EXCLUSIVE: “She was so warmhearted!” Official Royal photographers on the real Princess Diana

"Her kindness, genuineness and openness; no one was above or below Diana..."

The Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition has taken the world by storm; selling out in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, and Puerto Rico.

And now the exhibition is heading Down Under, opening on November 17, 2023 at the Tea House in Melbourne.

Offering a never-before-seen look into the life and legacy of Princess Diana, the Accredited Access Exhibition is an immersive experience filled with original images and bespoke art installations.

Princess Diana

It also features an in-depth audio guide of Anwar Hussein and his sons Samir and Zak – the longest standing family of Official Royal Photographers – sharing their first-hand accounts of the stories behind the world-famous moments of Princess Diana and her family.

Ahead of The Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition’s Australian debut, The Weekly caught up with Samir and Zak Hussein to talk all things Diana.

“When I was very young, I used to follow my father around with a little camera, copying what he was doing and taking in the excitement of the job. We got to become very familiar with the royal family – especially the Queen along with Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry,” Zak recalls when asked why he and Samir decided to follow in their father’s footsteps.

“My dad would take us to events such as the polo which they attended so I was exposed to them and became familiar with them from a very young age. Growing up surrounded by photography, it felt like a natural progression to take up the profession. Influenced by the candid style of my father’s work, I now get to travel the world capturing the day to day life of the British royal family!”

Princess Diana exhibit photographers

But Samir followed a different path before joining his father and brother in royal photography.

“Initially, despite having grown up surrounded by my father’s amazing photos, I pursued a career in journalism. My father never pushed me towards photography, but I still had an interest in it.

“When I moved to London I got a job with a celebrity photo agency as an editor and I started to look at photography more seriously. I started shooting concerts, which I had a big passion for. I realised this was something I loved and wanted to pursue as a career. I then started following more in my father’s footsteps by shooting royal events and never looked back.”

It’s not hard to understand why both Zak and Samir fell in love with photographing the royals. The way they describe Diana to us only cements that she truly was the People’s Princess.

Diana, William and Harry

“Her kindness, genuineness and openness; no one was above or below Diana. She was so warm-hearted and would talk into all hours of the night; she would listen, and be invested in the person she was speaking to,” the brothers reminisce.

“She was also someone who was prepared to walk her own path and thought of herself as an outsider which my father really admired and identified with… Our father treasured his time working alongside Diana and capturing some of her most intimate moments. He saw her blossom from ‘Shy Di’ into a confident, cultural icon,” Zak says.

“Princess Diana single handedly changed the world in so many ways. Regardless of if you are a fan of the royals or not, this exhibit will connect with people on an emotional level – it means something,” Samir chimes in.

The Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition opens to the public on Friday 17 November, 2023. You can purchase tickets here.

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