Princess Diana Only Cut Her Hair 1/4 Inch at a Time so Fans Wouldn’t Notice

"They don't want to see me coming out the gym; they want to see Princess Diana," the late princess has said.

Hair, Facial expression, Blond, Smile, Hairstyle, Portrait,
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of the late Princess Diana? (opens in new tab) 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.

Tooth, Smile, Blond, Jaw, Mouth,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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

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 AllureHealthFitnessMarie ClaireStyleCaster, 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.