This striking picture of Princess Diana, posing alone in front of the Taj Mahal has become one of the most iconic and poignant photographs of her lifetime.
At first glance this is an undeniably lovely photograph, taken in 1992 during the Prince and Princess’ Royal Tour of India. Photographers captured the Princess during a rare moment of solitude, enjoying an afternoon away from the crowds in front of the country’s most vast and impressive monument.
Showcasing her trademark chic and effortless style the Princess, then 30, combines simple tailoring with vibrant jewel tones, cutting a striking figure in front of the landmark.
But look a little deeper and you will see that while the Princess might be smiling sweetly, her solo figure paints a picture of loneliness.
Conflicting, busy schedules meant that the couple hadn’t spent much time together during the tour, but they were still both expected to turn up to visit the landmark together.
Historically, many VIPs posed here while visiting India, with Charles himself being photographed there 12 years earlier. The couple standing together in this famous spot was sure to be one of the defining images of the tour. However, with Charles in meetings, Princess Diana turned up alone.
Rumours surrounding the couple’s rocky relationship had already been circulating the press, so by the time they embarked on their tour, all eyes were on their every move.
And while this may look like an intimate moment on the surface, in reality there were around 40 photographers at the scene, all eager to get a shot of Diana without her Prince by her side.
While she entertained them briefly, posing for the camera, after a few moments the Princess moved away from the mass of photographers and found a spot further away where she could be alone with her thoughts.
The poignancy of the photograph could be fully appreciated in December later that year, when the couple announced their separation. In August 1996, they formally divorced.
When asked by a reporter about her feelings towards her visit to the Taj Mahal she replied: “It was a fascinating experience – very healing,” only hinting at the emotion behind the photograph.
When pressed for more, the Princess was reluctant to divulge any details. “Work it out for yourself,” she simply said.
As Prince William, 33, and the Duchess of Cambridge, 34, prepare for their first royal visit to India, it is inevitable that comparisons will be made, especially when the couple visit the world famous monument.
A recent release on twitter from Kensington Palace stated: “The Duke of Cambridge feels lucky to visit a place where his mother’s memory is kept alive by so many who travel there.”
If you were to visit the Taj Mahal yourself, you would find the bench still there, affectionately known now as ‘Lady Di’s Chair’.