Princess Diana’s hair became iconic well before she said “I do” to Prince Charles. The unforgettable feathered crop was copied by countless women, even as it evolved throughout the years. Now, the man responsible for maintaining that coif for over a decade is spilling a few of her royal style secrets.
Hairdresser Richard Dalton recently told Town & Country, “I met Diana when she was 17. I worked at Fenwick of Bond Street’s in-store salon and cut her sister’s hair.” He admitted to passing the future People’s Princess along to one of his colleagues at the time, who gave her the sweeping ‘do. That same colleague also did her hair for her 1981 nuptials to Charles, but Dalton was tapped as her personal hairdresser soon after that. “I was with her every day for 12 years,” he said. Aside from Diana, he was on-hand to give Prince William and Harry their first haircuts.
As most women know, finding the perfect hairdresser isn’t just about their skills with scissors, brushes, and sprays. Those are important, but we also want someone who’s easy to talk to and confide in as we’re getting styled. After so much time together, there’s no doubt Diana and Dalton had a similar relationship — but he remains respectfully mum on any personal details she may have shared. That said, he isn’t shy about sharing a few stories about her tresses.
For example, when it came to Diana wearing one of her dazzling tiaras, Dalton had to be understandably cautious with his styling techniques. “It’s a crown jewel and must be respected and protected. You have to be extremely careful and gentle with it — and absolutely no hairspray or styling product can touch the stones,” he explained. That had to be extra tricky when the pair got creative with the emerald choker Diana famously wore in her hair for an event in Australia, as you can see below.
Even when making more casual appearances, Dalton made sure Diana’s hair fit perfectly with her entire outfit. That includes what he called the “Dynasty Di” years in the ’80s with big, fluffed up hair used to balance out hefty shoulder pads.
You might also remember the length of Diana’s hair getting shorter and shorter over time. She made an initial request for a more snipped-back look before a trip to Africa in order to make styling easier. That was apparently an intentionally slow process. “Whatever I did to her hair became front page news,” Dalton explained. “We had to be very careful. We had to do it one-fourth of an inch at a time.” Considering how her daughter-in-law’s, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, both make headlines today any time they make the slightest change to their hair, we can understand the need for patience when it came to more drastic cuts.
Although Dalton has since worked with similarly glamorous ladies, such as Sophia Loren and Jane Seymour, it’s clear his years with Diana will always hold a special place in his heart.