Norwich, Norfolk (PRWEB) August 31, 2007
In late July, UK-based investigative author Jimmy Lee Shreeve was contacted via his website by an American artist who said his portrait of Princess Diana -- which he gave to Sir Elton John in 1997 -- seemed to have taken on mysterious powers.
Diana's spirit, he said, was talking to Elton through the painting.
Intrigued, Shreeve duly submitted the story to his editors at Britain's Sunday Express newspaper, who published it as a page three exclusive on Sunday, July 29, 2007.
Within days the story shot around the world, with Hello Magazine UK and Canada picking it up, amongst many other media outlets.
Insiders who have seen the portrait -- by LA-based artist Louis Briel (http://www.louisbriel.com) -- say it depicts Diana "wearing a deep v-necked black dress and looking at her most beautiful and relaxed".
The painting has never been seen publicly before. But now is to be revealed for the first time in a new book called "Diana In Art" (Pop Art Books), out in the US around Sept. 1. It's a collection of portraits of the Princess from artists around the world, compiled by Mem Mehmet.
But according to Briel it turns out there is more to his painting than meets the eye. It allegedly placed Elton John in psychic communication with the late Princess, who apparently gives him advice from beyond the grave.
Someone close to Elton's drug/alcohol recovery said: "She even tells him what shoes to wear."
After investigating the story, Shreeve found out the following:
In September 1997, Louis Briel painted the portrait to deal with the unexpected grief he was feeling over Diana's death. Days after finishing the painting, he saw Elton on the Oprah Winfrey Show. So touched was he by Elton's love for Diana, he gave the painting to the rock star.
"He needed it," says Briel.
Moved by the kind gesture, Elton sent a handwritten note to Briel thanking him and saying the portrait was "beautiful".
Elton took the painting around the world with him on "The Big Picture Tour" in 1997-1998. It hung in his dressing room at every venue worldwide. Before going on stage each night he reportedly used to look at the portrait intensely, as if he was seeking to psychically communicate with it.
A member of Elton's road crew was overheard saying: "[The portrait] goes with him everywhere. I know he talks to her before he goes on stage."
After the tour, another member of Elton's team told Briel: "The painting is like a genie. It goes where he goes. We've packed it up and unpacked it at every stop around the world. I know he talks to her before he goes on stage."
The portrait is now part of the singer's personal collection. But it means so much to him that he has kept it almost under lock and key. He has never shown the painting publicly, as to do so would break the spell.
In 2003, a visitor to "Woodside", Elton's Windsor home, told reporters that his private chapel was decorated with two enormous portraits: one of Diana (presumably Briel's) and the other of fashion designer Gianni Versace.
But does Diana really inhabit the mysterious portrait? Can she truly be Elton's spirit guide?
Briel is certain this is the case. During his more than 30-year career he has made a speciality of posthumous portraits. He suspects the portrait had a healing and restorative effect on Elton -- that it soothed his grief and kept him company during a difficult and painful time.
"I've seen it over and over again," Briel says. "A posthumous portrait is a spirit healer. For those surviving it heals in a manner that old photos can't. The painting function sin this world very much like an individual and takes on a kind of personality.
So, Briel, says: "I'll bet he still talks to her at Woodside, and I wouldn't be surprised if she even talks back. Paintings are like that, you know."
It's 10 years since Diana's tragic accident, but according to Jimmy Lee Shreeve, interest in her is as strong as it ever was. "My Sunday Express story just keeps running and running, which clearly shows that interest in Diana has not waned," he says. "People are intrigued and touched by the idea that she could be communicating with Elton from beyond the grave."
Read the full story -- with footage that never before published -- at:
Or visit Louis Briel's site at: http://www.louisbriel.com
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