These Rarely Seen Family Pictures Prove Princess Diana Was the Original Royal Child Style Icon

Diana Spencer with pet guinea pig
Camera Press/(Spen/AL)

It’s been 20 years since Princess Diana died, but this summer she seems to be everywhere, with documentaries like HBO’s revelatory Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, by her sons Prince William and Harry, plus more upcoming specials on TLC, ABC, PBS, and the National Geographic channel. The latter is also accompanied by a book, Remembering Diana: A Life in Photographs, which is out on August 1 with a foreword by Diana’s friend and biographer Tina Brown. The personal volume doesn’t just document Diana’s days as “the people’s princess,” but also her time as, say, a guinea pig-obsessed tween. (Her pig Peanuts won her two pet shows, and even went along with her to boarding school.) “She spent most of her free time with the servants below stairs,” Brown writes of Diana’s childhood, which she calls “almost feral in neglect,” and which she claims foreshadowed Diana’s future compassion, like the time she walked through a field of unexploded land mines in Luanda, Angola, to draw attention to the city’s amputees—and did it again when the press complained they didn’t get a good shot. Take a look back at Diana not just in that minefield, but as an animal-obsessed tween—and of course the original fashionable royal child—here.


Diana Spencer with her pet guinea pig during a 1972 pet show in Sandringham. She won first and second prize, both in the “fur and feathers” section, for her pet guinea pig in two different pet shows at Sandringham. She also brought her guinea pig to her first boarding school, Riddlesworth Hall, where she was made head of “Pets’ Corner,” where the students’ pets were housed.


“Diana sits on her suitcases as she prepares to go to boarding school at Riddlesworth Hall in the fall of 1970. Distraught over the separation from her home, she told her father, ‘If you love me, you won’t leave me here.'”


“Always poised, even when jumping off a slide into the family’s pool at Park House, a youthful Diana shows off her fun side. Her red swimming badges can be seen at the bottom of her bathing suit.”


“A photo from a private family album dated 1967–69 shows Diana posing cheekily as a young girl. Obviously a natural in front of the camera, she also had a keen sense of fashion from an early age.”


“At Highgrove, Diana rests with her head in her hands. Charles had asked Diana to Highgrove when they were dating, and she would later undertake an interior renovation of the manor house led by designer Dudley Poplak.”


“Diana’s pet Shetland pony Soufflé moves in to nuzzle her 14-year-old owner. Diana kept the pony at her mother and stepfather’s house on the Isle of Seil, off Scotland’s west coast, which she visited during vacations.”


“Diana attends a gala charity dinner for cancer research at London’s Bridgewater House in November 1995, the same day her explosive BBC Panorama interview aired, in which she discussed her infidelity and bulimia.”


“To promote her message on behalf of the charity HALO Trust, Diana walked through an active minefield in Huambo, Angola, in front of the press.”


“The media surrounding Diana could be relentless. After her separation from Charles in 1992, journalists and editors would regularly visit with Diana, who realized the importance of remaining in the hearts of the public as well as shaping the narrative about her marriage. One adviser cautioned her not to have anything to do with the media, a warning that supposedly shocked her. Here, Diana, who was in France for the second International Night of Childhood, waves to the paparazzi from a car.”


“Here, [Diana] dresses in plaid at the Braemar Highland Games in Scotland, September 1982.”