The True Story Behind Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed's "The Kiss" Pic

the crown
The True Story of "The Kiss" Pic in 'The Crown'Netflix

The Crown's sixth season delves into the PR "war" between Prince Charles and Princess Diana—specifically Charles' somewhat eye-roll inducing insecurity that Diana's spotlight overshadowed his own.

In the second episode of the season, titled "Two Photographs," we see Charles at Balmoral Castle when photos of "The Kiss" between Diana and Dodi Fayed drop—prompting him to hit back with some staged pics of himself, Prince William, and Prince Harry. But how true to reality was this battle of press pictures? Let's dig into the facts.

The True Story of "The Kiss"

Per a 2008 article in Vanity Fair, "The Kiss" (a paparazzi shot of Diana and Dodi kissing on vacation) was released in the Sunday Mirror on August 10, 1997. And the outlet paid a ton of money to publish this particular invasion of privacy. According to a fact check from The Telegraph, photographer Mario Brenna made £250,000 selling the pictures to The Mirror, not to mention $5 million selling the rights worldwide.

The Crown was pretty faithful in recreating the pics, even making a mock-up a copy of The Mirror for the episode:

the crown

But the show also implies that Dodi's dad tipped off Brenna, which The Telegraph says is less accurate. According to the outlet, "some have said" Brenna happened to be in Sardinia at the time the photos were taken and got lucky, while author Tina Brown speculates that Diana herself tipped him off.

The True Story of That Balmoral Photo-Opp

The Crown depicts Charles' Balmoral photoshoot as a direct response to "The Kiss," and honestly the timing is definitely side-eye inducing considering this shoot took place on August 12, 1997—just two days after The Mirror dropped its issue.

Here is the real photo of Charles, Wills, and Harry:

charles william harry balmoral
Tim Graham - Getty Images

Versus what we saw on The Crown:

the crown
Keith Bernstein/Netflix

Meanwhile, the whole side-plot involving photographer Duncan Muir seems to be fictionalized, as the Telegraph reports these photos were actually taken by a group of press pool photographers. It's also unknown if they were a direct response to "The Kiss."

Anyway, now seems like a good time to mention that last season, The Crown started adding mentions of the show being fiction under its trailers, specifically using the language, "Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatization tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign."

Oh, and speaking of kisses...just gonna leave you with this:

You Might Also Like