With permission from her two sons, Prince William and Harry, the design can be viewed up close by visitors as part of a temporary exhibition titled “Royal Style in the Making.” It will run until early next year and seek to highlight some of the most memorable fashion designs in British royal history.
At the request of the princess, the dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who incorporated bows, lace a fitted bodice and squares of antique lace that once belonged to Queen Mary. To this day, the dress continues to divide opinion.
Speaking to the “Good Morning Britain” television program on Thursday, Elizabeth Emanuel described the design as “very 80s,” admitting that the process of making “the ultimate fairy-tale princess dress” was “stressful.”
While some consider the dress to be exquisite, others find it hard to forget just how creased the creation appeared as the princess stepped out of the carriage she had been crammed into alongside her father, as well as that never-ending train ahead of the vows.
Photographs from the wedding day show Diana entering St. Paul’s with the crumpled fabric cascading around her. The scene stunned many watching — including the designers who have since told British media they were “horrified” when they saw how wrinkled the garment had become during the journey to the cathedral.
“I actually felt faint,” Emanuel recalled, adding that a dress rehearsal had taken place before the nuptials but that a different, less delicate material had been used.
Amid swirling rumors that Prince Charles had been unfaithful to Diana with Camilla Parker Bowles, the royal couple’s fairy-tale romance began to fall apart as the world’s media documented every crack in their union.
Photos taken of them during a trip to South Korea in 1992 showed the pair visibly unhappy in one another’s company. Their separation was announced later that year by John Major, Britain’s prime minister at the time.
After years of separation, Prince Charles and Diana officially divorced in 1996, a breakup that forced Diana to forfeit her title of royal highness. A year later, she was killed in a car crash in Paris while being chased by paparazzi.
At the time of her death, Prince William was 15 years old and Prince Harry was 12.
Both men have openly discussed the devastating impact the loss of their mother has had on their lives and their mental health. Harry recently told the Armchair Expert podcast that his wife, Meghan, had encouraged him to get therapy to confront his grief and lingering family problems.
As a tribute to Diana on what would have been her 60th birthday, a statue commissioned by her sons will be unveiled on the grounds of Kensington Palace on July 1. The princes are expected to reunite for the occasion — despite a tumultuous year for Britain’s royal family. During a two-hour televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan stunned viewers with numerous allegations about their lives as senior royals, driving a wedge between them and the family.
The princes have not been seen in public together since the funeral in April of their grandfather, Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Harry returned to the United Kingdom that month from California after more than a year away from the family.