One final Diana post to finish out the sad 20th anniversary of her passing — a look at something happier: her wedding dress. Up above, you can see me (looking slightly stunned!) posing with the dress, during a 1992 trip to England. It was displayed at Kensington Palace at that time.
The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was a huge media event, with over 750 million viewers worldwide. And a big part of the wedding’s attraction was the furor of excitement over Princess Diana’s wedding dress.
Let’s dust off the archival tapes to remember some fascinating facts about that gorgeous gown.
The 25-Foot Train
The train on Diana’s gown was a famous 25 feet in length – the longest in royal history. London designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel designed the train with the wedding venue in mind. St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Charles and Diana married, was a church much larger than Westminster Abbey, where William and Kate tied the knot.
Few who watched the wedding will forget the spectacle of Diana emerging at St. Paul’s from her carriage, looking like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.
The Backup Dress
The Emanuels created an extra, “backup” wedding dress identical to the one Diana actually wore. Diana never tried the extra dress on, and its details were never completed. It was sewn in case of an emergency situation on the wedding day. The British royals are always prepared, of course.
A Slew of Silk
The Emanuels wanted to create Diana’s wedding dress from British silk, but the entire colony of silkworms could not meet the demand. They ended up importing a 40 meter roll of silk needed to create the fairy tale gown, which they glammed up with 10,000 sequins and poufed out with 100 meters of net for an underskirt.
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Diana’s wedding dress kept with tradition, including something old (antique lace), something new (bits of British silk, specially spun for the dress at a farm in Dorset), something borrowed (her Spencer family tiara), and something blue (a small blue bow sewn into the waistband of the gown). A tiny, 18-karat gold and diamond horseshoe was sewn into the dress for luck as well – too bad it didn’t work.
Diana arrived at St. Paul’s in a glass coach, and getting her into the coach proved quite a trick. It took staff 30 minutes to fit Diana, her huge dress and train, and her father all into the coach for their trip to the church. The train was folded onto her lap.
She emerged with the dress quite wrinkled, but a crew of helpers spritzed and fluffed it for its famous trip down the aisle. Not even princesses are perfect all the time.
Did you watch the royal wedding of Charles and Diana? What are your memories of the event?