It was in the distant 1981, on July 29, when Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles and became Princess Diana that many people loved. Her fairytale-inspired custom wedding dress amazed everyone and became an eternal inspiration to the fashion industry. Although her life ended tragically in the summer of 1997, people still remember the wedding day and what she looked like then. The Princess wanted her dress to be a complete surprise and mystery until hours before the ceremony. Designer husband and wife team David and Elizabeth Emanuel designed the ivory gown with dramatic embroidery, 10 000 pearls, and a 25-foot train. Although you think you know all the details about her amazing wedding dress, you might have missed more than you imagine. Here are 12 things you probably didn’t know about Princess Diana’s iconic dress, courtesy of Doyouremember.
1. Diana was sewn into her dress.
Princess Diana worked hard to lose weight before her wedding and her waist shrunk over five inches in the months before the event. Interestingly the designers made five different bodices to fit, but ended up making last minute changes and eventually stitched her into the final version the day of the wedding. She looked beautiful, nevertheless!
2. The lace on the dress dated back to Queen Mary.
The antique lace on her dress was the vintage part of the gown, coming from a bag of cast-off scraps that were purchased at an auction by the Emanuels. When the lace was purchased, it was cleaned and pressed. Then, the designers also realized the lace dated back to Queen Mary’s day.
3. Designers made a matching umbrella just in case it rained.
Elizabeth Emanuel purchased two antique silk parasols and covered them with white and ivory fabric. This was made so as no one knew which one actually matched her dress. The umbrella was hand-embroidered with pearls and sequins and the same lace was also used. However, Princess Diana didn’t use it, as the day was quite dry.
4. Diana left her dress to Prince William and Harry in her will.
After the wedding, the dress made many public appearances all over the world. Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, was in charge of it when the dress was on display at the family’s Althorp estate in Northampton. Later on, Diana instructed that the dress would be entrusted by her sons Prince William and Prince Harry to look after once Harry turned 30. In 2014, Charles gave the dress to his nephews.
5. Her silk shoes took six months to make.
Although barely visible, the silk slippers that Diana wore took six months to make! They featured 542 sequins and 132 pearls that formed a heart-shaped design. Moreover, the soles were painted by hand and featured a custom C and D design on the arch.
Interestingly, as Princess Diana and Prince Charles were similar in height, the slippers were low in height.
6. The designers had to install blinds and a safe to hide the dress.
When the media found out that the Emanuel duo was designing Diana’s dress, a lot of people wanted to go inside and take a peek. Elizabeth and David installed heavy-duty blinds on their windows and actually had a safe to protect the dress. “It sounds a bit over-the-top, but it really did seem like people would go to any lengths to find out what the dress looked like,” Elizabeth explained.
7. Her gown barely fit in the carriage.
Designer David Emanuel admitted that Diana wanted a longer train. But the designers had to make sure that this would perfectly be folded and fit into the carriage. Unfortunately, the gown was so long that the taffeta barely fit and got crushed in the coach she took to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Moreover, Elizabeth explained that this ride made visible wrinkles on the dress as well.
8. She had an accidental perfume stain on the dress.
Princess Diana accidentally spilled her Quelques Fleurs perfume on the front of her dress when she was getting ready. This was admitted by her makeup artist Barbara Daly. Fortunately, she was able to tuck the stained area. No one noticed it after all. However, Diana was later on pictures hiding the stain with her bouquet of flowers.
9. The veil was longer than the train.
Designer David Emanuel stated that there was no question that the veil should be dramatic and extend past the hem of the dress. The extravagant veil was anchored by her tiara and used 153 yards of tulle total. It actually accompanied a dramatic train that reached 25 feet! “We wanted her to look like no princess had ever looked before,” Elizabeth Emanuel explained. “So we set out to discover the length of the longest royal wedding dress train there’d been, and discovered it was 23ft. We joked that we could go one better — in fact, two feet better — and make one that was 25ft. She loved the idea.”
1o. A tiny horseshoe charm was sewn on the inside.
In order to ensure good luck and a prosperous marriage, the designers added a tiny horseshoe into the label of the dress. The token was an 18-carat Welsh gold charm created by jeweler Douglas Buchanan. “It was just there as a little token, a second good luck charm, from us to Diana,” the Emanuels explained of this gesture.
11. She followed the something old, new, borrowed and blue tradition.
Although Princess Diana was a very progressive royal with modern thinking, she still maintained some wedding traditions. The fabric was spun specifically for the dress at a British silk farm. Moreover, the lace was antique, and the gown had a small blue bow sewn into the waistband. For the borrowed part, she borrowed a Spencer family heirloom — an 18th-century tiara!
Here are some never-before-seen photos of the wedding.