Princess Diana was one of the most memorable style icons of her time. And though the list of timeless Princess Diana looks is long, there’s one statement-making gown that takes the crown: the wedding dress worn by 20-year-old Diana Spencer when she officially became royalty. But many still don't know the real story behind Princess Diana's wedding dress.
Worn on July 29, 1981, Princess Diana’s wedding gown was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. The dress was an ‘80s dream, with a ruffle neckline, full skirt, and puffed sleeves, made of silk taffeta with lace trim and embellished with pearls.
It featured a train that measured 25 feet in length and the veil cascaded even further behind that, trailing a dramatic 153 yards of tulle in her wake. Rumor has it that Diana even had a second back-up wedding gown waiting in the wings if the first was leaked to the press before her big day. Luckily, though, it didn’t have to come to that.
One of the most recognizable bridal gowns in history, Princess Diana's wedding dress is still referenced today, in museums, movies, and of course, series like Netflix's The Crown. And thought it's been almost 40 years since her wedding, fans are still inquiring about such specific details as the wedding dress designer, weight, cost, and train length — and of course, where the dress is today. Scroll down for more details about Princess Diana's wedding dress and info on how they recreated it for Season 4 of The Crown.
Where is Princess Diana's wedding dress now?
Princess Diana's will stated that her iconic wedding dress would be gifted to her children, Princes William and Harry, upon her death. Its exact whereabouts are unknown, but there is no reason to believe that it isn't living comfortably among many of Diana's other clothing and jewels that were passed to her children in August 1997.
Who made Princess Diana's wedding dress?
Princess Diana's wedding gown was made by husband and wife team David and Elizabeth Emanuel. It was crafted of taffeta, tulle, lace, and a whopping 10,000 pearls. A second dress was designed just in case the initial one leaked to the press, but it has since mysteriously disappeared from the studio.
How much did Princess Diana's wedding dress weigh?
While the dress' weight specifically is unknown, it can be extrapolated that it was quite hefty. Made of taffeta that amassed a 25-foot train, 153 yards of tulle, lace, and pearls, the volume of the entire look was nearly too large to fit in Diana's arrival carriage. In fact, the Princess was so stuffed into her vehicle to her own wedding ceremony that the dress famously arrived wrinkled.
How much did Princess Diana's wedding dress cost?
In 1981, Diana's gown would have been estimated to cost roughly £115,000. Today, that would be over £443,722 in euros and $589,800 in US dollars. And that's not even taking into account the inflation of purchase cost purely based on the gown's icon status. In short, it's nearly priceless.
How did 'The Crown' recreate Princess Diana's wedding dress?
As the gown is so iconic in the real world, The Crown costume designer, Amy Roberts, found the task to re-create it a bit daunting. “The challenge for me was not to be frightened of it because it seems to me that is the dress that everybody knows, don’t they?” Roberts told Bustle.
To learn more about the original garment, Roberts met with one of the gown's designers, David Emanuel, who shared copies of the inaugural design.
Emanuel made sure The Crown costume team didn’t feel pressure to replicate exactly what he had done nearly forty years ago. “He was very light about the whole thing,” shared Roberts, “and he said, ‘Just do it. Just do it and enjoy it.’ So that kind of released us from the fear.”
To that end, Roberts took certain liberties when recreating Princess Diana's iconic wedding gown. “I’m always saying if there were 2,022 pearls on that dress, I just needed to see some pearls on there. It didn’t need to be that exact amount. It could be 20,” she said, nothing that the original actually featured 10,000.
Some details were copied exactly. “We did replicate the lace," Roberts revealed. "And the son of the man who made the original lace in Nottingham, which is our big lace center in the UK, he recreated the lace for us.”
The replication of the dress itself took three people four weeks and 600 hours to create. Even the costume boasts a whopping 95 meters of fabric and 100 meters of lace, with a train that measures 30 meters on its own.
And, daunting or not, Roberts and her team executed the gown with such strict mastery that the similarities between the dress on The Crown and the original were uncanny. “You know that magical, almost Walt Disney fairytale princess,” Roberts shared. “It’s every little girl’s fantasy of what a princess should look like. That was the big thing for us. And the 25-foot train. And that’s what we did.”