Princess Diana's Most Memorable Haircut Was a Last Minute Decision

Princess Diana's Most Memorable Haircut Was a Last Minute Decision

04/06/2021

Princess Diana's short hairstyle is one of her most memorable features, and according to hairstylist Sam McKnight — who worked with Diana from 1990 until her death in 1997 — the signature style happened simply because she trusted him to chop it all off.

In a video for British Vogue, McKnight reminisced about his time with the Princess of Wales and how much their friendship meant to him. 

Of course, it's not surprising to learn that McKnight described Diana as personable, warm, delightful, and all-around amazing.

"The first time I met the Princess of Wales was on a shoot," he started. "This leggy blonde comes bouncing up the stairs, smiled and made us all melt, and it was Princess Diana."

In that first shoot, which was a series of portraits that would eventually be published in British Vogue, he finessed her hair to make it look shorter. It was an illusion, he said, but both he and Diana liked the look.

"I made it look short under the tiara — I faked it a bit," he said.

And while that updo wasn't actually short, McKnight said that Diana was open to doing it for real. She actually asked him what he'd do if he had free reign and he explained to her that she should go short.

"I said, 'I would cut it all off and just start again,'" he added. "It was the beginning of the '90s and it was at the time that I was doing lots of shows and covers and a lot of the girls had short hair, and we were moving from the big frou-frou '80s into the sharp, more androgynous, business chic of the '90s."

After he said that, she didn't hesitate, telling him to go for it.

"'Well, why don't you just cut it off now?'" Diana said, according to McKnight. "So, I cut it off then and we never looked back."

McKnight also spoke about working with The Crown's Emma Corrin, who plays Diana on the Netflix series and who recently nabbed her own British Vogue cover.

"From one Princess Diana to another," he said. "I remember that day. That was my first job after the first lockdown in summer [2020] and I remember when the job came in I wasn't quite sure that I was the right person to do this … And actually it was a pleasure and Emma was a pleasure, and I was quite taken by how alike Emma was to Princess Diana in her looks. And she was such a lovely girl that any doubts and fears were laid, and I think it's a great cover."

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