Saturday, 16 April 2016

Diana at the Taj Mahal

The royal visit to India and Bhutan has focused quite a bit on the Duchess of Cambridge but as it comes to an end, many eyes will turn to William. On the final day, the royal couple are heading to the Taj Mahal and while the Duke of Cambridge has said that this tour is about making new memories, the last place on his itinerary is forever associated with his past.

Diana, Princess of Wales

The famous images of Diana at the monument of love in 1992 are so well known that people go to the bench she sat on because of her. The photos are iconic, a part of her story that is told as much as many others.

Diana, Princess of Wales visited the Taj Mahal on February 11th 1992. The timing, just three days before Valentine's Day, and the setting provided an unspoken realisation of something many knew was going on. The marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales was in crisis and Diana, alone, at the monument of love was another hint that all was not well.

Of course, the photos are in themselves rather lovely. Diana had picked well with her outfit - bright colours that stood out against the white backdrop of the Taj Mahal and that couldn't be lost against the scenery.

As she wandered by herself in front of the building commissioned as a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, the favourite wife of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, she looked like any visitor awed by the beauty of this white marble wonder. But when she sat down on that bench, alone, she wrote a chapter in royal history.

The sadness in these photos still lingers. Perhaps one of the most poignant images was the one of the princess staring up at the building, alone, lost in thought.

Today will be hard for William as the world watches him remember his mother. But by visiting with his wife he will be able to make new memories and add another chapter to the story of Diana and the Taj Mahal.

Photo credit: (photo By Gegodeju (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

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