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Lady Diana's iconic wedding dress is on display at Kensington Palace Orangery

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

Kensington Palace’s newly-conserved historic Orangery hosts the exhibition

"Royal Style in the Making" where visitors can admire the iconic wedding dress worn by

Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 when she married Charles, Prince of Wales.

The exhibition provides a sneak peek into the exclusive world of the atelier and explores the intimate relationship between the royal family and fashion designers to reveal the whole process behind the design of some of the most legendary couture commissions in royal history.

The 25-foot train is one of the most impressive parts of Princess Diana's gown.
The record-breaking 25-foot sequin-encrusted train is one of the most impressive parts of Princess Diana's gown.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is, without a doubt, the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales, designed by husband-and-wife duo David and Elizabeth Emanuel. The most famous gown in bridal history was traditionally made exclusively from British materials.

Considered one of the best-kept secrets in fashion history, the spectacular ivory ensemble is on show for the first time at Kensington Palace in 25 years, along with its remarkable 25-feet sequin encrusted train that theatrically filled the aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral (BTW, did you know it’s the longest in royal history?).

For luck, designers concealed a gold horseshoe charm inside the waistband.
For luck, designers concealed a gold horseshoe charm inside the waistband.

Although in 1981 the dress was valued at £9000, after its most recent evaluation (2019) of a whopping £151,000, it became one of the most expensive royal wedding dresses.

A few details about the most iconic royal fashion moments in history.
A few details about the most iconic royal fashion moments in history.

The celebrated silhouette is dominated by a full skirt sustained by a mountain of stiff net petticoats, along a gently scooped décolletage, large Eighties era-defining puffed sleeves, bows, and dramatically deep ruffles of taffeta. All these majestic little details create the style popularized by the Princess in the early 1980s.

The elaborate turquoise silk gown worn by fashion-loving Princess Margaret at a 1964 Georgian-themed ball
The elaborate turquoise silk gown worn by fashion-loving Princess Margaret at a 1964 Georgian-themed ball.

On display, many fabric swatches, original sketches, and unseen photographs from the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection.

Visitors have the unique chance to learn more about the powerful symbolism of a coronation gown or the romance of a royal wedding dress since the display also features a rare, surviving toile for the 1937 coronation gown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, consort of King George VI, and never-before-seen items of famous royal couturiers.

All creations and items on show demonstrate the unique attributes each couturier brought to the royal wardrobe. Set along with examples of their most famous works, every single detail here helped in their own unique way to propel the British fashion industry onto the international stage and shaped the public image of the monarchy.


Princess Diana with her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, who have loaned their mother’s wedding dress for this exhibition.
Princess Diana with her sons, Princes William and Harry, who have loaned their mother’s wedding dress for this exhibition.

The Kensington Palace Orangery, built in 1704-1705 for Queen Anne
The Kensington Palace Orangery, built in 1704-1705 for entertaining and Queen Anne's parties.

The "Royal Style in the Making" exhibition is at 📍 Kensington Palace's recently-restored Orangery until 02 January 2022 📅 Book tickets here.


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