Photo: Courtesy of Vanity Fair.
The September issues are coming, and Vanity Fair's is already causing a stir — in its full glossy glory, the late Princess Diana stares at you, bright-eyed. The cover story promises to reveal "The mystery man who stole the Princess's heart," claiming he was "Diana's true love."
Photographically, the Mario Testino image is stunning — it was near impossible for the Princess to take a bad picture. Journalistically, however, the image feels exploitative. This isn't the first time VF has posthumously used a celeb's image to move magazines; Marilyn Monroe has graced the cover three times. What's troubling about both these instances is that death does not stop our incessant digging into a celebrity's private life. Yes, it's newsworthy, and we will undoubtably read it, but its worth considering whether or not this violates the late Princess.
Vanity Fair's article dives into Di's romantic tryst with Hasnat Khan, a heart surgeon who stole her heart, and this September's biopic starring Naomi Watts promises a similar story. As to the appropriateness (or not) of using her image (as well as the likes of Monroe and even Audrey Hepburn), there's no solid right or wrong answer. If there was one, Vanity Fair has ironically found it in the very woman they're using to generate sales: "Everybody sells me out," Diana told a friend the summer of her death. “Hasnat is the one person who will never sell me out.” (The Gloss)