How Princess Diana Used a Compact Mirror to Make Sure Photographers Couldn’t Take Pictures of Her and Prince Charles

Britain’s royal family has a complicated relationship with the paparazzi. Princess Diana learned this when she began dating Prince Charles. During a holiday at Balmoral Diana found a clever way to stop the photogs from getting any clear snaps of her or the Prince of Wales.

Lady Diana Spencer (later Princess Diana)
Lady Diana Spencer (later Princess Diana) | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Princess Diana used a compact to block photogs from taking pictures

Photographers were relentless when Diana and Charles got together but the princess developed a tactic to stop them from snapping photos of her and Charles while they were staying in Scotland.

In the documentary Secrets of the Royal Palaces, photographer Ken Lennox spoke about what Diana used to do early on to keep him from snapping pictures of her with the prince.

“Prince Charles would often do a spot of fishing in the River Dee. As I walked from the car to the river I saw that there was a young girl there, blonde, quite close to Prince Charles,” Lennox recalled. “The girl saw me and left Prince Charles and went into some giant trees.”

Lennox continued: “The next thing I saw was a compact mirror coming out from behind a tree. She deliberately did not want to be photographed. She used that mirror as she walked away and when I moved to either side to try and photograph her, she used the mirror to keep a tree between me and her. It was very clever.”

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images

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Royal expert and author Penny Junor added that Diana continued that maneuver so she could see the photographers coming toward her but they could only see the glint of the mirror. The shine of the mirror made it difficult for them to get any shots of her or the future king.

Documentary narrator Glynis Barber explained: “From her very first encounter with the photographers, who would later become a permanent fixture in her life, Princess Diana proved herself savvy.”

Reporter Richard Kay agreed and commented on the trick the princess used as well as how she handled the press from the very beginning. “I think there is a very good argument for saying the way she behaved on that morning on the river bank did display an early sign of her unique savviness when it came to spotting a camera,” he said.

The paparazzi chased the princess to her death

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Jayne Fincher/Getty Images

The paparazzi’s fascination with Diana never let up even after she and the Prince of Wales split.

Over the years, the princess was known to alert the press when she was going to be at certain events or when she wanted to take the spotlight away from Prince Charles after their divorce.

But the paparazzi’s presence wasn’t always welcome including the last night of her life when Diana, her companion Dodi Fayed, and their driver Henri Paul were killed in a car crash as they tried to escape the photogs.

RELATED: How Did Prince Charles React to Princess Diana’s Death?