From the Publisher

updated 05/01/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/01/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

I think every woman alive has wondered what it would be like to be Princess of Wales," says Anglophile Senior Editor Carol Wallace. In January she undertook the challenging task of providing an answer, organizing this remarkably intimate portrait of a true global superstar. Under the direction of Correspondent Roland Flamini, seven reporters in PEOPLE'S London bureau worked two and a half months gathering information from Di's friends, neighbors, employees, shopkeepers, public officials and anyone else with royal access and a story to tell. Jerene Jones sorted through thousands of photos of Diana, while Photographers Terry Smith and Ian Cook spent 40 hours teetering on stepladders with their long lenses in hopes of catching the perfect shot of Di. Jonathan Cooper grilled Fleet Street's top royal reporter, while Dianna Waggoner researched those eclectic Windsor women. Laura Sanderson Healy checked out the places Diana shops, while Rosemary Thorpe-Tracey filed on the royal residences. Picture Researcher Mary Fanette, who looked at some 55,000 photos, flew to London with Picture Editor M.C. Marden and spent 10 painstaking days hunting up fresh shots. Art Director Mitch Shostak and his assistant, Anthony Kosner, sifted through the 2,000 color slides that made the first cut. Meanwhile Writer Louise Lague was crafting the chapters of Di's life from reams of delicious material. "It's astounding how much like the rest of us she is," notes Lague. "She and I share a love of gossip, a terrible tug between work and family, and the same Ralph Lauren jeans." Brad Darrach read five books on the Waleses before writing the thoughtful opening piece on Diana and another on her troubled husband. Under the supervision of Reporter Peggy Brawley, Clay Warnick and Kate Weiner verified every fact, from the weight of Diana's luggage to the color of her silk undies. During an intense 12 weeks, staffers in both cities reported dreaming of the royals by night, and sometimes by day. "In the middle of an expensive date with a beautiful woman," says Warnick, "I zoned out over whether we'd gotten Diana's shoe size right." (We did.)

Senior Editor Wallace kept one firm hand managing her staff and the other working on copy before sending it on to Assistant Managing Editor Ross Drake. A portrait soon emerged, says Wallace, of "an '80s woman trying to fit into an anachronistic institution. Given her age, she's done a remarkable job holding her own among a very intimidating group."

We are proud to present a special issue that is everything a magazine should be: fast paced, enlightening, entertaining and beautiful, not unlike the princess herself. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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