unseen photograph is a black and white print from the early 1980's. It displays 19-year-old Diana, smiling at the camera, as she relaxes in the lap of an unidentified young man who is reading a book. A bottle of Johnny Walker whisky stands nearby on the window sill.
Apparently a London tabloid deemed it too hot to print at the time, as it is dated February 26, 1981 on the back, just two days after Buckingham Palace had announced the engagement of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.
Bobby Livingstone of RR Auctions of Amherst, New Hampshire, the photograph is from the private Caren Archive
, which acquired it seven years ago when it bought out the photo library of Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.
that the photograph would normally sell for around $1,000, "but because it has that [not-to-be-published] marking on it, we expect it to go for much more."
"It captures the moment when the engagement had been announced two days before and the press was going mad over Diana but the Daily Mirror just wasn't going to publish this picture of her in a comfortable position with a man other than Prince Charles," he added.
According to Eric Caren, who owns Caren Archive, he does not know who the man in the photograph is, but many have apparently suggested that the man is Diana's brother, Charles Spencer.
However, Caren, referring to the Daily Mirror's editors said that, “If it is her brother, it is more curious why they squashed it.”
“It’s not an unflattering shot. It’s a more intimate shot.”
Internet bidding on the photograph will run on the auction website
from January 17 to 24.
36-year-old Diana died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997, a year after her divorce from Prince Charles.