Skip to main contentSkip to footer

The true story behind Princess Diana's iconic yacht photo

All you need to know about the iconic photo of the late Princess of Wales that went around the globe

Princess Diana in a blue swimsuit sat on a diving board with the sea beneath her
Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
Share this:

Princess Diana was always a fashion icon, we can never forget her legendary 'revenge' dress, but one of her best-known looks was snapped when she holidayed on the Jonikal yacht with the al-Fayed family, scenes which were immortalised in the fifth and sixth seasons of The Crown.

The holiday that Diana enjoyed, alongside sons Prince William and Prince Harry, would be her last before she was tragically killed in a car accident in 1997. One of the most memorable photos saw the late Princess of Wales sat on the yacht's diving board looking out over the sea.

WATCH: The Crown recreates Diana's iconic swimsuit photo in trailer for final series

Even though the photo of Diana in the teal swimsuit is now one of the most poignant photos of the late royal, how much do you know of the story behind it? Read on to find out all you need to know…

Why was Diana on the yacht?

Princess Diana had become friends with the businessman Mohamed al-Fayed, with the pair reportedly meeting a polo match before becoming friends. Following her divorce from the then Prince Charles and the ending of her relationship with heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan, Mohamed invited Diana to join him and his family on a trip to St Tropez, in southern France.

Ahead of the trip, Diana had been in Milan to attend the funeral of fashion designer and friend Gianna Versace, who had been murdered by Andrew Cunanan. The late royal later travelled to Sarajevo, in Bosnia, to highlight the issue of landmines in the country. During her time in the city, she met with people who had been injured by the mines.

The trip would end up being Diana's first time meeting Dodi al-Fayed, and the filmmaker's then-girlfriend, Kelly Fisher, was allegedly on the trip.

Who took the photo?

On 10 August, paparazzi photos were published in the Sunday Mirror showing Princess Diana and Dodi sharing a kiss, which intensified media presence around the couple and their holiday. Paparazzi photographers began renting dinghies to try and get new photos of the royal, with some even going for prices up to £1million.

READ: I followed expert budget beauty tips on how to look like a royal for a week

INSIDE STORY: The time Princess Diana called a journalist to her home after reading an article she didn't like

It's ultimately unknown which photographer grabbed the photo of Diana on the side of the yacht, which was published on 24 August, a week before Diana died. The snap saw the Princess in her teal swimsuit sat at the end of the yacht's diving board, with a life ring floating in the water beneath her.

See below for more images of Diana on the Jonikal…

Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed embracing on the deck of a yacht© Shutterstock

Diana and Dodi

Diana and Dodi grew close on the trip, and in this photo the pair shared an intimate moment as they relaxed in the sun together.

Princess Diana with Mohamed al-Fayed and Dodi al-Fayed on a yacht© Sipa/Shutterstock

Diana with the al-Fayed family

The late Princess of Wales had been invited on the trip by Mohamed al-Fayed, and she enjoyed the businessman's company during her time onboard.

Dodi al-Fayed and Princess Diana on a yacht© Sipa/Shutterstock

Diana in blue

Diana favoured the teal swimsuit during her time in St Tropez.

Princess Diana in a green and blue swimsuit on the deck of a yacht© Sipa/Shutterstock

Diana's paparazzi moment

The royal was aware of the media presence, and she light-heartedly teased photographers in this photo, mimicking a pair of binoculars with her hands.

Princess Diana stretching on the deck of a yacht© Sipa/Shutterstock

Diana stretches

The mum-of-two also brought this stunning green and blue one-piece with her on the trip, and in this photo she enjoyed some morning stretches on the yacht's deck.

Princess Diana on the phone with a young Prince Harry© Sipa/Shutterstock

Diana's family moment

Diana didn't go on the holiday alone, and she also enjoyed time with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry, and a young Harry can be seen here with his mum while she spoke to someone on the phone.

More Royalty

See more