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July 1, 2022

Sunning Portraits of Diana, Princess of Wales Taken by Terence Donovan From Between 1986-90

Terence Donovan photographed Diana, Princess of Wales on a number of occasions in the mid to late 1980s and in early 1990. His official portraits of her, commissioned by the Princess and the Palace, were taken towards the end of her tenure as HRH, before her official separation from the Prince of Wales in 1992.

By the turn of the 1990s, royal photography was about to enter a new, more informal era – a shift which Diana was very much a leading and compelling proponent of. Pictures of her taken by photographers such as Mario Testino and Patrick Demarchelier in the 1990s favored a more relaxed and spontaneous feel in contrast to the distancing formality of predecessors including Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson. Terence Donovan’s portraits seem to bridge these two worlds – his staged compositions are reminiscent of royal oil paintings and the grandeur of Beaton’s intricate tableaux but communicate a directness of gaze and sense of individuality that would emerge more fully in later years.

These 15 portrait photographs, take at various dates between 1986 and 1990, including one portrait of Prince Charles, given to the National Portrait Gallery by the photographer’s widow. The series is also notable for the range of fashion featured, with Diana wearing some of her most well-known ensembles by favorite designers including Catherine Walker and Victor Edelstein.

(Photos © by Terence Donovan / National Portrait Gallery)


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