Princess Diana's wedding dress—that very '80s gown embroidered with 10,000 pearls and bedecked in frilled lace—is iconic. But it couldn't have had the same impact without its covert understudy, created without Diana's knowledge.
David Emanuel and his then-wife Elizabeth were tasked with creating Diana's dress—and doing their best to keep the final design a secret. The latter was no easy task given the media frenzy encircling Diana and her husband-to-be, Prince Charles, in advance of their big day, so the Emanuels found themselves taking extreme measures: making a second dress for "peace of mind."
"At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise," David told People in 2018. "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."
The second dress was never finished, and significantly less lavish than the one Diana actually wore—though considering that the Princess's dress boasted a 25-foot train and lace that once belonged to Queen Mary, just about anything would've been understated in comparison.
When the wedding day did finally come along, Diana's dress design had managed to remain a mystery, but the Emanuels were nervous all the same. "She was incredibly together and wasn’t panicking," Elizabeth Emanuel told People. "But I was really worried about all things that could possibly go wrong. We’d taken smelling salts, glucose tablets — what if she feels faint? What if she passes out? Spills something down her skirt? I had this kind of horror that maybe the train would drop off. We sewed her into things, we pinned her into things."
Luckily, all went well.
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