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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge invoked nostalgia Saturday as they sat and smiled for photos on the same marble bench in front of the Taj Mahal where Prince William's late mother, Princess Diana, had posed alone for a memorable 1992 photo.

The royal snub and Princess Diana all alone in India

News Corp Australia

PRINCESS Diana was not snubbed by her husband Prince Charles at the Taj Mahal in India and had been photographed smiling just a few hours earlier, according to veteran royal photographer Arthur Edwards.

Mr Edwards, 76, who took the famous photograph of a pensive Princess Diana sitting alone on a bench outside the world's most famous monument to love in February 1992, said he never believed the princess had been intentionally snubbed by her husband that day.

The visit to India came 10 months before the couple separated, and with the media aware of problems in the royal marriage, the vision of a sad-looking Princess Diana sitting alone made front-page headlines around the world.

"Everyone took it as a snub but I never took it like that,'' Edwards told News Corp this week.

And he revealed he had photographed Diana a few hours earlier at another monument, the Red Fort, where she smiled and seemed completely at ease.

A royal photographer for more than 40 years with the Sun newspaper in the UK, Mr Edwards said his own paper had splashed with a story three weeks earlier saying that Charles would be engaged in trade talks that day and would not be able to join his wife in the Indian city of Agra.

Diana, Princess of Wales, greets a crowd during her visit to Stirling Oval, Canberra, Australia, March 26, 1983
Diana, Princess of Wales, greets a crowd during her visit to Stirling Oval, Canberra, Australia, March 26, 1983 AP Photo - Dave Caulkin

The former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter has also confirmed an unavoidable scheduling clash weeks earlier meant Prince Charles would be giving a speech to businessmen in Bangalore, hundreds of kilometres away and would not be able to join Diana, despite declaring a decade earlier he hoped to visit the monument one day with his wife.

It has since been universally agreed that the decision to let Diana visit the monument alone - where she later told reporters it was a "healing experience'' and invited them to work out for themselves what that might mean - had been a disastrous public relations decision.

Diana, Princess of Wales is photographed by youngsters during her visit to Alice Springs, Australia, March 21, 1983.
Diana, Princess of Wales is photographed by youngsters during her visit to Alice Springs, Australia, March 21, 1983. AP Photo - Dave Caulkin

But Mr Edwards said he had gone alone to photograph the Princess earlier at the Red Fort, while the other photographers rushed off to the Taj Mahal to set up in position.

"I was the only photographer that went with her,'' he recalled.

"She said 'where do you want me Arthur'.''

The photographs he took show a smiling Diana, seemingly at peace, and a million miles from the sad figure who posed alone on a bench just a few hours later.