The real reason Princess Diana got her iconic short haircut

We’ve come to expect enviable manes from royals like Meghan Markleand Kate Middleton, but it’s quite possible that no one’s locks will ever come close to eclipsing the public's love for Princess Diana‘s hair. Her signature cropped golden blonde hair was so popular, it triggered women everywhere to chop their locks off in an effort to add a bit of regal flair to their looks. So how did the iconic Princess Di ‘do come to be? According to the late Princess of Wales’ stylist, it was spontaneous.

McKnight, who is known as the hands of some of the most game-changing editorial hair looks that have graced magazine covers and runway shows, spilled in his new book, Hair by Sam McKnight, that her signature style was born out of a Vogue shoot that they did together. While the short hair on her 1990 cover quickly became immortalized, it turns out that the style in the photo actually a faux crop!

40 PHOTOS
Princess Diana Style Transformation
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Princess Diana Style Transformation

1962

Lady Diana Spencer, later the wife of Prince Charles, on her first birthday at Park House, Sandringham.

1963

A very young Diana in a fancy pram.

1963

Lady Di at age 2.

1965

Young Lady Diana in a buttoned up dark coat.

1969

Lady Diana at age 8, wearing a matching dress and headband.

1970

Diana on holiday with her family, causal in a sweater and jeans.

1971

Diana let her hair grow long during her youth, here age 10 in a wide-brimmed black hat.

1980

Diana always had a passion for children, here at 19 working as a Nursery Assistant at a Kindergarten school.

1981

Diana and Charles pose on the day of their engagement, showing off her diamond and sapphire engagement ring.

1981

Diana was stunning on her wedding day, with the most glamorous dress and bouquet -- truly fit for a Princess.

1981

The royal couple during their honeymoon in Scotland.

1981

Diana attended an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in a dress designed by Bellville Sassoon.

1982

Princess Diana, pregnant and glowing at a Polo match in Windsor.

1982

The Prince and Princess visit Wales, Diana wearing a suede beret by John Boyd and a coatdress by Arabella Pollen.

1983

Diana was a vision in yellow as she and Charles visited a school in Alice Springs, Australia.

1983

We're loving the pops of pink in Diana's outfit, here while watching Charles play Polo.

1984

Diana talks with Prince Charles, who is on horseback, at a Polo match.

1984

Diana is pretty in pink while attending the ballet Swan Lake.

1985

Diana and a tiny Prince William leaving the Royal Yacht, the Princess in a belted plaid jacket.

1985

Diana laughs with Nancy Reagan, the two ladies looking radiant in hues of red and white.

1986

Diana rests her chin in her hands on the steps of her home at Highgrove.

1986

Diana at a desert picnic in Saudi Arabia, wearing a purple and white outfit by Catherine Walker.

1987

Diana attended Cannes Film Festival, wearing a stunning ice blue gown by Catherine Walker.

1987

Diana was stunning at an evening function during a visit to Germany, wearing a gown by Victor Edelstein.

1988

Princess Diana during a visit to Melbourne.

1988

Diana and Wills at a polo club, the Princess casually dressed in a blazer with the British Lung Foundation logo on the front of her t-shirt.

1989

Diana looked radiant in red and purple while in Hong Kong, the outfit designed by Catherine Walker.

1989

During her visit to Hong Kong, Diana wore this stunning tiara and white dress, later known as the "Elvis Dress."

1990

The Princess of Wales in mint on an official visit to Hungary.

1990

Diana and her boys, attending a church service.  Diana wore a pink and purple suit by Catherine Walker.

1991

Diana wears her favorite designer once again, Catherine Walker, during an official visit in Brazil.

1991

Diana wore this white dress and black jacket designed by Catherine Walker during a visit to Salisbury.

1992

Diana was stunning at a banquet in Seoul, wearing the Spencer family tiara and a gown by Catherine Walker.

1993

Diana looked lovely in this pastel suit, crouching down to speak with a young boy.

1994

Lord Palumbo greets Princess Diana, wearing a short black cocktail dress designed by Christina Stambolian, as she atttends a gala.

1995

Diana visited army barracks, wearing a Versace suit and a hat by Philip Somerville.

1996

The Princess of Wales was gorgeous in this royal purple gown during a visit to Chicago.

1996

Diana visited Washington, dazzling the entire country in this lovely white gown.

1997

Diana was lovely in this pale blue cocktail dress by Catherine Walker, attending a charity reception.

1997

Diana, Princess of Wales, was radiant in red during another visit to Washington, D.C.

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“I made her hair look short in the tiara for the shoot and she decided she liked it…As she was leaving, Diana asked what would I do to her hair if I had free reign…I suggested cutting it short and she, to my surprise, agreed, and we did it there and then,” writes McKnight.

Looking to make a change for 2018 and can’t get enough of the royals past and present? A life-defining new cut from Sam McKnight may not be in the cards, but you can get a taste of his styling prowess by using his 4 signature hair products (a range aptly called Hair by Sam McKnight) to groom your ‘do to feel like a royal.

22 PHOTOS
Princess Diana with her sons
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Princess Diana with her sons
VENICE, ITALY - MAY 5: (FILE PHOTO) (L-R) Diana the Princess of Wales holds her son Harry, whilst looking at Prince William held by his father Prince Charles on May 5, 1985 in Venice, Italy. Prince William will celebrate his 21st birthday on June 21, 2003. (Photo by Georges de Keerle/Getty Images)
Princes William and Harry with their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) in the garden of Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, 18th July 1986. William is wearing a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt.(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana At Highgrove With Prince William And Prince Harry Dressed In Miniature Parachute Regiment Uniforms And Playing On Their Slide In The Garden (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana With Her Sons Prince William And Prince Harry Playing With A Playhouse In The Garden Of Their Home Highgrove (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales on holiday with their children, Princes William and Harry, at the Spanish royal residence Marivent Palace, August 1987. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales arriving at Aberdeen airport with her sons William and Harry for a holiday at Balmoral Castle, August 1986. Princess Diana is wearing a polo motive sweater by Mondi. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales at home in Kensington Palace with their sons Prince William and Prince Harry (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 16: Princess Diana And Prince William Leaving After Delivering Prince Harry To Mrs. Mynor's Nursery School. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 11: Diana, Princess Of Wales, Holding A Young Prince Harry In Her Arms As She Watches Trooping The Colour With Prince William And Princess Margaret From The Balcony Of Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
BALMORAL, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 18: Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Harry play on the banks of the River Dee, near Balmoral Castle.during a Summer vacation, on August 18, 1987, in Balmoral, Scotland. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
NECKER ISLAND, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS - JANUARY 9: Diana, Princess of Wales, with Prince Harry ( centre ), and her Niece's and Nephew's on holiday on Necker Island , on January 9, 1989 in Necker Island, British Virgin Islands. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
BATH - MAY 30: (FILE PHOTO) Prince William, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Charles, Prince of Wales, attend the wedding of the Duke of Hussey's daughter in May, 1989 in Bath, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 12: (FILE PHOTO) Princess Diana with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry at Wetherby School on September 12, 1989 in London, England. It is Prince Harry's first day at school. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Diana, The Princess Of Wales Takes Her Sons, Prince'S William, And Harry Out On The Boat ' Maid Of The Mist ' To View Niagara Falls. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
CHERTSEY, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 18: Diana, Princess of Wales, with Prince Harry, on the Depth Charge ride at Thorpe Park, Theme Park, on April 18, 1992 in Chertsey United Kingdom . (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
LECH, AUSTRIA - APRIL 10: Princess Diana With Princes William & Harry Skiing In Lech, Austria (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Diana Princess Of Wales, Prince William & Prince Harry Visit The 'Thorpe Park' Amusement Park. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
AUSTRIA - MARCH 30: Lech: Princess Diana, sons William and Harry going to restaurant in calash In Lech, Austria On March 30, 1993. (Photo by Laurent SOLA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
LECH, AUSTRIA - MARCH 27: Princess Diana With Prince William & Prince Harry In Sleigh During Ski Holiday In Lech, Austria. Behind Are Diana's Friends Kate Menzies And Catherine Soames (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 19: Princess Diana, Prince Harry [ Waving ] And Prince William Watching The Parade Of Veterans On V J Day, The Mall, London. Designer Of Diana's Suit - Tomasz Starzewski (please Check - People Magazine, 04/12/1999) (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
EMBARGOED TO 0001 Sunday July 23, 2017. NO USE AFTER MONDAY JULY 31, 2017. NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO USE ON THE FRONT COVERS OF ANY UK OR INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINES. NO COMMERCIAL USE (including any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non-editorial use including, for example, calendars, books and supplements). This photograph (whose copyright is vested in the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry) is provided to you on condition that you will make no charge for the supply, release or publication of it and that these conditions and restrictions will apply (and that you will pass these on) to any organisation to whom you supply it. All other requests for use should be directed to the Press Office at Kensington Palace in writing. This photograph released by Kensington Palace, from the personal photo album of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, shows the princess holding Prince William whilst pregnant with Prince Harry, and features in the new ITV documentary 'Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy', which airs on ITV at 21.00hrs on Monday 24th July.
EMBARGOED TO 0001 Sunday July 23, 2017. NO USE AFTER MONDAY JULY 31, 2017. NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO USE ON THE FRONT COVERS OF ANY UK OR INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINES. NO COMMERCIAL USE (including any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non-editorial use including, for example, calendars, books and supplements). This photograph (whose copyright is vested in the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry) is provided to you on condition that you will make no charge for the supply, release or publication of it and that these conditions and restrictions will apply (and that you will pass these on) to any organisation to whom you supply it. All other requests for use should be directed to the Press Office at Kensington Palace in writing. This photograph released by Kensington Palace, from the personal photo album of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, shows the princess and Prince Harry on holiday and features in the new ITV documentary 'Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy', which airs on ITV at 21.00hrs on Monday 24th July.
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