Princess Diana's Soaking Wet Hair in This Photo with Pavarotti Tells an Extraordinary Story

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princess Diana photo exhibit
princess Diana photo exhibit

courtesy Anwar Hussein Luciano Pavarotti and Princess Diana

Princess Diana had many memorable hair moments over the years — including a rare wet look alongside Luciano Pavarotti.

Photographer Anwar Hussein — whose work chronicling Diana's journey from "Shy Di" in 1980 to the confident icon she became before her tragic death in 1997 at age 36 appears in Princess Diana Exhibition: Accredited Access, a "walk-through documentary" currently open in Chicago and Los Angeles, with New York City next — tells PEOPLE in this week's issue the story behind the rain-soaked snap.

Hussein recalled that Pavarotti performed a charity concert at London's Hyde Park in 1991, which Diana attended.

"It was pouring down with rain. This was an outdoor concert, and everybody had their umbrellas up," the photographer said. "It was hard for people to see, and it was difficult for Pavarotti to see his audience and get a connection with them too."

RELATED: Photographer Anwar Hussein Shares the Private Stories Behind His Famous Photos of Princess Diana in New Exhibition

He continued, "The concert organizers begged everyone to close their umbrellas so they could enjoy the show. Diana was the first one to do so, very quickly. Then everybody else across the audience followed. And of course, she got soaking wet. He then dedicated an aria to her."

After the concert, Princess Diana went inside to meet with the singer — where this photo was shot — and quickly made light of the situation.

"Then putting her hand on her head, she said, 'Do you like my new hairstyle?' " Hussein said. "She was really confident by now. She was playing for the cameras a little. She knew what to do and what to wear. They went on to have a close friendship."

Over the years, Diana and Hussein struck up a close working relationship, with the royal often talking to him at public events, during plane travel and at media receptions.

"The story of Diana unfolded in front of us," he says. "I saw every side of Diana. She was a genuine, good human being."

For more on the stories behind Hussein's iconic photos of Princess Diana, pick up a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Adds Cliff Skelliter, the exhibition's curator: "The personal relationship between a princess and a photographer who's with them all the time — they've got a closeness but also a distance in order to get a really interesting take."

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Also featured in the exhibit are photographs by Anwar's sons Samir and Zak, who have followed their father into royal photography by capturing the lives of Diana's sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

For information and to reserve tickets to Princess Diana Exhibition: Accredited Access, visit princessdianaexhibit.com. Use promo code PEOPLE15 to receive 15% off.

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