Uproar as Princess Di resurrected for cover story

Afp
Wednesday 29 June 2011 00:00
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A Newsweek cover photo marking Princess Diana's 50th birthday, reimagines her still-elegant but with crow's feet and an aging neckline, sparking a media uproar and outrage among her devoted fans.

Almost 14 years after her tragic death aged just 36 in a Paris car crash, Diana remains the best beloved British royal, forever fresh, youthful and vibrant in the memory of millions around the world.

But the Newsweek cover photo on stands this week imagines a noticeably older Diana strolling alongside Kate Middleton - the daughter-in-law she never met, who is now known as Princess Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

The computer-generated image is edited from a photo of Princess Catherine arriving at a wedding earlier this month with her younger sister Pippa.

She is wearing a cream-colored dress with brown piping from US designer Michael Kors, a matching brown Jimmy Choo purse slung over her shoulder.

Her perfectly coiffed frosted hair sports a beige hat at a jaunty angle, while a Bulgari bracelet and watch and earrings and ring by Van Cleef & Arpels complete the picture.

US media was almost unanimous in giving the retouched image a thumbs down, with several describing it as downright "creepy."

The Atlantic Monthly referred to the image as "Princess Diana's ghost." Some critics questioned its journalistic value, others, its tastefulness.

The Los Angeles Times, in the headline of its article on the Newsweek story, pondered whether it was "shocking, brilliant, or just plain cheap?"

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Newsweek's editor Tina Brown - a friend of Diana who also penned a tell-all biography about the late princess - wrote inside the magazine that she saw the issue as a sort of tribute.

"Diana would have been 50 this month," she writes. "What would she have been like?"

Brown then seeks to answer her own question, saying the former Diana Spencer likely "would have gone the J. Crew and Galliano route a la Michelle Obama, always knowing how to mix the casual with the glam."

"There is no doubt she would have kept her chin taut with strategic Botox shots and her bare arms buff from the gym," said Brown, predicting her late friend would have made at least two more trips down the wedding aisle herself, probably "on both sides of the Atlantic."

"Her romantic taste would have moved to men of power over boys of play," Brown wrote about her friend, who was dating Egyptian Dodi Fayed when they were both killed in the 1997 Paris car crash, hounded by the paparazzi.

Brown imagined New York as Diana's ultimate home and said she would have made peace with "her reviled first husband" Prince Charles, who would have become "her best male friend."

Diana's eldest son Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne after Prince Charles, married Kate Middleton in April as millions around the world looked on, still captivated in part by the late princess's legacy.

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