Princess Diana’s Wedding Dress Secrets Revealed

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The dress is said to be worth £6,000 ($7,300 US) – three times the UK national average, but is a bargain from the more recent wedding dresses that have cost $2 million for such stars as Kim Kardashian.

Princess Diana hand selected the designers to make her wedding dress because she was fond of a chiffon blouse they had designed for her formal photo session with Lord Snowdon.

The dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who described it as a dress that “had to be something that was going to go down in history, but also something that Diana loved”, and which would be “suitably dramatic in order to make an impression”.

David Emanuel said that he had multiple visits with Princess Diana in regard to designing her wedding gown. After a few sessions, she asked if she could bring her mother with her to their next visit.

The whole process had to be kept top secret because of the press. “I showed her a sketch and ripped the sketch up because we didn’t want it floating around,” he said.

A sketch of her dress could have received a huge amount of money at auction these days.

The dress had been displayed around the world for many years, and has now gone back to the royal family once more.

The woven silk taffeta was made by Stephen Walters of Suffolk. The Emanuels consulted Maureen Baker, who had made the wedding dress of Princess Anne, during their construction of the gown.

The gown was decorated with hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls. The lace used to trim it was antique hand-made Carrickmacross lace which had belonged to Queen Mary. In contrast, the wedding dress of Kate Middleton, for her marriage to Prince William, Diana’s eldest son, incorporated motifs cut from machine-made lace appliquéd to silk net.

Fittings of the dress posed difficulties because Diana had developed bulimia and dropped from a size 14 to a size 10 in the months leading up to the wedding. Even the seamstress was concerned about her weight loss and feared the dress might not fit as it should.

The twenty-five-foot train posed problems. According to writer Andrew Morton, in Diana: Her True Story, the gown’s designers realized too late that they had forgotten to allow for the train’s length in relation to the size of the glass coach Diana and her father rode in to the ceremony.

 

The dress set wedding fashion trends after the wedding. Large puffed sleeves, a full skirt and “soft touch fabrics” became popular requests.

Copies by other dressmakers were available “within hours” of the 1981 wedding.

 

Many bridal experts considered the dress a “gold standard” in wedding fashion in the years after the wedding.

In his 2003 memoir, A Royal Duty, Paul Burrell wrote that Diana had wanted the dress to be part of the fashion collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

 

The dress has toured for many years with the exhibition “Diana: A Celebration”, though generally it stays for only part of the exhibit. Althorp House, Northampton is the prime display location for the dress.

Diana’s dress transferred ownership from her brother to her sons in 2014 because she had requested that her belongings be handed back to them when they both turned 30.

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