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Prince Charles, Princess Diana Images Spark Controversy (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani

Prince Charles and Princess Diana of England are again commanding global attention, but this time, for an unusual reason.

Almost 20 years have passed since Diana died, but it's only now the public has noticed one small -- or big -- detail about old official photos of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

In many of the pictures, Prince Charles appears to be almost a head taller than Princess Diana. But in reality, the two were both 5 feet 10 inches tall, Cosmopolitan reports.

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University of Maryland sociologist Philip N. Cohen pointed out the discrepancy out on Twitter on March 15.

Uploading photos depicting a shorter Princess Diana, he tweeted, "They were the same height."

His observation quickly went viral. It was shared more than 7,000 times and liked by more than 10,000 times in two weeks.

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Many found the photos upsetting.

One Twitter user implied it was a sexist and a conformist thing to do.

"One may/may not recall the lengths to which the couple (the crown?) went to disguise #LadyDiana's height. #Conformity #Sexism," they tweeted.

Others agreed.

"Power in the patriarchy," added another. "Ironic for the monarchy's spin factory that the reality was more romantic…"

"#Casualsexism once again - women 'must' be smaller (= weaker)," a second person wrote.

"Even Diana had to go to such lengths (pun intended) to massage the male ego," chimed in a third. "Relationship soured when she became an individual."

"Thankfully she didn't know her place," said another.

Others disagreed the photos reflected deeper problems in society.

"Rather than it being about who is in charge... i think the pics were made to look endearing???" wrote one man.

"And?" said a woman. "Many portraits are taken this way. My husband and I have some as well."

Another man agreed.

"No conspiracy going on, Just composition by Photographers," he wrote. "You will find that most Professional photographs will have one person higher than the other, just like in a group of three you will normally have a triangle."

Yet while the internet is abuzz about the photos now, many have commented about the height discrepancy in the past.

Cohen writes in his blog he noticed it in 2010, commenting that it "reinforces the bigger-stronger/smaller-weaker gender dichotomy."

Occidental College professor Lisa Wade also discussed the issue in 2011.

"This effort to make Charles appear taller is a social commitment to the idea that men are taller and women shorter," she wrote for The Society Pages. "When our own bodies, and our chosen mates, don’t follow this rule, sometimes we’ll go to great lengths to preserve the illusion."

Sources:  CosmopolitanPhilip N Cohen/Twitter, The Society Pages / Photo credit: Joe Haupt/Flickr, Royal Mail via Family Inequality, Philip N Cohen/Twitter

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