Artist to create new portrait of Princess Diana

Diana, Princess of Wales with artist Israel Zohar
Diana, Princess of Wales with artist Israel Zohar

An artist commissioned to paint Princess Diana at Kensington Palace is set to create a new portrait from original photographs of the late international icon.

Israel Zohar was first commissioned by the military regiment Royal Hussars in 1990 to paint the Princess wearing a Victor Edelstein gown, first seen when she danced with John Travolta at the White House in 1986.

Mr Zohar, 67, who lives in Highgate, north London, said he wanted to portray the “shy, thoughtful and light-hearted” Diana, who is buried at the Althorp estate just outside of Northampton.

He said: “Until this day many people ask me what she was like and I always thought that I could give a better answer in painting than in words.

“In quite a short time I saw so many sides of her personality from glamour to loneliness and isolation, these contradictions fascinated me and evoked a lot of empathy and closeness.

“I feel as if I owe it to her to do a portrait that she would really like and recognise her true self in it. A picture speaks better than a thousand words, but a painting speaks better than a thousand pictures.”

Mr Zohar was commissioned to do the first work of the then 28-year-old royal after a exhibition in Mayfair, London, in 1989. He was one of 12 artists who painted Diana in her lifetime as part of the Royal Family before her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

His portrait coincides with the release early next year of a Diana biopic focusing on the final years of the Princess’s life, starring Australian actress Naomi Watts in the title role.