By Elizabeth C.
SURELY THE IRONY IS LOST ON NO ONE: Just four months after topless photos of Princess Kate lit the Internet afire, a snapshot capturing a teenaged Diana in an intimate pose is being sold three decades being deemed too scandalous for publication.
The black-and-white still shows Diana, then 18 or 19 years old, curled up on a bed as a young male friend reads from a book resting on her shoulder. Nearby, a full bottle of Johnnie Walker sits on a windowsill. Written in wax crayon is the warning: “Not To Be Published,” an edict to editors at the British newspaper that purchased the shot two days after the Windsors announced Diana’s engagement to Prince Charles.
The photo of the fetching Diana in cozy contact with considered unpublishable in 1981, and is being characterized as a “salacious moment” in Diana’s life.
“This would certainly not be the way the Royal Family would have wanted Diana to be presented at that moment,” said Eric Caren of Caren Archive, which currently owns the still. “Given that two days before her engagement had been announced.” The auction for the 8 x 10 glossy is being handled by RR Auction, and close Jan. 24.
Journalist Andrew Morton says the young man in the photo is Adam Russell, “the great-grandson of former prime minister Stanley Baldwin, and now a deer farmer on Dorset,” NBC’s Today reports.
Morton, who wrote a biography of Princess Diana, says the future princess and Russell befriended one another on a ski trip to Switzerland during which injuries kept them off the slopes. “They kept each other company while the others went skiing and, at the end of the holiday, Adam was somewhat smitten,” Morton told the Guardian. “But absolutely nothing happened.” Morton claims Russell had intended to pursue a relationship with Diana after he returned home from a year of travel abroad, only to learn that “it was too late.”
It’s here that wonder demands we ask: what might have been had Russell made it back in time?