Princess Diana wedding dress: Designers, cost, train length and back-up gown explained
24th June 2021

IT HAS become one of the most iconic wedding dresses in history.

Princess Diana – who would have celebrated her 60th birthday on July 1st – wowed the world when she arrived at church on her wedding day in 1981.

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The late Princess of Wales, who was just 20 years old at the time, wed Prince Charles at St Paul's Cathedral in a voluminous bridal gown.

But what is the true story behind the stunning white, flowing frock?

Who designed Princess Diana's wedding dress?

The young bride's dress was designed by husband and wife duo, David and Elizabeth Emanuel.

In keeping with 1980's style, the ivory gown featured on-trend large puffed sleeves trimmed with bows and deep ruffles of taffeta.


The designers – who have since divorced – created it with 10,000 mother-of-pearl sequins.

It also had a bodice overlaid with panels of antique Carrickmacross lace that originally belonged to Queen Mary, the groom's great-grandmother.

Elizabeth has recalled, for a new Kensington Palace exhibition 'Royal Style in the Making, how the princess had telephoned to ask them to make the dress.


She said: "It was one of those strange moments where you know your life is never going to be the same again."

Speaking to The Guardian, her former husband said that the process was smooth, noting: “I’ve dealt with movie stars, actresses, divas, you name it, but this girl did not change from day one until the end. She was sweet as pie.”

How much did Diana's dress cost?

It cost £9,000 for the dress to be made.

However, it's historical significance meant that it immediately increased in value.

Some estimate that straight after the wedding it was worth £151,000.

Others suggest that the true value of the dress today is priceless.

How long were the veil and the train?

The train was an incredible 25ft long.

This was 5ft longer than the previous longest royal bridal train recorded.

To put that into context, Kate Middleton's was a mere 9ft for her 2011 big day.

Of the decision to make the train so long, David – who consulted on Netflix's The Crown – said: "St Paul’s is enormous, huge – you couldn’t do a low-key little gown.”

Did Princess Diana have a back-up gown?

Yes and no.

The Emanuels took special measures just in case sketches of the dress leaked.

As well as hiring security, they also created a secret second dress just in case – and not even the bride knew.

Speaking to People, Elizabeth explained: "At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise.

"We didn’t try it on Diana. We never even discussed it. We wanted to make sure that we had something there; it was for our own peace of mind, really.”

Where is Princess Diana's wedding dress now?

In 2014, the dress was inherited by Prince William and Prince Harry.

The brothers have recently allowed the gown to go on display at the Kensington Palace exhibition.

It will remain there, for the public to enjoy, until January 2nd, 2022.

The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex have also loaned their mum's going-away dresses to the exhibition.

In other royal news, we told you how Prince Charles gave a "substantial sum" to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle despite "cut off" claims.

We also revealed how Kate Middleton has finally ditched her skinny jeans for a fashionable "mom" pair.

And the Duchess of Sussex wrote a book about her freckles when she was 14 years old.

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