After Diana's first tour of duty in Australia, reporters asked the crowds how she had captured their hearts. She's so beautiful, they breathed. That skin! Those eyes! Ever after, people who met her in person remarked on her radiance. It was as if, they said, she was lit from within. It meant that, in those first years, Diana couldn't help but look pretty in those absurd matching hat-coat-shoes-and-bag outfits in apricot or navy blue, adopted from the royal family for her new, formal, public role.

But it did not take her long to formulate her own style. Pretty became supremely elegant, ineffably glamorous. She took pleasure in showing off her exceptionally beautiful legs in chic little candy-coloured suits. The froth of the earlier evening dresses was replaced by a monochrome column, accentuating her splendid figure. Her simple cocktail dresses were never too tight or too short. She was not interested in fashion for fashion's sake but in what clothes did for her, with the result that she wore Versace, or Lacroix, or Galliano, not the other way round.

There were more classically beautiful women in the world, but there were few as alluring. In the first place, because the sweetness of her nature and her enjoyment of her looks was charmingly apparent. In the second, because she became more attractive in her thirties. The older she got, the more fully she became herself, and that was all woman. She was tanned, fit, sportif. She'd had children. She was a grown up. She looked friendly and capable and fun to be with. Women who did not follow fashion adored her style and wanted to emulate it, and she rarely led them astray. We'll badly miss quite simply the most glamorous woman in the world.

Laura Tennant