A Royal Encounter

I met Richard Dalton back in 2013. The Queen Mary in Long Beach hosted a special event with Dalton as the main guest. He met Diana Spencer before she was a famous princess and then continued as her personal royal hairdresser for over a decade. He traveled with her in the 1980s and became a confidante as she attempted to navigate the strange world of Windsor.
As with the fanfare around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this weekend, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. I have been to London twice and would gladly fly to England again. The history, the beautiful buildings, and the monarchy create a fascinating backdrop to a trip across the pond.

 I am not alone in my curiosity about the royals. The mysterious lives they lead that is less government and more public relations. With jewels. Diana famously got lost in the mix, never quite finding her ground. Mostly because it wasn’t the right fit. She was indeed a lovely princess to which all female royalty will probably be compared. But she had to compromise herself to be a part of it.
Richard saw the struggle almost daily. The beautiful tiaras were very heavy and they sometimes gave Princess Diana headaches. He prided himself on being her hair “dresser” because he styled the whole look. The dress, the headpiece, the hair, and even the attitude. He helped her put it all together, even when she didn’t feel like she actually had it together.
Something very admirable is that interviewers over the years, including the one at this event, have tried to pry secrets from him and he remains silent. Diana’s words – along with all of his clients’ – are confidential. He no doubt heard or even saw the bad days unfold. He shares none of that. Only to say that he loved his time with her and will always cherish those memories. They were friends. He also enjoyed his time spent with the young Prince William. Dalton may even have stories that her own sons haven’t heard.
I asked him later in the evening if there were times that
he acted as Diana’s therapist, the weight of her job being so cumbersome. His response was “every day”. Here’s hoping that her legacy continues to shine including all of the wonderful charity work Diana did. And here’s to Duchess Kate and the soon-to-be-wed Meghan, may they find their ground and be their own healthy version of royalty.

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