My Best Shot
11 February 1992 Agra, India Nikon F4
The Sun’s Royal photographer, Arthur Edwards, shares his favourite shot
“I don’t really have a favourite shot,” says The Sun’s Arthur Edwards. “I have so many lovely photos that it’s impossible to single out just one. The picture I’m best known for is the one from September 1980 of Diana in the kindergarten with the see-through dress. She would have been 53 this year; she was 19 then. I remember it like it was yesterday. Every time I go past that place I still think of that day.” While the picture that introduced the future Princess of Wales may be Arthur’s best-known photograph, it is another photograph when her marriage with Prince Charles was deteriorating, that he prefers to single out for N-Photo.
“A picture that really makes me smile is of the princess at the Red Fort in Agra in India. The main picture of the day was of her sitting in front of the Taj Mahal. She was alone that day because Prince Charles was elsewhere and there was a lot of talk about their marriage being in trouble. So all the photographers started setting up early at the Taj Mahal and waited there.” Instead of joining his fellow snappers, Arthur decided to go to the Red Fort, which Diana was visiting first. “It turned out I was the only photographer going to the Red Fort, which was good because it was an exclusive and it gave me time to think about the photograph. You don’t often get a chance to do that!”
The Red Fort stands above the banks of the Yamuna River, with views of the Taj Mahal beyond. “You could see the Taj Mahal about a mile away so I wanted that in the background,” he recalls. “It was just us, and the princess said: ‘Where do you want me, Arthur?’ I said, ‘Just there, by the parapets.’ She folds her arms and gives me this wonderful smile. To me, it was a terrific moment.” Arthur used a Nikon F4 and 80-200mm zoom at full length. He stopped the lens down to f/22 to keep the Taj Mahal recognisable. It was to be their next stop.
“When she left the Red Fort I jumped into the convoy of cars with her to go to the Taj Mahal, so I got the picture of her at the Taj like everyone else.”
Although the pictures of Princess Diana sitting alone in front of the Taj Mahal were circulated worldwide, Arthur remains unimpressed: “When I see the Taj Mahal picture I think it’s a boring picture. She looks pensive, she’s sitting on a bench on her own with the Taj Mahal behind her. I had the Prince of Wales there in the same spot in 1980 and I thought that was a really boring picture too!”
That photograph and Arthur’s exclusive of the princess at the Red Fort were both used by The Sun. Later that year, the Prince and Princess of Wales announced their separation. They divorced in 1996. Diana died the following year.