Princess Diana and her barefoot boys: Lord Snowdon portrait revealed for the first time. . . on Antiques Roadshow
Millions of viewers received a tantalising glimpse of a previously unseen photograph of Princess Diana and her sons last night - when it made a surprise appearance on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.
The picture was produced unexpectedly by an aide to society photographer Lord Snowdon, the former husband of Princess Margaret.
It shows Diana posing formally but with a radiant smile, while a young William and Harry kneel barefoot beside her.
Never seen before: The picture was taken by society photographer Lord Snowdon, and shows Princess Diana posing with her two young sons
In contrast to their mother's expression, the two princes look rather glum - and it appears they had their reasons.
The young royals had apparently become bored with their mother's studio photoshoot and had wandered off for a bite to eat at the end of the sitting.
When they returned, curious to see what was going on, they were unwillingly hauled before the camera again.
The resulting image was described by Antiques Roadshow expert Clive Farahar as 'just tremendous' and 'absolutely stunning'.
Mr Farahar said: 'It really is fantastic. It's an odd one, because the boys are dressed in sort of country casuals and don't have any shoes on, and their nanny has not given them any socks as far as I can see.
'But the Princess of Wales is dressed up to kill!'
Lord Snowdon's personal assistant, who gave her name only as Evelyn, explained:
Also unveiled: A black and white photograph of Princess Diana with baby Harry, taken at the end of the prince's Christening, and a picnic scene featuring Prince Charles, Diana, and their sons
'This was at the end of the sitting. The boys were still dressed. They had gone off to have their supper and Mummy was carrying on with the photographic sitting, and the boys literally rushed in to see what she was doing.'
The Antiques expert surmised: 'So Mum went out of something casual, slipped into something formal and got the boys in.
'I love the story behind that. It shows how unstuffy she was.'
Asked whether the photograph had ever been seen before, Evelyn answered: 'No, it's never been released.
Mixed reviews: Antiques expert Clive Farahar praised the black and white picture as 'really rather special', but dismissed the picnic scene as 'terribly posed'.
'I saw them when we were going through them. So I said, "Is it possible I could have a copy?" and he actually said, "Yes".'
The former PA said she did not believe the Royal Archives have a copy of the picture.
Also on show last night was a black and white shot of Princess Diana with baby Harry taken at the end of the prince's Christening.
Clive Farahar said of the picture: 'It is so spontaneous. The Princess of Wales looks like a 1930s film star.'
The expert was less impressed with a photograph of a formal picnic scene featuring Charles, Diana and the boys, describing it as 'terribly posed'.
He valued the signed picnic scene at £200 to £300, the christening picture at £500 to £800 and the hitherto unseen photo of Diana and the barefoot boys at £400 to £500.
Lord Snowdon's aide produced the cache of photographs when Antiques Roadshow visited Wimbledon in London.
The shots appeared as part of a wider collection which also featured photographs Lord Snowdon had taken of Evelyn herself.
She told Clive Faraher she had been Snowdon's PA 'on and off for 20 years' and that he had signed several of the personal prints with both 'Snowdon' and 'Evelyn.'
Evelyn said her father, a solicitor, had also worked with Lord Snowdon - and that he had taken the photographs of her to thank her father for handling his divorces without charge.
Lord Snowdon, now aged 82, was divorced from Princess Margaret in 1978 and from Lucy Lyndsay-Hogg in 2000.
His former aide said her employer 'became a very good friend - and he's Godfather to my daughter now'.
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