Photographer recalls capturing Diana bursting into tears during royal tour: ‘It was the first sign something was wrong’

Sabrina Barr
Princess Diana and Prince Charles in Sydney, Australia on 30 March 1983: John Shelley/Shutterstock

A royal photographer has recalled capturing the late Diana, Princess of Wales bursting into tears while accompanying Prince Charles, Prince of Wales on a royal tour.

On Thursday 23 January, ITV aired the first episode of a four-part programme titled Inside The Crown: Secrets of the Royals.

The first instalment focuses on the battle between love and duty within the royal family, shining a spotlight on members of the establishment who have chosen to act based on their head rather than their heart, and vice versa.

One of the couples closely analysed during the programme is Diana and Prince Charles, who were married for 15 years before their divorce in 1996.

Before the news of their separation was made public, the cracks in their relationship had already began to show to those in close proximity to the royals.

Photographer Ken Lennox was the first person to capture an image of Diana and Prince Charles together, going on to photograph the princess for the remainder of her life.

In March 1983, when the couple’s eldest son Prince William was just under a year old, the couple departed on a royal tour of Australia and New Zealand.

It was during this trip that Lennox first noticed that something was amiss with the pair, when photographing them sitting in a car with the Sydney Opera House in the background.

“I’m about four feet from the princess and I’m trying to get a bit of the opera house in the background and some of the crowd, and Diana burst into tears and wept for a couple of minutes,” Lennox said in the ITV programme, showing the black and white picture to the camera.

“After it was over, I went to see the press officer for the prince and princess at that time, and I said what happened.”

According to Lennox, he was informed by the press officer that the royal couple were experiencing jet lag and were adapting to the heat, a response that he “accepted” at the time.

“Charles I don’t think has noticed [Diana crying] at that stage. If he has, typical of Prince Charles to look the other way,” the photographer stated.

“But it was the first sign of something was wrong, and then we began to see other things happening later on.”

During the hour-long programme, former fashion model India Hicks was also interviewed about Diana and Prince Charles, reminiscing about acting as a bridesmaid to the princess on the day of her wedding.

Bridesmaid India Hicks helps to unfold Princess Diana’s bridal train on the day of her wedding to Prince Charles (Rex Features)

At 13 years old, Hicks – who is Prince Charles’ goddaughter and in distant succession to the throne – was one of five bridesmaids.

Hicks described how the “world’s press” would descend upon the London studio of fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel when Diana and her bridesmaids went to dress fittings.

“When we were actually inside the Emanuel studio, I remember they had blocked out a lot of the windows because of course cameras had camped out on neighbouring buildings with long lenses to spy and to see what the world’s greatest fashion secret was going to look like,” the 52-year-old said.

“There was a feeling of fun around it all.”

Hicks explained that she and the bridesmaids “got pretty close” to Diana at the time, perceiving the 19-year-old as a sort of “head girl” figure.

Diana’s silk taffeta wedding dress, Hicks said, was “very princessy and very fairytale-ish”, although with all the preparations that took place, there was one obstacle that was not considered prior to the nuptials.

“Of course what no one had tested or anticipated was cramming that amount of fabric into a very small carriage,” Hicks said.

The former bridesmaid recollected that when the carriage door opened outside St Paul's Cathedral, it was a “horror story” as the train of the dress began to unfold itself, resulting in “25-feet of crumpled mess.”

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