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Rare, unpublished photo of young Lady Diana goes up for auction

A photo depicting an intimate moment with Lady Diana will be sold to the highest bidder.

There seems to be a bizarre fascination with the Royal Family, both past and present, and this fascination tends to get most bizarre when it comes to public interest in the minutiae of the Royal Family’s day-to-day existence.

So it should come as no surprise that a rare photo of a young Lady Diana is currently causing a stir within the auction world.

As ABC News notes, the photo is part of a collection that formerly belonged to the Daily Mirror, a major British tabloid.

Dated Feb. 26, 1981, the snapshot shows Diana curled up on a bed looking at the camera. An unnamed man sits behind her, his attention focused on what appears to be a book. There’s a bottle of Johnny Walker on the windowsill.

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The feature that sets it apart, however, is four words scrawled in grease pencil around the central image, an editor’s decision that the photo was “Not to be Published.”

As you can imagine, this is a designation given to media photos that … well … aren’t meant for publication.

But between January 17 and 24, the photo will be up for grabs to the highest bidder as part of a sale by RR Auctions of Amherst, N.H.

The photo was likely nixed, Bob Livingston of RR Auctions told the Daily Telegraph, because Mirror editors may have been uncomfortable showing the relaxed intimacy between Diana and another man so soon after her Feb. 23 engagement to Prince Charles.

Even if the man in question ended up being her brother, as it is believed in some courts.

"If it is her brother, it is more curious why they squashed it," Eric Caren, the owner of Caren Archives, told the news network. "It's not an unflattering shot. It's a more intimate shot."

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Livingston believes the “Not to be Published” cache will amp up the price as collectors angle for the perceived exclusivity of the image.

Another alternative is to save your money and simply look at the picture in its myriad online reproductions. Because, you know. Royal Family.

(Photo courtesy ABC News)

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