Princess Diana Appears in Never-Before-Seen Portrait on Display at Kensington Palace

The portrait is now on display at a new exhibition

Life Through a Royal Lens exhibition
Yui Mok - PA Images

Princess Diana's legacy continues to live on.

A never-before-seen portrait of the late Princess Of Wales is now on display at a new exhibition, titled "Life Through a Royal Lens," at London's Kensington Palace.

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The simple yet elegant, black-and-white image--revealed to the public on March 4--shows a then roughly 27-year-old Diana staring stoically into the distance, wearing a satin off-the-shoulder gown and a pair of teardrop earrings.

The portrait was taken in 1988 by David Bailey who famously photographed a number of pop cultural icons including Andy Warhol, Twiggy and The Beatles.

The fashion photographer was reportedly hand selected by Diana--who passed away in 1997--for his high-contrast lighting and minimalist style.

According to a news release from Historic Royal Palaces, Diana's decision to work with Bailey "reflected her desire to establish a new photographic identity for herself," a stark contrast from the more established forms of royal portraitures of the past.

Princess Diana's Most Iconic Fashion Statements Through the Years

The image--which was originally commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery but remained in the photographer's archive until now--drew swift comparisons to Kate Middleton, who had three new portraits released by Kensington Palace in January in honor of her 40th birthday.

In one standout portrait, Middleton--who shares three children with Diana's oldest son Prince William--sports a white ruffled dress by Alexander McQueen and diamond and pearl drop earrings that once belonged to her late mother-in-law.

The photos were taken by Paolo Rovers at Kew Gardens in London last November and will enter the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, of which Kate is Patron.

Middleton previously touched on the awesome responsibility of following in the footsteps of a huge iconic figure such as Diana. Shortly after her engagement to Prince William in 2010, she told journalist Tom Bradby, "Obviously I would have loved to have met her and she's obviously an inspirational woman to look up to."

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