princess diana
Photo: Getty

In 1990, Princess Diana met hairstylist Sam McKnight on the set of a photo shoot. Little did she know he’d be responsible for her public image for the rest of her life. “She said, ‘what would you do if I gave you free reign?,’ McKnight told The Telegraph in a new interview. “I said, ‘cut it short’, and she said, could you do it ‘now?'”

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At this point, Diana had been a royal for nine years, spawning a succession of trends, starting with her David and Elizabeth Emanuel wedding dress. Now, McKnight had a chance to move her away from her dowdier “helmet hair” (as The Telegraph‘s Lisa Armstrong describes it) into a fresher, more youthful direction, including a slicked-back look reserved for photo shoots (as seen on the November 1997 cover of BAZAAR).

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princess diana
Patrick Demarchelier for Harper’s BAZAAR

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“She was a bit nervous about the slicked back appearance,” McKnight said. “Like many women, she used to hide behind her hair. But she looked her best when she didn’t do anything to it…She knew that but she also knew that when she did all her appearances the public wanted to see her do the princess-thing.”

From: Harper’s BAZAAR US