Artist completes new Princess Diana portrait

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An artist has spoken of his “elation” at completing a new portrait of Princess Diana from original photographs taken of the late international icon.

Israel Zohar was initially commissioned by the military regiment Royal Hussars in 1990 to paint the princess wearing an off-the-shoulder midnight blue Victor Edelstein gown, first seen when she danced with John Travolta at the White House in 1986.

Mr Zohar, aged 68, from Highgate, worked with the memories of his first meeting with Princess Diana, who is buried at the Althorp estate just outside of Northampton.

He said: “When I started the portrait I almost did it for the challenge, but it honestly became a much more interesting journey than I expected. I realised I had an image of what I wanted to put on canvas and it brought me back to the original portrait in a very vivid way.

“The memories tucked away in my mind resurfaced and I found myself taking a journey into her character where she came back to life through the portrait.

“At the end I got this sensitive and almost sad image but at the same time so positive of her personality, which took me by surprise.”

Mr Zohar was commissioned to do the first work of the then 28-year-old royal after an exhibition in Mayfair in 1989. He was one of twelve artists who painted Diana in her lifetime as part of the Royal Family, before her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

He said: “She became a positive force that managed to reach further than anyone through her humanitarian projects and in many ways handed this awareness on to her children.

“When I met her I didn’t feel I was with somebody who thought she was above me. She was so direct, so friendly and sincerely interested in what anyone had to say and within minutes she would get to the bottom of what you said, reflect on it and react to it.

“She was a person that would become completely engaged with you and I am not surprised she is still considered so positively.”