The Palace issued the complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority on behalf of the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Airlie, after seeing the composite photograph to promote the satirical magazine, Insider.
The move may surprise those who thought the Princess was no longer part of the Royal Family, but a Palace spokesman said the fact that the Prince and Prin-cess of Wales were divorced made no difference.
"It is against the Lord Chamberlain's rules and guidelines, which are applicable to all advertisers, to use images of the Royal Family without permission for commercial purposes," he said.
"The Princess of Wales remains a member of the Royal Family, as the announcement of the divorce arrangements made clear, as the former wife of the heir to the throne and the mother of the Princes."
The advertisement appeared in London's Evening Standard on December 17. It showed the Princess, now holidaying in the Caribbean, wearing a black leather top and carrying a whip. Headlined "Royal gift shock", a speech bubble from Diana's mouth said: "I thought I said M & S".
Insider was started by John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, the magazine to help the homeless, Tony Elliott, founder of listings magazine, Time Out, and journalist Tim Satchell, who is both editor and publisher.
Mr Satchell said: "It is a beautiful, witty photograph of a beautiful, witty woman. We have not yet had the full text of the complaint, but there was no intention to mislead.
"We are a magazine of wit and the Princess is well-known for her sense of humour."
The Princess's office is understood to have been informed about the matter before she left for the Caribbean.Reuse content