Princess Diana loved makeup. Whether it was for the red carpet or relaxed lunches, she always wanted to look her best. And, thanks to friend and legendary British makeup artist, Mary Greenwell, she always did.
“She wore makeup extremely well,” says Greenwell, who has worked with everyone from Cate Blanchett to Lily James, as well as Meghan Markle. “I loved enhancing her beauty.” Famed for her sparkling blue eyes and flawless skin, it’s a beauty that’s once more under the spotlight thanks to the arrival of season four of The Crown, which has just dropped on Netflix, reigniting the Diana mania of the 1980s and 1990s that exploded after the princess’s untimely death in 1997.
But, of course, we mustn’t believe everything we watch, which is why we caught up with Greenwell to get the real story behind Diana’s relationship with makeup, what she was like in person, and how she would have fit within today’s beauty landscape.
Can you tell us about your approach to makeup when you worked with Princess Diana?
There was no different creative process when working with the princess than with anyone else. I mean, she was obviously one of the biggest celebrities I’ve ever worked with, so my approach when I’m working with someone of that caliber—as in, celebrity caliber—is to make them feel relaxed and good. You have to understand you’re with someone who has their own personality and to consider them at all times.
What did you want to convey with each look? Was it about merely enhancing her natural beauty or tailoring it to a specific event?
Both. If she was going to a red-carpet event, then obviously you would consider that. If it was lunch, it would be much more gentle. It depends on where she was going and what she was wearing. You always approach it as a new time, each time, so to speak. I loved enhancing her beauty, making her look glamorous for the red carpet and then making her look and feel relaxed in her own skin the rest of the time. She wore makeup extremely well.