Princess Diana’s ‘classic’ reaction to topless photo run by UK paper-book

Princess Diana had a unique reaction when offensive photos of her sunbathing topless were published by a UK tabloid in 1996, a new book says.

In an excerpt from his new title The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor—The Truth and the Turmoilpublished online by Vanity FairFormer editor Tina Brown writes that the princess’ reaction the day after the photo’s publication was a “classic, authentic Diana”.

In an account quoted from the autobiography of former UK Condé Nast boss Nicholas Coleridge, Brown describes how Princess Diana attended lunch at the publisher’s head offices in London’s Hanover Square daily Mirror The newspaper published a large picture of him sunbathing in Spain.

In discussing the incident with the press regarding Diana’s “canny” behavior, Brown writes that Coleridge “expected to annul The Princess, but she confirmed her appearance with a request that there be no publicity”. “

Princess Diana told magazine publisher Nicholas Coleridge after her topless photos were published in a British newspaper. Photographed in London on October 8, 1996.
Anwar Hussain / Getty Images

Coleridge in his book bright years, quoted by Brown, describes how “fantastic” looking Diana surprised the publishing boss by bringing up the subject everyone was hoping to avoid. He writes that the princess approached him and engaged in a private conversation:

“She said, ‘Nicholas, can I ask you something? Please tell the truth. Did you see my picture? daily Mirror, The topless one?'”

In response Coleridge writes that he told her, “Um, Your Royal Highness, yes, we get all the newspapers in our office. I think I saw it… Not that it was too obvious.”

“William called me from Eaton. Poor, he’s only 14. He was upset. He said some other boys were teasing him, saying my breasts are too small,” replied Diana. “Nicholas, please be clear, I want to know your actual point of view. Are my breasts too small, do you think?”

A breathless Coleridge then replied, “Er, Your Royal Highness, as much as I can see under your suit, they’re um… perfect for me. I wouldn’t worry.”

The conversation was closed by Diana, who said, “Thanks, Nicolas. I knew you’d tell me the truth. Thanks, I feel better now.”

The entire incident is used by Brown to show how Diana can deceive members of the press and blur the lines between her personal and public life.

Tina Brown Nicholas Coleridge
Princess Diana attended lunch with Nicholas Coleridge, a magazine publisher, on the day her topless photos were printed, Tina Browne revealed in a new biography. Brown (L) photographed in New York on November 10, 2009. Coleridge (R) photographed on April 28, 2016 in London.
Will Ragozino/Getty Images/David M. Bennett/Dave Bennett/Farfetch x Getty Images for BFC

Despite the stipulation that there would be no publicity for the event, members of the paparazzi waited outside the Condé Nast offices for Diana anyway.

Brown writes that when Coleridge called the news desk of a major tabloid to find out how the information in the Princess’s office had leaked, he was told that “‘Diana got out of her car for lunch. Called herself. She often suggested [the paparazzi] About where she would be.'”

“It’s classic, authentic Diana,” writes Brown, “tough, seductive, playing a double game.”

Brown’s book details the many ways in which Diana interacted with the press and how she relied on Prince William as a “stand in and buffer” following her separation and eventual divorce from Prince Charles.

In response, Brown claims that the princess’s two sons have therefore begun to treat their mother differently. She wrote:

“Prince Harry idolized Diana more and underestimated her …

“William understood Diana more but idealized her less. He knew about her volatile love life. He knew the tabloids made his life hell, but he also knew that he colluded with them By his early teens, he was his mother’s most trusted confidant. She would describe him as “my little wise old man.”

2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 36 in Paris’s Pont de l’Alma tunnel.

For more royal news and commentary, check out Greeley Tribune’s The Royal Report podcast:

Leave a Comment