Princess Diana Had A Tight-Knit Friendship With Her Makeup Artist Mary Greenwell

From her impeccable fashion sense to her intensely compassionate humanitarian efforts, the legacy of Princess Diana is a long-lasting and multi-faceted one, particularly regarding her attitude toward others. Indeed, the People's Princess was just that — a princess devoted wholeheartedly to the masses, serving as a bridge between the lofty heights of the monarchy and the common folk below. 

The former Princess of Wales was at once stunningly chic and humbly down-to-earth, donning iconic outfits (that meant way more than you realized) one day and serving up her most relatable mom moments the next. Despite the immense limelight she found herself in, Princess Diana remained grounded and charming, caring deeply for those closest and farthest from her at every possible opportunity. 

For Diana's makeup artist, Mary Greenwell, this manifested as a tight-knit friendship that included impromptu lunches, Kensington Palace hangouts, and quality time with the princess and her two sons, William and Harry.

Mary Greenwell's gave Princess Diana makeup lessons

Mary Greenwell shared her experiences working for Princess Diana on an episode of "My Wardrobe Malfunction with Susannah Constantine" (via Acast), a podcast exploring the ups, downs, and in-betweens of fashion and beauty. Greenwell recalled first meeting Diana in 1981 on a British Vogue cover shoot, after which the two formed a regular professional relationship and, eventually, a close friendship. 

"She used to call me up and say, 'Will you come and see me?' So, I'd go around and give her makeup lessons and hang out with her and the boys. It was an extraordinary time. I got to be in this person's life on such an intimate level without any expectation," Greenwell told Constantine. 

Greenwell remembers Diana as an incredibly kind, charismatic person who had an effortless ability to command a room. She recalled a specific day when Diana invited her to an impromptu lunch. Sitting at the table, she noticed everyone in attendance stopping mid-conversation to hang on to every word the royal had to say. "It was interesting how she did control the room when needed," Greenwell recalled. "She was very good at that — much more so than people would even realize."

Enhancing Princess Diana's natural beauty

Between spontaneous meet-ups in Kensington Palace, Mary Greenwell served as Princess Diana's primary MUA — a job that Greenwell said was made all the more easy thanks to Diana's natural beauty. The MUA spoke to British Vogue in 2020 about styling the iconic royal, crediting Diana's bright blue eyes and flawless skin as doing most of the heavy lifting. "She wore make-up extremely well," Greenwell said. 

Greenwell briefly described her approach to Princess Diana's make-up, saying that she preferred to put her in muted, berry lipstick and earth-toned eyeshadow that would accentuate her natural features. She recalled Diana as being dedicated to self-care but in a holistic, grounded way. Her approach to beauty was simply taking the best care of herself. 

"She was beautiful, she was kind, she was sweet," Greenwell reminisced. "She was incredibly giving and thoughtful. She was the first person to publicly hug someone with AIDS, which changed the world. I will never forget the experience of being with her. I feel so honored. This was a woman who had her own personality and her own vision of how she wanted to look, so she could put her best foot forward when she went out."