he took one of his first plane rides, accompanied by Princess Diana, to Aberdeen, Scotland. Diana dressed her little son in this precious “flying suit” to mark the occasion. Like Diana, Prince Harry has spent a lifetime in front of the cameras. Here are the most iconic photos from Harry and Meghan’s marriage.

Princess Diana At Her Desk In Her Sitting Room At Home In Kensington Palace, London. Beside Her Is Her School Tuckbox With The Name D.spencer.Tim Graham/Getty Images

Hard at work

Being a royal princess isn’t all fun and games. Princess Diana often worked from her desk in Kensington Palace, where she and Prince Charles lived for part of the year. According to royal watchers, she always kept a small wooden school box engraved with the name D. Spencer on her desk, a reminder of her days as a kindergarten teacher.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a green satin evening dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and an emerald necklace as a headband, dance together during a gala dinner dance at the Southern Cross Hotel on October 31, 1985 in Melbourne, Australia.Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Twist and tango

When they visited Australia in 1985, Prince Charles and Princess Diana tore up the dance floor—much to the delight of the other gala guests. Diana was wearing a green satin evening gown designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the same designers who made her wedding dress.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaREX/Shutterstock

Belle of the ball

In 1985, Princess Diana paid a visit to the White House and naturally stunned in a dark blue Victor Edelstein gown. Even though she danced with actor John Travolta, all eyes were on the former ballerina; she was the one with the groovy moves. Learn the true story behind Princess Diana’s famous revenge dress.

Princess Diana At Highgrove With Prince William And Prince Harry Dressed In Miniature Parachute Regiment Uniforms And Playing On Their Slide In The GardenTim Graham/Getty Images

Embracing a normal life

Diana always strove to give her children a normal childhood despite their royal titles. Like many non-royal parents at the time, she encouraged them to dress up in costumes and play outside on swing sets and slides. If that surprises you, you will never believe the normal-type kiddie food Diana let her sons eat during their childhood.

Prince Of WalesMike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Baby on board

On a family holiday to Majorca, Spain, Princess Diana held Prince Harry on her lap. Prince Harry’s dad, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William were also on the flight—a decision that broke royal protocol by having more than one heir to the throne on the same plane. Princess Diana was a famous rulebreaker, though. Here are 8 more royal rules Princess Diana changed for good.

Britain's Prince Harry sticks out his tongue for the cameras on the balcony of Buckingham PalaceSteve Holland/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Cheeky monkey

Proving that being a royal mother is a lot like being any other type of mother, Princess Diana is seen holding three-and-a-half-year-old Harry sticking out his tongue at the camera. You can almost hear her shushing him.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaREX/Shutterstock

The wee cops of England

Princes William and Harry got to dress up as their heroes—police officers—for a day. Diana supervises from the background—most likely to make sure they don’t take off on that motorbike! Check out even more fascinating facts you never knew about Princess Diana.

Prince Harry Getting An Early Introduction To Horse RidingJames Gray/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Giddy-up!

Prince Harry took one of his first pony rides, with Diana beside him as she guided the horse. One day, the prince would grow up to be an accomplished polo player himself. And that’s not the only secret you might be surprised to learn about Prince Harry. Turns out, Harry isn’t even his real name.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaBRENDAN BEIRNE/REX/Shutterstock

The real-life Cinderella

In her white and pink strapless evening dress, the Princess of Wales turned heads during the 1988 British royal tour of Australia. Prince Charles obviously couldn’t take his eyes off her—and he wasn’t the only one. Their marriage had happy moments, but this is what really happened between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaDaily Mail/REX/Shutterstock

Bicycling with the boys

A family bike ride while on holiday in the Scilly Isles inevitably turned into a photoshoot for the young royals. Since family outings like these were rare, Princess Diana soaked up the time she could spend with her boys.

Princess Diana with Prince WilliamDAVID HARTLEY/Shutterstock

Polo pals

Believe it or not, polo played a surprising role in Prince William’s birth. “When we had William, we had to find a date in the diary that suited Charles and his polo,” Diana once said. William was induced on a day that Prince Charles wasn’t away playing polo, so he could be there for the birth. Diana and William also shared a mutual love of the game, as you can see in this 1989 photo.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaDavid Levenson/REX/Shutterstock

The Brits in their beige power suits

Princess Diana and Prince Charles knocked their iconic power couple image out of the park during their visit to Cameroon in 1990. It’s just proof that beige doesn’t have to be bland!

Princess Diana with Prince WilliamEddie Boldizsar/Shutterstock

Baseball blues

Even little princes can have bad days. William wiped away tears at the Royal Sports Day in Richmond, Britain in 1990. Whatever was bothering the young prince that day, Diana was there to offer comfort and support. She continued supporting both of her sons long after her death by passing down these priceless heirlooms.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaKen Towner/Evening Standard/REX/Shutterstock

Forever fashionably chic

Princess Diana speaks with Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s sister while waiting at Victoria State for the state visit of the Italian president. Soon, women around the world would mimic her impeccable fashion sense.

Diana Princess Of Wales - 1991Mike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Running the show

The People’s Princess would never let dangly earrings, a blazer, and skirt, or even shoes dampen her competitive spirit. She came in second place at a Mother’s Day run at a local children’s school in 1991, with her hair flying as fast as her feet! This is the full story behind Diana’s iconic haircut.

Prince William and Princess DianaPeter Brooker/Shutterstock

Sharing a love of tennis

Princess Diana and William attended many tennis matches together when he was a child. Now Prince William watches tennis with his own three children and explains the rules to them during the match. It’s just one of the many ways that Princess Diana’s sons are trying to keep her memory alive.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaREX/Shutterstock

The unconditional love between mum and son

No one questions the Princess of Wales’s unconditional love for her sons, Princes William and Harry, and this photo just proves it. Whether they were apart for a few days or a few months, the look on her face says it all. She couldn’t be happier!

Diana Princess Of Wales Visit To Pakistan September 1991Mike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Embracing different cultures

While visiting Noorpour Shahan, a small village in Pakistan, Princess Diana wore a traditional garland over her light pink and blue-trimmed skirt suit. It was important to Diana to respect all cultures and people, no matter where she was. If you’re lucky enough to meet a member of the royal family on one of their next trips, here’s what you should (and shouldn’t) do.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaDAVE HARTLEY/REX/Shutterstock

Pretty in pastels

All of the royal women donned pastels for the annual Trooping the Colour parade in 1992. As they stood on the balcony in this photo, they watched the British Royal Navy fly past. Learn why Queen Elizabeth wears bright outfits all the time.

Diana Princess Of Wales May - Aug 1992Glenn Copus/Evening Standard/Shutterstock

An intimate chat with the “People’s Princess”

In 1992, Princess Diana visited Sylvia Killick, the only female resident at the time at the London Lighthouse, a center for people with AIDS. During a time when HIV and AIDS patients were often stigmatized and shunned, Diana raised awareness for the crisis by becoming one of the most famous people to visit AIDS wards and hospices.

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaCassidy and Leigh/REX/Shutterstock

A jolly good time with her favorite lads

In 1993, the royal family let loose with a trip to Thorpe Park, where Diana rode along on the amusement park rides with her sons. Put your royals knowledge to the test and see if you can identify the British royal by their childhood pictures.

Princess Diana at the Nemazura feeding centre - a Red Cross project for refugees in Zimbabwe, July 1993. She is wearing a safari suit by Catherine Walker.Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

A global inspiration

Wearing a safari suit made by one of her favorite designers, Catherine Walker, Diana spooned soup into the bowls of waiting children at the Nemazura feeding center, a Red Cross project for refugees in Zimbabwe, in 1993. The Princess of Wales inspired millions around the world with her good deeds and these inspiring quotes.

Diana Princess Of Wales Oct-dec 1993Glenn Copus/Evening Standard/Shutterstock

Looking fresh as a daisy

Diana donned a pinstripe power suit and her signature pixie cut for a 1993 visit to Centrepoint, an organization that provides housing for homeless youth in England and throughout the United Kingdom. No matter where she went, fans flocked to see her and give her flowers, like the ones she held here. It was just one of the many reasons why she was known as “the People’s Princess.”

Diana Princess Of Wales - December 1994Mike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

A Happy Christmas fit for a princess

When you are a member of the royal family, there is no such thing as tacky Christmas sweater photos. Princess Diana with her boys, William and Harry, got dressed up in their Christmas day best in 1994. Get a look at some more rarely seen royal family Christmas photos.

PRINCE WILLIAMS FIRST 1ST DAYShutterstock

All dressed up, but…

Princess Diana brought Prince Harry along for his older brother’s first day at Eton College, the distinguished prep school from which both William and Harry would graduate. Prince Harry was dressed to look the part that day, but he wouldn’t start at Eton until three years later. Here are 10 dress code rules everyone in the royal family must follow.

The Princess Of Wales And Princes William & Harry Attend The VJ Day 50Th Anniversary Celebrations In London.Antony Jones/Julian Parker/Getty Images

Keeping it real

Princess Diana shared a laugh with her two boys during the V-J Day 50th Anniversary celebrations in London in 1995. In the 2017 documentary about his mother’s life, Prince William remembered that “she was very informal and really enjoyed the laughter and the fun… She understood that there was a real life outside of palace walls.”

The-Most-Stunning-(But-Rarely-Seen!)-Photos-of-Princess-DianaAlan Davidson/Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock

Belly-aching laughs with her sisters

The cameras caught Princess Diana in a rare moment of genuine laughter while leaving London’s Royal Opera House in 1995. Her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, giggle along with her. Unfortunately, this happy photo hides a darker past. Diana’s relationship with her sisters was somewhat tumultuous—learn the truth about it.

Princess Of Wales In Argentina - Nov 1995Mike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Sailing the ocean blue

The Princess of Wales bucked the rules during a boat excursion by turning down a life vest. Despite safety protocols asking passengers to wear those bright orange jackets, Diana probably didn’t want them to clash with her powder blue ensemble. They may not have to wear life vests, but these are the rules and protocol the royal family is always supposed to follow.

Diana, Princess Of Wales, Visits A Minefield Being Cleared By The Charity Halo In Huambo, Angola, Wearing Protective Body Armour And A Visor.Tim Graham/Getty Images

Committed to the cause

Diana wore plenty of pretty dresses, but she also wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty for a good cause. In this photo, Princess Diana wore protective body armor and a visor while visiting a minefield in Angola. While her charities were among the things she lost after divorcing Prince Charles, she continued to support and advocate for many important causes until her death in 1997.

Diana, Princess of Wales and son HRH Prince William are seen holidaying with Dodi Al Fayed (not pictured) in St Tropez in the summer of 1997Michel Dufour/Getty Images

High seas adventurers

Shortly before her death, Princess Diana was spotted with Prince William and Dodi Al Fayed (not pictured), her boyfriend at the time. The group was soaking up some sun on a friend’s boat while vacationing in St. Tropez. Just a few days later, Diana and Al Fayed were killed in a car crash in Paris, sparking these 10 Princess Diana conspiracy theories that surround her tragic death to this day.

Prince William and Princess DianaShutterstock

Last lunch

Photographers captured Diana and Wills, as he used to be called by his parents, sharing a mother-son lunch at La Famiglia in Chelsea, London in 1997. Though they didn’t know it at the time, it would be one of their last moments together. Princess Diana passed away just 10 days later. In addition to “Wills,” these are the other sweet nicknames the royal family uses for each other.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.

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