Newsweek is featuring one of its most provocative and controversial covers yet on its July 4 issue. It shows a living (albeit much older) Princess Diana walking with her daughter-in-law, Catherine “Kate” Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Inside, there's another photo illustration of a resurrected Diana clutching an iPhone.

The accompanying article is written by Diana biographer Tina Brown. She's also Newsweek's editor-in-chief. “What would she have been like?" Brown writes of Diana, who would have turned 50 on July 1, nearly 14 years after her death at the age of 36 in a Paris car crash. "Still great-looking: that's a given.” Brown also suggests Diana would have "ostentatiously made Carole Middleton, Kate's dynamic mother, her new BFF."

The issue also features an imagined Diana Facebook page, Twitter account and a slideshow comparing the fashion styles of Diana and Middleton, who married Diana's oldest child, Prince William, in April. Among her 107,623 Facebook friends: Camilla Parker Bowles (Apparently, Prince Charles “likes” this).

The story, especially the photoshopped image, has received widespread negative reviews and tweets. A Los Angeles Times headline asked, "Shocking, brilliant or just plain cheap?" An Atlantic Wire headline added, "How Creepy Is Princess Diana's Ghost on the Cover of Newsweek?" Tweets ranged from EOnline’s “Bad Taste Alert: Princess Diana & Kate Middleton Share Creepiest Magazine Cover Ever!” to DeathStarPR’s “Newsweek has brought Princess Diana back from the dead for her birthday. Would've thought NOT zombifying her was a nicer gift?” and one by MahaRafiAtal Maha that takes the cake: “Newsweek has a fictional cover story called 'What Princess Diana's Life Might Look Like Now.' Vomit rises in the throat.”


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Brown downplayed the criticisms, saying they wanted to "bring the memory of Diana alive in a vivid image that transcends time and reflects my piece," in a statement on Tuesday. In response to the backlash, Newsweek also posted a Facebook poll, which gives the reader five options as to how Diana’s “age advancement” looks: “She would have looked younger,” “She would have looked older,” “She would have changed her hairstyle,” “Brilliant!” or “Dislike.” At the moment, “Dislike” is winning.


  • Sydney Ramsden
    Sydney Ramsden on

    I don't find this as offensive as much as I find it creepy. I wonder what Kate thinks about the cover.

  • GabrielaTilevitz
    GabrielaTilevitz on

    I agree, Sydney. I have a friend who has been posting comparative pictures of Kate Middleton and Princess Diana's fashion choices on his tumblr since Kate and Prince William wed in April, so to me this is kind of a publicized version of that. I think it shows how much the world is still haunted by Princess Diana's sudden death instead of being able to look at her as the icon that she was.

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