On July 29, 1981, young and shy Lady Diana, whose real name was Diana Spencer, married Prince Charles, future heir to the British crown. With this most publicized union, the young woman also embraced the customs, protocols and other dictates of English royalty. Everyone still remembers her incredible wedding dress, the images of which have gone around the world.
“Her wedding dress was totally cheesy, it was very awkward. We felt that she had no awareness of her body and she was a bad girl in her own skin”, confides to us the writer Irène Frain, author of the book Diana, published by Éditions Assouline. A young teenager’s clothing style, far from the current looks of Duchess Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle. “The first days of her marriage, we saw her with a sweater on which sheep were drawn. It was touching, but it was not an affirmation of herself. We felt that she was lost”, the biographer reminds us.
In short, Lady Diana reflected the image of a fragile young girl, uncomfortable in her skin, struggling to assert herself alone in the 1980s. It was not until 1982, after the birth of her first child, Prince William, that the young princess became aware of her assets. “As she had given birth to a child, she was more and more popular”, explains Irène Frain and adds: “As she felt that she was attracting the eye, she started to take an interest in her looks”.
A great popularity that was felt during his first official stay in Australia in 1983. First sign of emancipation: Lady Diana breaks with tradition, taking with her and her husband, their young son William.
Lady Diana: her appearance at the service of communication
Unlike some members of the British royal family, Lady Diana has marked the hearts of the British. Her emancipation was first achieved through her image and her style of dress, as Irène Frain reminds us. “She understood that an appearance was a way to assert herself and convey a message”.
If Princess Lady Di had to follow protocol rules, “like wearing a hat, wearing bright colors or even not being indecent, she could otherwise do what she wanted”, recalls the writer. Over the course of her marriage to Prince Charles, she changed her haircut and took the time to take care of her body. “Her willingness to fit into 1980s fashion was a way of saying she didn’t belong in this world of royalty and a way of saying ‘I do what I want, you can’t do me’. reach'”.
A style of dress like a language that allowed him to be heard, where the British royal family had no influence.
Lady Diana: how she used photographers against the royal family
During her official outings, Lady Diana often used photographers for personal purposes, explains the writer. “She was playing as an actress and a manipulator.” We particularly remember her “revenge dress”, worn for the first time during a dinner in 1994 at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens.
“She wanted to show that she was more beautiful than Camilla. It’s a bit like the playground,” explains Irène Frain. Indeed, the foundations of their marriage have often been destabilized by the shadow of Camilla Parke-Bowles, great love of Prince Charles. “It was directed at the royal family. She had a terrible grudge. She was a teenager in her head who couldn’t get out of resentment.”
The writer remembers in particular an evening for the Anemone-Giscard D’Estaing foundation in Versailles where Lady Diana had attracted all eyes. “I was invited, in a close way, to the chapel of the Palace of Versailles. It was very cold, 14 degrees. We had been asked to come with shawls so as not to catch cold. She arrived without a shawl in a dress with a cleavage in the back and tanned. She endured three-quarters of hours in a religious concert with nothing on her shoulders”, explains Irène Frain and to continue: “It was fair, because there were the photographers. C It was delusional how she played with them. It meant, ‘I do what I want with my body, I’m a free woman'”.
A game of cat and mouse with the photographers which will be fatal to him. In the summer of 1997, wishing to avoid photographers, Lady Diana and her lover Dodi Al-Fayed rushed into a car and sped through the Alma bridge tunnel. The Princess of Hearts will die on August 31 at 4:25 a.m.