Photo by Tim Graham for Getty
It was more symbolic than anything. During her trip to India with Prince Charles in 1992, Lady Diana is pictured alone at the Taj Mahal. On a bench in front of the greatest monument to love, the Princess of Wales was photographed alone.
The rumours of marital trouble between the couple were not new. Since the birth of their second child, the couple had been distant. In 1987, Diana didn’t go Charles to Balmoral, leading press speculations about a “Royal break.” The following year, Vanity Fair wrote: “She was the love object of everyone in the world except her husband.”
By early 1992, Charles was in a full-fledged affair with his former girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles and Diana knew all about it. When their official tour of India began in February – just days before Valentine’s Day – the world’s press was eagerly watching. One photographer asked royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter if he could get a shot of the couple kissing. Arbiter laughed. “We’re not going to get anything like that.” Charles did attempt, but Diana brushed him off by turning her head, resulting in a very awkward photo of him kissing the side of her neck.
The royal couple kept conflicting schedules, but the press thought they would visit the Taj Mahal together. Instead, Prince Charles remained in meetings and Diana went to the monument alone.
She sat on a bench (now affectionately known as Lady Di’s Chair) for photos. When asked by a reporter about her visit, she replied, “It was a fascinating experience – very healing.” When pressed for more, she smiled and simply said, “Work it out for yourself.” The photograph shifted the public sympathy from the stoic prince to seemingly vulnerable princess.
For the couple, it would get worst in the following months. In May, Andrew Morton published Diana: Her True Story, a tell-all of the collapse of their marriage. (Secretly, Diana had cooperated with Morton, giving him audio recordings). By their November official trip to South Korea, the couple looked so miserable that the press dubbed them “the Glums.” Before the year was out, they would be separated.