Newsweek cover imagines Princess Diana at 50, walking with Kate Middleton

Had she lived, Princess Diana would have celebrated her 50th birthday this coming Friday. Ever ponder how things might have turned out for the people's princess had that fatal 1997 car crash never happened? Newsweek's Tina Brown has ever-so-kindly tried her hand at taking some of the guesswork out of that equation.

The rather jarring cover features an imaginary present-day Diana strolling with the daughter-in-law she never knew: An age-projected photo illustration of Di is digitally superimposed at the side of the former Kate Middleton, the commoner who married Prince William, emerging from Westminster Abbey in April as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

While many fans were imagining the high glamour and higher emotion Diana's presence would've brought to the royal wedding, the cover and accompanying story takes it bigger, imagining one version of where she would be today.

"Gliding sleekly into her 40s, her romantic taste would have moved to men of power over boys of play," she writes, saying Diana's entire life would be about philanthropy and dizzying power circles, in addition to sons William and Prince Harry.

Daily Beast founder and Diana expert Brown has a rather dramatic vision of a modern Di, tweeting at the Dalai Lama and owning a deliriously designed Facebook page (featuring another age projection of Diana clutching an iPhone).

Imaginary Diana has a lofty apartment in New York, a strange but comforting friendship with ex-husband Charles, Prince of Wales, and naturally a front-row next to Victoria Beckham at Fashion Week.

Possible, yes — but it is plausible? And is the cover all sorts of right, or all sorts of wrong? Let us know.

USA Today:

Does this cover bother you?

In the new Newsweek, Tina Brown ponders what Princess Diana would be like today - as she would have turned 50 on Friday.

A computer-generated, age-projected image of a Diana shows her appearing to walk next to Kate Middleton, Prince William's bride.

"What would she have been like?" Brown writes of Diana. "Still great-looking: that's a given."

She goes on to say: "Fashionwise, Diana would have gone the J.Crew and Galliano route à la Michelle Obama, always knowing how to mix the casual with the glam. There is no doubt she would have kept her chin taut with strategic Botox shots and her bare arms buff from the gym. Remarriage? At least two, I suspect, on both sides of the Atlantic."

Brown details all sorts of escapades that might have happened, with men, with her ex-husband, in politics and more. And would Diana have found peace? "Yes, I believe she would," writes Brown.

But the Los Angeles Times ponders a different question - about the "jarring" cover, asking: "Shocking, brilliant or just plain cheap?" Most readers, it appears, find it "horribly" offensive. How about you?

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This seems REALLY tacky.

I hope her sons don't see this on the newstands. :(

ETA: Newsweek has also created a fake Facebook page for Diana (thanks vag_breath):

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