The 'Real' Story Behind Princess Diana's Iconic 1992 Taj Mahal Photo

Diana's solo figure paints a picture of loneliness

Photo: Tim Graham/Getty

As Prince William, 33, and wife Kate, 34, prepare for their first official visit to India in the spring, memories of Princess Diana‘s visit almost 24 years ago come to mind.

It was there in 1992 that the late princess posed for one of her most iconic photos.

At first glance, the image of Diana sitting on a bench in front of the Taj Mahal is a lovely one.

The princess, then 30, strikes a stunning pose as she sits sweetly in front of the vast white marble structure dressed in a purple skirt and matching shoes.

But if you look more closely, Diana’s solo figure paints a picture of loneliness.

And it was that very image that set the tone for what was to come. Just months after the photo was taken, Diana and her husband Prince Charles announced their separation.

In 1992, rumors circulated about the state of the royal couple’s marriage. And when their official tour of India rolled around in February – just days before Valentine’s Day – all eyes were on their every move.

The pair was kept busy with conflicting schedule and engagements, but it was expected that the royal couple would visit the beautiful monument together. However, with Charles in meetings, Diana arrived at the Taj Mahal alone.

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There were about 30 to 40 photographers there to capture the moment, and Diana sat on a bench (now affectionately known as Lady Di’s Chair) for a minute or two while they took her picture. She then moved away from the photographers to a spot a little further away where she sat quietly, turning her back to the cameras.

When asked by a reporter about her feelings toward the world-famous mausoleum, she replied, “It was a fascinating experience – very healing.”

When pressed for more, she smiled and simply said, “Work it out for yourself.”

The couple announced their separation in December 1992, but continued to carry out their royal duties. Then, in August 1996, they formally divorced. Just one year later, on August 31,1997, the beloved princess was killed in a car accident in Paris.

There’s no official word on whether William and Kate will visit the Taj Mahal during their maiden tour of the country, but their presence will no doubt evoke memories of Diana’s visit.

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