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The Daily Mirror purchased this photograph two days after the announcement of the Prince of Wales' engagement to the Lady Diana Spencer.
The words "not to be published" are scribbled on the photograph, and the photo was put in the Mirror's archives, until the Mirror sold the archives to a US company. The photo is now up for sale.
It should be obvious why the photograph was not published. Diana was portrayed by her family -- and the media -- as a virgin who never had a boyfriend, untouched, pure as the driven snow. This photograph changes that view. Diana may have been a virgin when she married, but here she is laying on a bed or a sofa resting her head on a young man who is reading. A bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch is on the windowsill. Diana was 18 or 19 when this photograph was taken, so she was legally able to drink.
The Mirror's editors apparently chose not to publish the photo because the publication would have shattered the carefully crafted image that the media were seeking to create for the Prince of Wales's fiancee.
It is an endearing photograph, a holiday snap taken during a 1979 skiing trip to France. But one's imagination could wander a bit, after seeing the bottle of Scotch, and Diana with a young man. Were other and more intimate photographs taken? Did they hug and kiss? Did they get soused? Such things should not matter, even now, because Diana was not engaged when the the photograph was taken. She was with friends, enjoying a holiday.
But in February 1981, the media, the Royal Family and the Spencers, were not going to publish anything that smacked of impropriety .... but then Lady Diana showed up in that revealed black gown .. so we knew she knew how to paaaarty!
A perception of what people wanted to believe about Lady Diana may have been questioned by the publication of this photograph.