Rare Princess Diana photograph goes to auction, mystery man’s name revealed

By Daniel S Levine,

On Friday, a rare photo of Princess Diana, before she became the wife of Prince Charles, surfaced for the first time publicly. The photo, believed to have been take in 1979 or 1980, shows a relaxed teenage Diana reclining with a man behind her. For a short time, the man’s identity was a mystery, but it has now been revealed.

The black-and-white photo will be auctioned off by RR Auction in Amherst, New Hampshire on Jan. 17, reports CNN. It will start at $200 and is described by the company as an “uncommon early 10 x 8 glossy news photo of a young Diana lying in bed.”

The first question on many people’s minds after the photo surfaced was who is that man with her. The Telegraph is reporting that it is Adam Russell, the great-grandson of former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. He was “just a friend” of Diana’s, although royal biographer Andrew Morton said that he was “smitten” with her.

While one mystery may be solved, there are still more. According to British media reports, the photo landed at the Daily Mirror in 1981, just days before her engagement to Prince Charles was made public. However, the paper decided not to publish and someone wrote “not to be published” in black marker on the photo. Why it wasn’t published remains a mystery.

"My guess is that it was a privately taken photograph that the Mirror purchased but, for some reason, did not publish,” Caren Archive’s Eric Caren told The Daily Mail. “I don't know if it was pressure from the royal family or an internal decision.”

Mike Molloy, the editor for the Mirror at the time, told the Guardian that he hadn’t seen the photo, even though everything went through him at the time.

The New York-based Caren Archive now owns the Daily Mirror’s photo archive, which explains how it made it to the U.S.

image: RR Auction/Caren Archive

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