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Never-before-seen photo of Princess Diana goes on display

A new portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales
Conservators hang the David Bailey portrait of Diana at Kensington Palace

A previously unseen portrait photo of Princess Diana has just gone on display in London. It was taken in 1988 by celebrated photographer David Bailey.

The UK is celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum jubilee with several months of events. One of these is a photo exhibition at Kensington Palace in London. It includes the image of Diana.

The sitting between the late Princess of Wales and Bailey was commissioned by the country’s National Portrait Gallery. It was shot in profile. A different image from the session ended up being used at the gallery, and Bailey has hung on to this one for his own personal archive.

Princess Diana - ONLY USE for this article
Diana, Princess of Wales (Photo: David Bailey)

Given that Diana was one of the world’s most celebrated photographers, it’s rare to come across an image of this quality that’s not been seen in public before. Diana, who would have been 26 or 27 at the time, personally chose Bailey for the session.

The photo features in the Life Through A Royal Lens exhibition, which includes royal portraits from Queen Victoria to the present day. As well as commissions by professional photographers, the show includes snaps taken by the royals and members of the public.

Related: Prince Harry vows to continue Diana’s HIV work

Diana became a royal in 1981 when she married Prince Charles. The much-loved Princess was admired for her glamor, bringing a more human touch to the previously perceived stuffy royals, and for her charity work.

She was one of the most high-profile faces to speak out in support of those living with HIV and AIDS at around this time this image was taken. She made several visits to AIDS wards, where she was pictured holding the hands of patients.

Related: Everyone is sobbing over that devastating new Diana doc that just premiered at Sundance

Despite her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997, interest in Diana’s life has not diminished. A recent movie, Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart, has picked up several honors in the current awards season and hopes for further success at the Academy Awards.

Life Through A Royal Lens opened March 4 and runs until the end of October.