Picking out the perfect wedding dress is something that many brides dream of ahead of their big day. Wedding dresses can be very expensive, costing hundreds to thousands of dollars, but the high cost of a wedding dress is nothing to members of the royal family who typically have their dresses custom made for their own weddings.
This ensures a flawless — and pricy — fit. In the case of Princess Diana, the cost of her wedding finery was even higher as she had not one but two dresses made when she married Prince Charles.
While it’s not uncommon for a bride to wear one dress to the ceremony and another to the reception, Princess Diana’s second wedding dress wasn’t actually worn. She had a far different reason for having two frocks made. Her dress designers, Elizabeth and David Emanuel, reportedly had a second dress at the wedding in case anything happened to the first.
Princess Diana's wedding dress designers were worried the design would be leaked
The second dress was a sort of insurance policy the designers wanted to have in place not just in the event of disaster befalling the first dress, but also in case the design of the gown was leaked to the press. “At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise,” Elizabeth told People. “Had the secret of the real dress got out it’s possible that Diana would actually have worn this one.”
She explained that the second dress was not made at the soon-to-be royal’s request, though, and that they “didn’t try it on Diana.” Instead, the dress was for the designers’ “peace of mind.”
Designing Princess Diana’s wedding dress was a massive break for the Emanuels, who were only in their 20s at the time. It makes sense that they wanted all of their bases covered for such a huge moment not just in royal history but in their careers. Elizabeth told the Daily Mail that the backup dress was similar to the one that Princess Diana ended up wearing on her big day, although it was a bit simpler. “It was only three-quarters finished — we simply didn’t have time to make it in its entirety, so none of the embroidery or finishing touches were done,” she said.
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