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Why Diana Wore Her Hair Short When Long Locks Were the Fashion


Princess Diana’s hair — that iconic wispy, feathery cut — is one of the things we most remember about her. While lots of women back then were rocking longer layers, Diana wasn’t afraid to stand out with her cropped ‘do. So, why did Princess Diana have short hair? The truth is proof of the princess’ risk-taking attitude.

The man to talk to when it comes to Princess Diana’s locks is Sam McKnight, the hairstylist who worked with Diana for the cover of Vogue back in 1990. “She came bounding up the stairs in a studio in Hackney, this beautiful long-legged blonde, and immediately made us all feel totally at ease,” McKnight recounted to journalist Keir Simmons. “She had an amazing way of disarming you and kind of getting rid of all the nerves, and laughing and making jokes.”

During the photo shoot, McKnight tucked pieces of Diana’s hair under her tiara so her hair appeared shorter. Diana was so in love with the look that she asked McKnight for his suggestion. What would he recommend if she let him have “free rein” with her hair?

“I would just cut it off really short and start again,” he told her. “She said, ‘Do you want to do it right now?’” And we all know what happened next! A few snips of McKnight’s shears and Diana walked away with a textured pixie cut that was no doubt hair inspiration for many young girls.

“It was the time of power dressing and supermodels, and there was a movement towards shorter, sharper hair,” McKnight said. “There was a movement away from the big shoulder pads and frou-frou styles of the ‘80s.”

From then on, McKnight became Diana’s go-to hairstylist, accompanying her on humanitarian trips to Africa and the Middle East. He even cut Prince William‘s and Prince Harry‘s hair.

Like the rest of us, McKnight still mourns Princess Diana’s death. “She had developed this style of her own that was stripped of all the sort of artifice of the ’80s,” he said of the princess in the years right before she died. “She was just becoming this amazing, confident, modern woman.”

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