Princess Diana photo — 'not to be published' — shrouded in mystery
Fifteen years after her death, one would have thought the library of photos picturing Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been exhausted.
Alas, a new one has surfaced (above), this one most intriguing for the mystery that surrounds it.
What we do know is that the 8x10 image was among the photos purchased by the Caren Archive from the Daily Mirror newspaper in London about seven years ago.
The photo will go up for public bidding at RR Auction in New Hampshire this month and is expected to go well above the usual $1,000 for type of celebrity picture.
We also know that the photo was stamped at the newspaper on Feb. 26, 1981, two days after Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announced their engagement (right).
The actual picture was obviously taken much earlier, so it was likely purchased from a freelancer.
Here's what we don't know:
► Why is the photo clearly marked in grease pencil "Not to be published"? Could it be that the paper was gun-shy about publishing a photo of a young Diana cuddled up with another man? One editor from the early 1980s, Mike Molloy, told the Guardian that the reason the picture wasn't published was probably because the Sunday Mirror's editor, Bob Edwards, had been subjected to a lot of heat from the Palace for publishing an earlier story about a secret romantic rendezvous between Charles and Diana on the royal train.
► Who is the guy? The Daily Mail is suggesting it might by Rory Scott, an old Diana boyfriend from her teen years. She would have been about 17 or 18 at the time and speculation is that the setting might be a ski chalet in Switerland. A good time would likely have been had by all, it seems, since there is a bottle of Johnnie Walker not far from the future princess's head.
"This would certainly not be the way the Royal Family would have wanted Diana to be presented at that moment, given that two days before her engagement had been announced," Eric Caren, owner of the Caren Archive, told the Daily Mail. "The fairytale between her and Charles was still intact at that point."
The fairytale didn't last long, with the marriage crumbling into divorce by April 1996. A little more than a year later, in a Paris tunnel, Diana died.
The fascination with her has not.