Royal blunder: How Charles reacted to Diana’s unfortunate ‘wardrobe malfunction’


PRINCESS DIANA had an unfortunate “wardrobe malfunction” which made national news when she was only known Prince Charles’ girlfriend – but it is Charles’ reaction which was more remarkable, according to an unearthed podcast.

Diana was known as the People’s Princess, due to her compassion, caring nature and humanitarian efforts. She was only 20 when she married Charles, who was 12 years her senior, in 1981. Although she had been born into an aristocratic family and had the official title of Lady Diana Spencer, she was thrust into the limelight when she wed the Prince of Wales, and soon became a global icon. However, she quickly learned how to navigate the extraordinary publicity she received to her benefit, even after she had a complicated and public divorce from Charles.

Yet, she was not always so media-savvy. 

When it first became public knowledge that the shy teenager was dating the Queen’s eldest son and could therefore be a potential future Queen Consort herself, she was suddenly at the centre of the media’s gaze.

As recounted in BBC Radio 5 Live’s 2017 podcast series, ‘Images of Diana’, one of the most well-known photographs of the Princess of Wales at that time showed her holding the hands of two small children with the sun shining through her skirt.

As the show’s host Natasha Kaplinsky said: “The skirt was completely see-through.”

The photographer who took the image, Arthur Edwards, explained to Ms Kaplinsky how Diana and Charles reacted when the image made the front page in several national papers.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles Image GETTY
Princess Diana and Prince Charles Image GETTY

Princess Diana and Prince Charles (Image GETTY)

Diana and Charles at their wedding
Diana and Charles at their wedding (Image GETTY)

Diana and Charles at their wedding (Image GETTY)

Diana reportedly said: “I didn’t want to be known as the girlfriend who didn’t have a petticoat.”

Charles replied: “I didn’t know you had such lovely legs.”

Diana left school at the age of 16, after failing her O-levels twice.

When first becoming romantically involved with Charles, she was working as a nanny for an American family and as a nursery teacher’s assistant at the Young England School, Pimlico.

Photos from the famous photoshoot featuring her 'see-through' skirt
Photos from the famous photoshoot featuring her ‘see-through’ skirt (Image GETTY)

Photos from the famous photoshoot featuring her ‘see-through’ skirt (Image: GETTY)

Mr Edwards said he went to about “six nurseries” in West London to try to find out where she worked.

He knocked on the door of the nursery and asked the staff if Diana would be interested in coming out for a photo.

Reportedly, they said “yes, but she will bring two of the children with her”, and Mr Edwards then took her to a park near to the nursery.

He explained: “As I was photographing her, the sun came out and that’s the gospel truth.

“It wasn’t a set-up, no, never. A couple of other photographers had been trailing her, following her and they joined in with the picture. But I actually asked her, and I put her in that position  and the sun came out. 

Diana and Charles married in 1981
Diana and Charles married in 1981 (Image GETTY)

Diana and Charles married in 1981 (Image: GETTY)

Charles and Diana divorced in 1996
Charles and Diana divorced in 1996 (Image GETTY)

Charles and Diana divorced in 1996 (Image: GETTY)

“I’ve been back to that place so many times, explaining it to the Japanese, the German, the French, everybody who thinks that was a set-up, it wasn’t just halfway the session, the sun came out. And that’s the truth.”

Ms Kaplinsky said: “But you still published the picture.”

Mr Edwards explained how he “absolutely” still published the photo because it was “a great picture”.

Ms Kaplinsky continued: “For any woman, that kind of wardrobe malfunction is absolutely mortifying. But this was Diana.”

Another royal photographer Kent Gavin explained on the podcast how before Diana “came on the scene” there was not a royal reporter specifically to cover the royals. 

Diana, Charles and their two sons Harry and William
Diana, Charles and their two sons Harry and William (Image GETTY)

Diana, Charles and their two sons Harry and William (Image: GETTY)

Her sudden appearance as Charles’ romantic interest revived the Royal Family and turned it into a modern talking point. Mr Gavin said papers subsequently decided to dedicate two correspondents to cover Diana around the clock.

He said: “They got to know us on a first-name basis, and the confidence grew between us. The stories of the paparazzi that I used to discuss with her endlessly – she knew the difference between the good guys and the bad guys.

“Therefore you could get on a good footing with her, as such.”

Diana went on to feature in a well-known Vanity Fair shoot just before her death in 1997, and became a fashion role model across the globe.