Iconic Photos of Princess Diana from Tim Rooke
Tim Rooke / Shutterstock
When we remember Princess Diana, we immediately think of the iconic photographs that helped shape the legacy she left. The man responsible for many of these photographs is Tim Rooke, Royal Photographer for Rex by Shutterstock. As we commemorate what would be the Princess of Wales’ 60th birthday, Rooke chats with City Country to share her favorite photographs and best memories of the late Princess Diana.
As a Royal Photographer, Tim Rooke is tasked with capturing intimate moments of the Royal Family at public events. And since the 1990s, he has watched the monarchy grow and change from behind its focus. When Prince William and Kate Middleton left their marriage at Westminster Abbey in 2011, Rooke was there to capture him. Likewise, Rooke was stationed outside St. Mary’s Hospital when Prince George was born in 2013 and was standing in Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in 2017.
But when Tim Rooke entered the royal world in the 1990s, it was Princess Diana who was the beloved gem of the British monarchy. Here, Tim Rooke shares his photographs with CGV and reveals what it was really like to capture the People’s Princess.
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During his first photograph of the princess:
Tim Rooke: “I first photographed Princess Diana at the age of 16 before I even became a professional photographer. I slept on the sidewalk outside Westminster Abbey the night before her wedding to Prince Charles so I was in the perfect spot to capture it with my camera the next day. At the time, she was the most famous person in the world and since social media didn’t exist yet, I really felt like I was capturing and documenting a major moment in history. The buzz around the event was incredible. Royal weddings are one of my favorite occasions to photograph because there is always so much excitement.
In her most iconic photo of Diana:
“Probably the most published photo I have ever taken of Princess Diana is one that I didn’t realize I had taken until another photographer pointed it out to me!” In August 1997, I took a picture of the Princess and Paul Burrell. Normally we try to avoid taking pictures of royals with their staff, and I know that day I would have been happier with just Princess Diana in the picture. While there are a few photos of the two of them together, there must be something about this one, as it was used a lot before and after his trial in 2002.
On the capture of the real Diana:
“Princess Diana was an incredibly warm person and always a pleasure to photograph. I always loved it when I captured her in her true light: smiling, helping people or dressed in an amazing outfit. However, the photos where she was always the most natural were on tour. “
On her favorite picture of the princess:
“There is a photo I took of her in July 1996 as she arrived at the Dorchester Hotel in a traditional Shalwar Kameez for a charitable fundraiser for the Shaukat Memorial Hospital of Imran Khan in Pakistan. . It’s a gorgeous photo and she’s looking straight at the camera. Taking a photo of her like this has always been what I aimed for when attending an event.
On tour with the royal family:
“One of the best parts of my job is being able to travel the world. I know I am very lucky, I have even had the opportunity to fly the royal jet on some occasions. In addition to being able to explore new and remote places, I particularly enjoy the tours as there is less media present and therefore, I have better access to the Royal Family. Members of the royal family often appear more relaxed on tour, leading to better and more natural photos. Something that I always hope for as a photographer is to capture the royals in the most authentic and representative way. “
Her favorite royal tour with Princess Diana:
“The tour in Bosnia where I had the chance to accompany Princess Diana in August 1997 is an exceptional trip for me. She has really used her position to shed light and draw the world’s attention to landmines as part of her campaign to try to eradicate them. I took pictures of her as she walked through a minefield in Huambo, Angola. It was only a few months after his death that the United Nations Mine Ban Treaty was enacted. To date, 164 countries have become parties to the Ottawa Treaty. What was incredibly special about this trip was that 22 years later I got to see Prince Harry again as he traced his mother’s footsteps, continuing her legacy and the work she started .
On what it was like to photograph Princess Diana:
“Princess Diana was the first royal to know how to use the camera. She always knew where the camera was. What the Princess of Wales used to do was always turn around and look before entering. a building. ”She had just glanced at the photographers at the last second and it still produced the most striking photos.
On Princess Diana’s impact on culture:
“It is still difficult to understand how famous Princess Diana was and still is. There has always been this incredible fascination with the princess around the world, and certainly not just around what she chose to wear. I’m not surprised that she left such an impact on the culture. I think that’s what she would have wanted. She devoted much of her time and fame to supporting the communities, countries and charities that needed it most. It is encouraging to see that so many initiatives that she started have been brought to fruition thanks to her legacy.
Photographing her on her last birthday:
“I took a photo of her on her 36th birthday, which was sadly her last. She was at a reception at the Tate Gallery in London. Just before entering she turned and smiled, and it made an absolutely stunning picture.
On Diana’s legacy:
“The legacy she left of such a short life says a lot about who she was. It’s hard to understand the impact she would have and still have on the world if she was still with us today. Her compassion led her to commit to raising awareness for so many important causes. It’s hard not to think back to when in 1987 she opened the UK’s first HIV / AIDS clinic and in front of the media around the world she shook hands with an AIDS patient without gloves. At the time, it really had an impact on eradicating the stigma. His work has inspired many people, including his sons who will honor him on his birthday by unveiling a statue in memory of their mother. His legacy truly lives on through the work of his sons.
On the current generation of royals:
“The younger generation of royals like to have more control over how they are presented in media and social media allows them to do that. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge always welcome photographers at official events so it doesn’t affect the photos I take, but it’s great to see the Duchess of Cambridge also sharing private family images! The photos give a personal glimpse into their life.
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