Vanity Fair’s Portraits of Royalty


When one looks at these remarkable portraits, with their conspicuous absence of geriatric jewels and dowdy royal drapery, it is hard to escape the impression that the Princess of Wales’s sale of her fabled raiments at Christie’s on June 25 (the proceeds will go to five charities) represents more than closet-cleaning. She is jettisoning a life that never was. With her attention now focused on a limited number of causes and charities—in January, a khaki-clad Diana traipsed through bleak Angola consoling victims of anti-personnel mines—she scarcely has need for the sort of elaborate costumes she once used to enliven state banquets. Diana seems eager to move on; she keeps her comments about the 79 dresses destined for Christie’s very brief, avoiding nostalgic references that might reveal deeper feelings. In a rare interview, she emphasized the pleasure the gowns had given her, “particularly when representing my country abroad.

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August 20, 2021 | 7:26 pm