What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of the late Princess Diana? I’m betting some combination of her flushed cheeks, belted dresses, and, of course, her iconic flipped-out pixie cut. But apparently, fans were so obsessed with Princess Diana’s hair, it had to be imperceptibly trimmed every few weeks in secret.
In a new rare interview with Princess Diana’s personal hairstylist, Richard Dalton detailed the frenzy that came with the late royal’s hair. “Whatever I did to her hair became front-page news,” said Dalton to Town & Country.
So when the princess once wanted to chop off her shoulder-length cut into a shorter, simpler style before she traveled to Africa—but was worried her haircut would take over the news—Dalton decided to do the tiniest of haircuts every few weeks. “We had to be very careful,” said Dalton. “We had to do it one-fourth of an inch at a time over several weeks.”
The final result was a textured pixie that got gradually shorter in the public eye, without arousing suspicion. Brilliant (and time-consuming), right? Of course, Princess Diana has been known to have been quite serious about her hair, even bringing her other longtime hairstylist Sam McKnight with her on international trips to help maintain her look.
“She knew that power she had,” said McKnight in an interview with Today, adding that the princess once told him, “‘I'm going to these places where there are lots of people who are expecting Princess Diana, and I don't want to let them down. They don't want to see me coming out the gym. They want to see Princess Diana.’”
Secret haircuts, feeling the need to look iconic at all times, and being scrutinized by the entire world are just a few of the, uh, perks, that come with being a princess, but clearly Princess Diana knew how to handle living in the public eye. But just think about all this next time you dream of being Meghan Markle, K?
Princess Diana's Most Iconic Fashion Moments
May 22, 1997
Princess Diana visited The Shaukat Memorial Hospital in Pakistan. She wore a traditional blue ensemble and carried a handbag from Tod's, which is named after her.
January 13, 1997
For a visit to the Luanda airport, Princess Di wore Superga sneakers.
January 1, 1997
Princess Diana spotted in NYC wore a foam green skirt suit and carried a white Chanel bag.
September 12, 1996
Princess Diana stunned in a white Versace mini dress while attending a concert in Italy.
Princess Diana wore a John Galliano slip dress to the Met Gala.
June 29, 1994
Princess Diana arrived at the Serpentine Gallery in London. She opted for an off-the-shoulder dress by Christina Stambolian. (You can shop a similar one here.)
Princess Diana and Prince William attended the christening of her niece in Sandringham in a houndstooth ensemble and Chanel slingbacks.
May 1, 1990
Princess Diana donned a Catherine Walker suit with a Philip Somerville hat to visit Heroes' Square in Budapest.
April 11, 1990
The royal enjoyed a beach holiday in Necker with her sons. She chose an animal print one-piece swimsuit and wore a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses.
Princess Diana attended the performance of Swan Lake in London. She wore a Catherine Walker gown.
Princess Diana and Prince Harry were spotted leaving nursery school. Lady Di wore a pink buttoned dress and accessorized with a Cartier watch.
March 17, 1989
Princess Diana visited Dubai during her official tour of the Gulf States. Lady Di wore Catherine Walker ensemble and a Philip Somerville hat.
March 15, 1989
The princess wore a pink and red color block Catherine Walker dress and a Philip Somerville hat during her official tour of the Gulf States.
November 9, 1988
Princess Diana wore Catherine Walker white ensemble in Chambord, France during her official visit to the country.
June 23, 1988
Princess Diana visited the Royal Hampshire Regiment. She was seen wearing a jumpsuit and a pair of pink Converse sneakers.
July 18, 1986
Princess Diana, seen on the steps of her home in Highgrove, Gloucestershire. She wore gingham trousers, pink sweater, and white boat shoes (shop similar).
November 3, 1985
The royal attended a polo match in Australia. She choose a striped shirt dress and accessorized with a D initial necklace and a Patek Philippe gold watch.
Princess Diana visited Raf Wittering. She opted for a Catherine Walker coat dress.
Princess Diana wore green Barbour coat during a tour of the Western Isles.
June 30, 1985
Princess Diana attended a polo match while wearing a white sailor top, floral skirt, and a Patek Philippe watch.
May 4, 1985
Princess Diana wore a Bruce Oldfield dress during a visit to Venice. (Shop a similar blue strong shoulder dress.)
April 1, 1985
Princess Diana visited Livorno while wearing a Jasper Conran suit ensemble and tie.
The royal wore a beige Caroline Charles coat during a visit to Derby.
July 29, 1983
Princess Diana attended a polo match in West Sussex while wearing seersucker trousers, a white top, and acetate aviator sunglasses (shop similar).
July 24, 1983
Princess Diana attended a polo match in Windsor. She was seen wearing a polka dot dress (shop similar), a coin necklace, and two watches. She was known for wearing two watches during matches to bring Prince Charles luck.
Princess Diana opted for a Muir & Osborne black sheep sweater for a polo match.
During an official tour to Australia, Princess Diana wore a pink polka dot dress by Donald Campbell (shop similar) and a matching hat by John Boyd.
Princess Diana wore a green spotted dress and a Patek Philippe watch for a visit to Auckland, New Zealand.
May 6, 1981
The royal couple were photographed together at the Balmoral Estate in Scotland. Lady Di wore a colorful alpaca sweater, corduroy trousers, and Hunter rain boots.
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Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the editorial content and growth strategy of the hair, makeup, and skin space on digital, while also obsessively writing about the best hair products for every hair type (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare routines that really, truly work (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life). She brings nearly a decade of writing and editing expertise, and her work has appeared in Allure, Health, Fitness, Marie Claire, StyleCaster, and Parents. She also has an unhealthy adoration for Tom Hanks and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.
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