Princess Diana fans will get the chance to see her iconic wedding dress in real life forty years after she wore it down the aisle thanks to a new fashion exhibition opening at Kensington Palace this summer.
Historic Royal Palaces curators announced on Monday that Prince William and Prince Harry have given their permission to have their late mother’s gown included as the centerpiece of a new temporary exhibition called Royal Style in the Making opening on June 3 in the Orangery of Kensington Palace. This will be the first time the wedding gown will be on display there since the Princess was in residence. The show will examine the relationship between fashion designers and their royal clients through the years. In addition to Diana’s gown designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel the show will also include important and never-before-seen historical pieces like a rare surviving toile for the 1937 coronation gown of the Queen Mother.
“Our summer exhibition at Kensington Palace will shine a spotlight on some of the greatest talents of British design, whose work has been instrumental in shaping the visual identity of the royal family across the twentieth century,” Matthew Storey, the exhibition curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said in a statement. “We’ll be exploring how the partnership between each designer and client worked, and revealing the process behind the creation of a number of the most important couture commissions in royal history. While one of the highlights will undoubtedly be Diana, Princess of Wales’s show-stopping Emanuel designed wedding dress, which goes on show at the palace for the first time in 25 years – we’ve got some real surprises up our sleeve for fashion fans!”
One of the designers behind Princess Diana’s gown, Elizabeth Emanuel, told People that getting to visit her creation at the exhibition, “will be like seeing an old friend after all these years. I was looking at the images again today and I can’t believe how many sequins we sewed on to the dress. This is going to be a wonderful exhibition.” The wedding dress has the longest train in royal history measuring 25 feet and covered in sequins. It also features a scoop neckline with a bow and flounce collar, huge puff sleeves, taffeta ruffles, and a fitted bodice with front and back panels made of antique Carrickmacross lace that originally belonged to Prince Charles’s great-grandmother, Queen Mary.
The exhibition will also kick off a number of commemorative events in honor of what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday. On July 1, a statue of the late royal commissioned by William and Harry will be installed at Kensington Palace to mark the twentieth anniversary of Diana’s death “and recognize her positive impact in the UK and around the world.” Royal insiders are also hopeful the statue will have a positive impact on her sons’ relationship and help them put an end to their year-long rift.
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