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Designer, Record-breaking Train & More

When Princess Diana walked down the aisle with King Charles III (then known as the Prince of Wales) in 1981, her extravagant wedding gown helped solidify her status as a fashion icon — and set trends for years to come: Mariah Carey, who married music executive Tommy Mottola in 1993, tapped Vera Wang to create a wedding dress inspired by Diana’s.

Ahead, learn about the history behind the iconic gown, including its designers, its cost and where it is today.

Who designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress?

David and Elizabeth Emanuel, also known as the Emanuels, designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress. She first became fond of the duo after wearing one of their chiffon blouses, which was custom-made for her engagement portrait session. The ruffled pink top recently fetched $381,000 at auction.

A chiffon blouse by the designer Emanuel, and worn by Princess Diana, at her first official portrait by Lord Snowdon, consequently published in Vogue in February 1981, is pictured during a press preview of the forthcoming exhibition entitled

The Emanuels’ pink chiffon blouse designed for Princess Diana’s engagement portraits.

AFP via Getty Images

“When she saw our blouse on the rack she fell in love with it, asked who had made it and was directed to us,” Elizabeth Emanuel said in her 2006 book, “A Dress for Diana.”

Diana herself selected the Emanuels to design her wedding gown, which, per Elizabeth, “had to be something that was going to go down in history, but also something that Diana loved” and which would be “suitably dramatic in order to make an impression.”

What is Princess Diana’s wedding dress made of?

A sketch of Princess Diana's wedding dress, royal wedding, bridal

A sketch of Princess Diana’s wedding dress.

Bettmann Archive

The gown was crafted from ivory silk taffeta and antique Carrickmacross lace, which had previously belonged to Diana’s great-grandmother-in-law, Queen Mary. Embroidery, sequins and over 10,000 pearls adorned its waistline, hem and train, which broke royal wedding records with a length of 25 feet.

A small blue bow was sewn into the waistband of the gown for Diana’s “something blue,” and an 18-karat gold horseshoe charm was also stitched in for good luck.

For “peace of mind,” the Emanuels designed a second gown for Diana’s wedding day. “At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise,” Elizabeth Emanuel told People in 2011. “Had the secret of the real dress got out it’s possible that Diana would actually have worn this one.”

The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana at St. Paul's Cathedral, royal wedding, bridal, dress

The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Getty Images

Sketches of the backup gown were first revealed in 2023. Also made from ivory silk taffeta — but without the antique lace — it was embroidered with scalloped details along the hemline and sleeves. Tiny pearls were also sewn onto the bodice. The alternate dress, however, has since vanished.

“It was really just a backup to the original and I don’t know where it went. It just disappeared,” Elizabeth Emanuel told Hello! last year.

How much did Princess Diana’s wedding dress cost?

At the time of its creation, Diana’s gown was worth approximately $114,800. Today, that’s equivalent to around $448,500.

Where is Princess Diana’s wedding dress today?

The wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales on display at an exhibition entitled

Princess Diana’s wedding dress on display in London in 2021.

AFP via Getty Images

In her will, Diana bequeathed her bespoke gown to her sons, Princes William and Harry. They officially inherited it in 2014, upon the latter’s 30th birthday.

They’ve since loaned out the wedding dress for exhibition: in 2021, it was put on display as part of Kensington Palace’s show titled “Royal Style in the Making,” which concluded in 2022.

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