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Apr 19th, 2011 | | Press & News | No Comments

A heady experience as Diana’s haircutter

Richard Dalton, a consultant and wigmaker in Laguna Beach, was stylist to the late princess. He says he never spilled a royal secret in the 12 years he dressed her famous golden locks.

When it comes to understanding the British royals, no one knows their heads better than the one who cuts their hair.

“The media would say, ‘If you want to find out anything, just ask the hairdresser,’ ” said Richard Dalton, stylist to the late Princess Diana.

But the media would be wrong in Dalton’s case. The Dana Point resident said he never spilled a single royal secret in the 12 years he dressed Di’s famous golden locks.

Today, Dalton works as a consultant and wigmaker at Charles’ Wigs in Laguna Beach. Like much of the world, he was taken with the news that Diana’s son, Prince William, had become engaged to longtime sweetheart Kate Middleton.

After all, it was Dalton who gave William and his brother, Prince Harry, their first haircuts.

Having known William when he was a “kind and wonderful boy,” Dalton said the prince would guide Middleton through the ins and outs of royal living.

“I just hope she doesn’t try to be a Princess Diana,” Dalton said. “She’s cool in her own right, but she’ll never be a Diana.”

Middleton, of course, will be carrying a token of the late princess of Wales with her every day. William gave Middleton his mother’s sapphire-and-diamond ring.

“Every day it was on the dressing table as I was doing her hair,” said Dalton, who declined to give his age. “The ring was a wonderful gesture on William’s part, and Diana would have loved it.”

Dalton, who is Scottish, moved to London from Edinburgh at age 17 after winning a competition for a free apprenticeship with Vidal Sassoon.

In the late 1970s, at an upscale salon on London’s Bond Street, he met then-Diana Spencer and was invited to become one of her personal hairdressers.

Dalton originally worked with a team of assistants, then became Diana’s sole hairdresser after her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981. From then on, he traveled with the British royal family and, at any hour, could find himself perfecting the world’s most closely watched tresses.

“Whatever I did to her hair became front-page news,” Dalton said. “We had to be very careful. When she wanted to cut her hair short before traveling to Africa, we had to do it one-fourth of an inch at a time over several weeks.”

Dalton left Diana’s employ and England in 1991, six years before she died in a high-speed car crash in Paris.

Dalton’s current clients are enthralled with his background.

“He treats his clients like royalty,” said Doreen Quaglietta-Hughes, a customer from Huntington Harbour. “I go into another world with Richard; who else has known duchesses and princesses? Each week the time just goes by too quickly.”

“The guy is so talented,” said owner Marsha Carroll, who turned the wig shop into a full-service salon after buying it from Charles Thompson in 2006. “He’s just magic with the way he works, whether it’s hair on a head or a wig.”

Dalton said he will forever guard Diana’s confidences — at least when it comes to reporters.

“I have my memories of the princess,” he said. “But I would love to meet William again and talk with him. I’m sure he has questions about his mother.”

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