Princess Diana’s hairstylist talks about her iconic haircut

Sam McKnight had "no idea" that when he cut Princess Diana’s hair short in the early 90s that her change in style would have such an "impact".

The 64-year-old hairstylist chopped off the Princess of Wales’ locks after shooting her for a 1991 British Vogue cover – where he used hair clips to make her hair appear shorter – and confessed that he "didn’t realise" her change in hairstyle would become so "iconic". 

Writing for Vogue Australia, he said: "For that now iconic shoot, I styled her hair so it appeared short for the picture. Afterwards she asked: ‘What would you do if I gave you free reign?’ and I replied: "I’d just cut it all off." 

"Her hair was fabulous, but it was time for a change, and I think she felt that, too. So she said: ‘Okay, do you want to do it now?’ So I did.

"I had been shooting for Vogue for 13 years by then, so I wasn’t nervous to cut her hair. I rarely read the British papers, because I wasn’t in London very often, so I didn’t realise the impact that haircut would have. 

"It was July and I had left to shoot in Paris when I was inundated with phone calls about Diana’s hair. By then I realised that the change had caused quite an impact."

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Britain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit an iron ore mine near Carajas, Brazil. Picture: AP

McKnight went on to explain that her choice of hairstyle was more about "practicality" than fashion and insisted that the royal looked good whatever the circumstance. 

He said: "Diana was secure in how she looked, because she looked great. To be quite honest, she looked beautiful coming out of the gym with wet hair in the morning.

"It wasn’t about having some hairstyle that she couldn’t get in the wind or anything like that – for her it was about practicality."

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