Diana visited the monument alone in February 1992 because her then-husband, Prince Charles, was busy with work

By Adam Carlson
February 24, 2020 03:54 PM
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Nearly 30 years later and under very different circumstances, President Donald Trump‘s daughter Ivanka Trump posed for photos on Monday outside the Taj Mahal in India, sitting on a bench not far from where Princess Diana herself sat outside the iconic mausoleum in 1992.

The photo of Ivanka, one of the president’s senior aides, was shared on her Instagram while she is on the two-day trip with her father. “The grandeur and beauty of the Taj Mahal is awe inspiring!” she wrote.

President Trump and his team will be in India through Tuesday to meet with the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and focus on trade and defense.

The president and the first lady, Melania Trump, were joined by Ivanka and Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, at the Taj Mahal on Monday afternoon after attending a “Namaste Trump” rally earlier in the day at the world’s largest cricket stadium.

“I am honored to return to India with @POTUS and @FLOTUS to celebrate that the grand friendship between the world’s two largest democracies has never been stronger!” Ivanka, 38, wrote on Instagram this week.

She and Kushner, 39, together have a sweeping portfolio of issues in the Trump administration — she on workforce and family policies; he on the Middle East, criminal justice reform and the 2020 re-election campaign, among other topics — and both have regularly faced criticism that they are unqualified for their roles, which some call nepotistic.

That scrutiny did not abate with the India trip.

Princess Diana (left) in 1992 at the Taj Mahal and Ivanka Trump this week
Anwar Hussein/Getty; Ivanka Trump/Instagram

Alyssa Mastromonaco, a key aide in Barack Obama‘s White House, cracked on Twitter, “why am I paying for their 2nd honeymoon omfg” — referring to a photo of Ivanka and Kushner at the Taj Mahal.

The history of Diana’s own bench photo there three decades ago is much different. It is, in miniature, a story of isolation.

Diana visited the monument alone in February 1992 because her then-husband, Prince Charles, was busy with work. In the most famous image of her there, she sat on a bench now affectionately known as “Lady Di’s Chair.” (That same bench is seen in Ivanka’s photo from this week, just behind where Ivanka is sitting.)

Her marriage was bedeviled by rumors about problems behind the scenes. Since her divorce and death, the photo has been seen by many as a reflection of her life at that crossroads.

“It was a fascinating experience — very healing,” Diana told reporters at the time of the Taj Mahal.

She added only this: “Work it out for yourself.”

Months later, she and Charles split.