Princess Diana used lookalikes to fool the press, hotel owner says

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  • Princess Diana reportedly used to play games with paparazzi who followed her on vacation.
  • When she was skiing in Austria, she and look-alike hotel guests would have dressed the same to deceive them.
  • Hannes Schneider, owner of the hotel she visited in Austria, told Diana “it was a big game.”

Princess Diana befriended vacationing guests who looked exactly like her to prank the paparazzi, the owner of a hotel she used to visit when she was skiing in town told Insider. Austria.

For five years during the 1990s, Diana visited Lech – a luxury ski village in Austria – and was often spotted on the slopes or strolling around town with a young Prince William and Prince Harry. According to Tatler, Elizabeth Debicki, who is set to play the princess in ‘The Crown,’ was spotted on set wearing an outfit Diana wore while vacationing in the village in 1994, so scenes recreating her time there are likely will feature in the upcoming fifth series.

But according to Hannes Schneider, owner of the family business Five star hotel Arlberg where Diana chose to stay whenever she came to Lech, the princess had “great fun” pulling pranks on the paparazzi while on vacation. Because she was a global style icon, Schneider said, several guests vacationing at the hotel at the same time as her copied her style and looked almost identical to her.

The Princess of Wales with her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry on a chairlift during a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria

Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry on a chairlift in Lech in 1991.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images


“Being here for five long years, she always met the same people,” Schneider said. “Women back then tried to be her, same hair, same style.”

According to Schneider, Diana met two women from Germany and America who were “the same age, height” as her and all three dressed in the same outfits to fool the “Fleet Street” paparazzi who followed her from the UK. to Austria.

“It was really, really fun,” Schneider said. “They had fun leaving the house at the same time.”

“The paparazzi in one in three cases followed the wrong one. It was a big game,” he added.

Over the years that Diana returned to the Hotel Arlberg, Schneider said he had formed a very close friendship with her and “was probably the person in Austria who knew her best”.

“I had Wills and Harry on my hip at the time,” he said. At one point, he said the princess asked him if he would be her “personal” security guard. “We were so close at the end, it was a really great experience.”

Diana in Lech.

Hannes Schneider said he and Diana became close when she returned to her hotel.

Maria Noyen / Insider, Martin Keene – PA Images / PA Images via Getty Images


But using lookalikes isn’t the only strategy Diana reportedly had when dealing with the press. Back in the UK, she reportedly wore the same Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt to every gym session to deter paparazzi.

According to W Magazine, she personal trainer Jenni Rivett wrote a letter about Diana’s gym strategy at the 2019 sweater auction.

Rivett wrote that Diana “felt there were far more important issues to focus on in the world than her gym outfit and so decided that wearing the famous Virgin sweatshirt to every session would be a good way to stop the media frenzy”.

princess diana 1995 biker shorts

Princess Diana wore the same Virgin Atlantic sweater to every gym session to deter paparazzi.

Anwar Hussein/Getty Images


Speaking to Kate Thornton on Yahoo The Royal Box series, Rivett said wearing the same sweater was “one of his strategies” when it comes to mediareported Hello Magazine.

Thornton asked, “For the picture to have lost its motto?” To which Jenni replied, “Exactly. And I thought that was very smart of her.”

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