Princess Diana wed wearing a stunning Victorian-style dress, made of ivory silk and taffeta lace. The dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanual and was hand-embroidered with more than 10,000 minuscule mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls. The dress also boasted the longest royal train in history at 25-feet long.
It was a dream of a dress and became an instant legend, as did Diana. She was young, only twenty, and although of noble blood, had been a kindergarten teacher. She captured the hearts of everyone, and her wedding dress somehow seemed so much a part of all the magic of what later became known as “the fairy tale wedding.”
And on September 15, Prince Harry, Diana’s youngest son, turns 30. On that day, the dress will be handed down to both Harry and his brother, Prince William. Diana had stipulated in her will that the gown be given to both her sons when Harry reached his milestone 30th.
In addition to the iconic wedding dress, other mementos will be part of the princes’ inheritances as Prince Harry turns 30. Various family jewels and tiaras, along with personal photos and letters, will be part of Harry’s touching birthday gift, as well as the original copy of their uncle’s tribute at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1991. The score and lyrics to the version of Candle in the Wind that Elton John adapted and performed at Diana’s funeral will also be included.
The dress has been looked after for the past 17 years by Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, at the family’s Althorp estate in Northampton, England, but he has known all along that he was only the temporary custodian of such a special item. Twice a year, Spencer displays the dress at Althorp for part of an exhibit entitled “Diana: A Celebration.” In addition to that, the dress has been on a world tour, as well, allowing any girl to look at it and imagine what it must be like, just for a moment, to don that dress and become a princess.
What will the two young men do with their mother’s iconic wedding dress, which is believed to actually be one of the “most famous pieces of couture” in the world?
Many Brits are hoping that Diana’s sons will return the dress to Kensington Palace in London to place it on permanent display. Kensington Palace was Diana’s former home, and her older son William keeps a residence there, known as Apartment 1A, while younger son Henry lives in Nottingham Cottage, a small residence located on the grounds of the palace.
Regardless of what Diana’s sons decide to do with the dress, there is something so moving about a mother deliberately leaving her wedding dress to her boys. It speaks more of the mother Diana was than the royal, displaying a tenderness towards her boys whom she viewed as her sons before she saw them as princes.
[Images via the Associated Press and People]