Wedding dress of Lady Diana SpencerEdit

Her Dre
Artist David and Elizabeth Emanuel

Stephen Walters

Year 1981 (1981)
Type Ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gow


The dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and was described as a dress that "had to be something that was going to go down in history, but also something that Diana loved", and one which would be "suitably dramatic in order to make an impression". Diana Spencer had personally selected the designers to make her wedding dress as she had been fond of a chiffon blouse which they designed for her formal photo session with Lord Snowdon.

The woven silk taffeta was made by Stephen Walters of Suffolk. In the making of the dress, the Emanuels consulted Maureen Baker, who had made the wedding dress of Princess Anne. One observer wrote of the dress, "the dress was a crinoline, a symbol of sexuality and grandiosity, a meringue embroidered with pearls and sequins, its bodice frilled with lace". The traditional Carrickmacross lace-making technique used on the wedding dress was later used on the wedding dress of Kate Middleton in her marriage to Prince William, Diana's eldest son. It was also decorated with hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls. The making of the dress posed difficulties, given that Diana had developed bulimia and had dropped from a size 14 to a size 10 in the run-up to the wedding; even the seamstress was concerned about her weight loss and that the dress would not fit as it should. Due to the length of the train, Diana's father found it difficult to fit inside the glass coach to accompany his daughter to the cathedral.

Reception and influenceEdit

After the wedding, few specifically wanted a dress in the same design, but large puffed sleeves, a full skirt and "soft touch fabrics" became popular requests. Copies by other dressmakers were available "within hours" of the 1981 wedding.

Even after the styles became dated, many considered it a "gold standard" in wedding dresses. However, continued appreciation for the dress was not universal: one 2004 bridal magazine listed it as "too much dress, too little princess." Nevertheless, in 2011, Elizabeth Emanuel noted that she still received requests for replicas of Diana's dress.

The dress has toured for many years with the exhibition "Diana: A Celebration", though generally it stays for only part of the exhibit. Althorp House, Northampton is the primary display location of the dress.