Season 4 of The Crown will portray Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles.
The wedding dress pictured in the Netflix series isn’t original, but was cloned especially for actress Emma Corrin, who will play a young Diana.
Here are 10 known facts about Princess Diana’s wedding day ensemble, including how much it cost, its length, and how it was protected.
Three seasons of The Crown have anticipated the arrival of Princess Diana—not to mention, the depiction of her historic 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, and perhaps more excitingly, the replication of her iconic gown. Emma Corrin , 24, will embody Lady Diana Spencer on-screen, and ultimately, walk down the aisle as her. In an October 2020 cover interview for British Vogue, the actress revealed that when she first emerged in the garment, “everyone went completely silent.”
The gown pictured in the Netflix series isn’t original, but was cloned especially for Corrin. “The Emanuels, who designed the original, gave us the patterns, and then it was made for me,” she explained. “I had a team of about 10 people helping me put it on, because it’s massive … more than anything else I wear in the series, it’s so… It’s her.”
Factoids about the dress and Di’s wedding day have swirled and distorted over the years, to the point where the truth and lore are easily confused. So we’re here to set the record straight. Here are 10 known facts about Princess Diana’s wedding day ensemble.
It was designed by then-married couple, Elizabeth and David Emanuel.
According to Tatler, Diana enlisted the pair to design her wedding dress after they made some of her first formal looks. “The gown was typical of early ’80s style—overblown, romantic, flouncy,” Elizabeth recently told British Vogue. “But we had to get it right because we knew it would go down in history.”
Yes, there was a second dress.
Not a replica, but an entirely different gown was designed in case details of the first were leaked, Elizabeth told British Vogue. And there was even a second skirt, ready to replace the first if accidentally coffee-stained. “Racking our brains for things that could go wrong was a game we played,” she added.
No, Diana didn’t have to be sewn into it.
There are rumors that the Emanuels sewed the princess into her gown before the ceremony. Although Diana’s waist did shrink between design consultations and the big day, per People, Elizabeth told British Vogue they didn’t have to stitch her in.
It cost an estimated £90,000.
The taffeta gown embellished with lace and 10,000 mother of pearl pearls was reportedly worth around $115,000 at the current U.S. exchange rate, per Tatler, but Elizabeth told British Vogue that they actually charged the royal family 1,000 guineas—an ancient British currency equivalent to about £1.05 per coin, per the Early Television Museum.
“We would have given it to Diana for free,” the designer admitted. “But that token amount seemed right, and my dad thought it would be romantic to use guineas.”
It boasted the longest train in royal history.
It was a stunning 25-feet, per British Vogue. And according to E! News, the veil was even longer.
A good luck charm was hidden inside.
It was an 18-carat gold trinket, reportedly a horseshoe, studded with white diamond and attached to the label, according to Tatler.
The designers created a matching umbrella, just in case.
But it admittedly wasn’t very waterproof. “It was made of such light material,” Elizabeth told Tatler. “Wouldn’t have done her much good!”
Her shoes were also custom-made.
Much deliberation went into the design of Di’s wedding shoes, which were created by celebrity shoemaker Clive Shilton. The princess was adamant about not appearing taller than Prince Charles, who, according to Tatler, was the same height as her: five foot 10. She and Shilton ultimately agreed on a pair of low-heeled, satin and lace slippers embellished with 500 sequins, 100 seed pearls, and the initials C and D painted on the arches.
Before the wedding, the dress was kept in a guarded safe.
Risking the dress’ exposure or worse, its theft was not an option leading up to the royal wedding. That’s why the Emmanuels locked it in a safe at night, per British Vogue, and security guards monitored it 24/7.
It has traveled around the world since Diana’s death.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the original dress was taken care of by Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer after her death in 1997, and was annually featured in an exhibit “Diana: A Celebration” at her family’s Althorp estate. It’s also been displayed within various exhibits around the world, and was given to her sons Prince William and Prince Harry on Harry’s 30th birthday.
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