Time stood still when the world lost its English rose, Diana, Princess of Wales.
It's difficult to believe that we've reached the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death.
A mother, mentor, fashion icon, humanitarian, philanthropist, and of course, "The People’s Princess."
In her 36 years, Diana was one of the most cherished and photographed women in the world.
What was about Diana that the camera loved? Fashion photographer Mario Testino reminisced about his time capturing Diana and admitted she was a joy to work with.
“I knew from the start that this shoot was different," he said.
"I was amazed by this person who, even though she had everything, would go to feed the homeless and visit sick children and AIDS victims. It was like a fairy tale."
"Who was she really? Why did she do this? She was trying to find love. I wanted the world to see her kindness, her humility; I think she realized that would be her way.”
Over the past two decades, there are so many iconic images that come to mind when we think of Diana. From her wedding day, to introducing the world to Prince William on the steps of St Mary's hospital, and of course the time she danced with John Travolta at the White House.
But to celebrate her life and her legacy — we look back at the incredibly rare photographs that have been hidden... Until now!
Charles and Diana — the romance
The couple were smitten during their first tour together to Australia in 1983. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
That same year, the lovebirds went to Canada. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Despite how everything ended, Princess Diana truly loved Prince Charles.
“The one love of Diana’s life was her husband. She genuinely did love him,” Diana's protection officer Ken Wharfe told Now To Love in an exclusive interview.
Though they had met only a handful of times prior to their 1981 nuptials, the duo were the picture of love in the early years.
Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles leaving St. Paul's Cathedral after their wedding rehearsal on July 27, 1981. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Diana and Charles dressed up in Edwardian fashion for a Klondike evening barbecue, on June 29, 1983 at Ford Edmonton Park in Canada. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
The princess was the picture of happiness. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
On their way to Australia, it was clear the pair were enamored with one another. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
The duo christen the Airbus A320 in France, back in 1987. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Showing off her cheeky side, Diana smashed an imitation bottle made of sugar glass over Charles' head during their visit to the set of the Bond film The Living Daylights at Pinewood Studios in 1986. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
The making of a princess
We can see why Charles fell in love with the royal.
The young Diana Frances Spencer already possessed many of the qualities that would lead her to grow into "The People’s Princess."
Kind, caring, and thoughtful, Diana's sweet spirit shines in these early snaps.
Diana taking a moment during a visit to Cheltenham Police HQ on March 27, 1981. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
That same day, one brave school boy in the form of Nicholas Hardy, kissed her hand. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Littleton Auctions showcased this rare snap of Diana, beaming at the camera during a hunting trip. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Lady Diana Spencer in 1974. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Diana (pictured far right) was her big sister, Lady Jane Spencer's bridesmaid, back in 1978. A few years later she'd be the bride at her royal wedding. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
A month before her wedding, Diana takes a moment at a polo match in Windsor after the Ascot races, June 16, 1981. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Littleton Auctions also shared this stunning photo of the relaxed princess. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Diana was a vision in this tuxedo-inspired outfit during a visit to Florence in 1985. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
"The People's Princess"
It's been two decades since the Princess of Wales tragically died in Paris after a car crash at just 36, but to this day fans treasure her bright spirit.
She famously mused, "Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life — a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are."
Diana had worked with countless charities and organizations including the Royal Marsden and Great Ormond Street hospitals, the National AIDS Trust, Centrepoint youth homelessness charity, and the Leprosy Mission.
It was this charity work that gave her so much joy.
"People think that at the end of the day a man is the only answer. Actually, a fulfilling job is better for me," she once said.
In October 1985, the Princess dropped by the Royal Hampshire Regiment, where she joked with one of the soldiers about his face camouflage. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
His response... To give her a poppy! (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Three years later, Diana tried her hand at being a solider. Suiting up, the princess climbs into a tank... (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
We adore the fact that she wore pink Converse! (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
The perfect mother
In light of everything, one thing was undisputed.
Princess Diana was a hands-on and loving mother.
Prince William was just 15 and his brother, Prince Harry, was only 12 when they lost their mom.
William mused, "She always understood there was a real life outside of palace walls."
While Harry still holds the same feelings he had when he last saw his mother, "She was our mum, she still is our mum, you know, and of course as a son, I would say she is the best mum in the world."
Now 32, he reflected, "Our mother was a total kid, through and though. She was one of the naughtiest parents."
Diana proudly mused, "Family is the most important thing in the world."
Diana with Harry playing on the banks of the River Dee, near Balmoral Castle, back in August 1987. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Diana may have been royal, but she still happily competed in her sons' mothers race for their school sports day in 1991. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Diana's nurturing side has always been there, pictured with toddler Patrick Robinson. She was his nanny in the early 1980s. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Diana always commanded the world's attention.
Two decades on, and the gaping hole she has left is still prominent. She famously hoped that she'd "be a queen in people’s hearts."
One royal fan penned this tribute: "You were a beautiful person inside and out and our country was so very lucky to have you as our princess."
“Thankfully, your two boys are so like you in so many ways. You would be so very proud of the fine young men that they have become. You are still loved and missed as much today as you were 20 years ago.”
It concludes: “You will never be forgotten no matter what. You will forever be our Queen of Hearts."
In 1987, Diana takes a second to enjoy the festivities at the polo. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Off-duty, in 1993 Diana enjoyed a Caribbean getaway off the island of Nevis. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Airport chic! The Princess of Wales gets ready to make her way to New York in June 1997. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Following Diana's passing, her Majesty shared, "She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness." The pair pictured in 1994 at Green Park. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
In 1985 Diana, who loved ballet, took to the stage to perform at dance to "Uptown Girl" with Wayne Sleep at the Royal Opera House. (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
Pictured in 1986, Diana captained her life with this sentiment: "Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves." (Photo Credit: Now to Love)
This post was written by Chloe Lal. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.