Both Prince William and Prince gave their consent to lend out their beloved mother's infamous wedding dress.
It was on July 29, 1981, that one of the most iconic moments in history occurred — a young Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in a fairytale-style wedding. And while the event itself was spectacular, it was the People's Princess who caught everyone's attention as she appeared from her carriage, looking stunning in her famous wedding dress.
Though she may be gone, not only does her legacy live on, but the dresses that made her a fashion icon do too. Now, the famed wedding gown which had a 25-foot train, the longest in royal history, will be displayed at Kensington Palace for the first time in 25 years, according to People.
38-year-old Prince William and 36-year-old Prince Harry consented to let the Historic Royal Palaces borrow their mother's gorgeous full silk taffeta bridal gown for a temporary exhibition. The exhibition, titled Royal Style in the Making, is set in the Orangery on the Kensington Palace grounds and will begin on June 3, 2021. And it is Princess Diana's dress, designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, that will be the main star of the showcase.
"Its gently scooped neckline and large puffed sleeves are trimmed with bows and deep ruffles of taffeta, a style popularized by the Princess in the early 1980s," Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) said while mentioning the exhibition, according to CNN. The lace was also overlaid with 10,000 pearls and 3mm mother-of-pearl sequins. A taffeta bow tied together the two halves of the collar and was mirrored by bows and frothy lace at the ends of the sleeves.
The gown also had a fitted bodice with both front and back panels highlighting antique Carrickmacross lace that had once belonged to Queen Mary, Charles's great-grandmother, according to the Daily Mail. While donning the gown, Princess Diana wore a huge petticoat made from more than 90 metres of tulle, a lightweight starched netting, which had to be "trimmed" to fit her shape.
As a backup, in case something happened to Princess Diana's skirts, a spare petticoat and extra silk skirt which could be fitted over the original were prepared while an extra 140 meters of tulle was added to the veil. The gown also had to keep getting resized due to the Princess of Wale's continuous weight loss.
Finally, the dress was valued at £9,000 back then which would now amount to a total of £35,500 today. Elizabeth Emanuel told People, "It will be like seeing an old friend after all these years. I was looking at the images again today and I can't believe how many sequins we sewed onto the dress. This is going to be a wonderful exhibition."
This wedding gown will be the first of many tributes to the late princess. In fact, in July 2021, Princess Diana's sons will reveal the highly-anticipated statue of her on the palace grounds. Had the infamous car accident in Paris not taken her away from the world prematurely, the Princess of Wales would have turned 60 on July 1. As for the exhibition, Matthew Storey, exhibition curator at Historic Royal Palaces said, "Our summer exhibition at Kensington Palace will shine a spotlight on some of the greatest talents of British design, whose work has been instrumental in shaping the visual identity of the royal family across the twentieth century," in a statement.
It continued, "We'll be exploring how the partnership between each designer and client worked, and revealing the process behind the creation of a number of the most important couture commissions in royal history. While one of the highlights will undoubtedly be Diana, Princess of Wales's show-stopping Emanuel designed wedding dress, which goes on show at the palace for the first time in 25 years – we've got some real surprises up our sleeve for fashion fans!" The last time Princess Diana's dress was on display in Kensington Palace was in 1995 and later exhibited at her childhood home, Althorp, in 1998 as a tribute to the late princess.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Mike Lawn / Stringer (R) William Thomas Cain