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This Treasure Trove of Rare Diana Photos Reminds Us Why She’s Queen in Our Hearts

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Time stood still when the world lost its English rose, Diana, Princess of Wales. It’s difficult to believe that it’s been more than 20 years since Princess Diana’s death.

The beloved late royal was a mother, mentor, fashion icon, humanitarian, philanthropist, and “The People’s Princess.” In her 36 years, Diana was one of the most cherished and photographed women in the world.

What was it 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.”

He continued: “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, we’ve seen so many iconic images that come to mind when we think of Diana: from her wedding day to the introduction of 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 legacy, we decided to look back at incredibly rare photographs that reveal so much about the astounding person she was.

Charles and Diana — The Romance

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

The two were smitten during their first tour together to Australia in 1983.

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That same year, the lovebirds went to Canada.

Despite how everything ended, Princess Diana truly loved Prince Charles.

“The one love of Diana’s life was her husband,” Diana’s protection officer Ken Wharfe told Now to Love in an exclusive interview. “She genuinely did love him.”

Though they had met only a handful of times prior to their 1981 nuptials, the two were the picture of love in the early years.

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Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles leaving St. Paul’s Cathedral after their wedding rehearsal on July 27, 1981.

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Diana and Charles dressed up in Edwardian fashion for a Klondike evening barbecue at Ford Edmonton Park in Canada on June 29, 1983.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

The princess was the picture of happiness.

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On their way to Australia, it was clear the pair were enamored with one another.

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The duo christened the Airbus A320 in France in 1987.

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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.

The Making of a Princess

We can see why Charles fell in love with her. 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.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

Diana took a moment to just be herself during a visit to Cheltenham Police HQ on March 27, 1981.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

That same day, one brave school boy kissed her hand.

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Littleton Auctions showcased this rare snap of Diana, beaming at the camera during a hunting trip.

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Lady Diana Spencer in 1974.

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Diana (pictured far right) was a bridesmaid for her older sister, Lady Jane Spencer, back in 1978. A few years later, she’d be the bride at her royal wedding.

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A month before her wedding, Diana took a moment of contemplation at a polo match in Windsor after the Ascot races on June 16, 1981.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

Littleton Auctions also shared this stunning photo of the relaxed princess.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

Diana was a vision in this tuxedo-inspired outfit during a visit to Florence in 1985.

“The People’s Princess”

It’s been more than two decades since the Princess of Wales tragically died in Paris after a car crash at age 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 her 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.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

In October 1985, the princess dropped by the Royal Hampshire Regiment, where she joked with one of the soldiers about his face camouflage.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

In response, he gave her a poppy!

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Three years later, Diana tried her hand at being a solider. Suiting up, the princess climbed into a tank.

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We adore the fact that she wore pink Converse shoes!

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.”

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.”

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

Diana with Harry playing on the banks of the River Dee near Balmoral Castle back in August 1987.

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(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.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

Diana’s nurturing side has always been there, as evidenced by this picture with toddler Patrick Robinson. She was his nanny in the early 1980s.

England’s Rose

Diana always commanded the world’s attention. 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.”

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

In 1987, Diana took a second to enjoy the festivities at the polo.

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Off-duty, Diana enjoyed a Caribbean getaway off the island of Nevis in 1993.

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Airport chic! The Princess of Wales got ready to make her way to New York in June 1997.

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(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

Following Diana’s passing, Queen Elizabeth 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 is pictured at Green Park, back in 1994.

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(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.

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(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.”

This post was written by Chloe Lal. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.

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