Princess Diana's secret second wedding dress

Eliza Velk
Junior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Princess Diana’s royal wedding dress is undeniably one of the most iconic wedding dresses in history, but it turns out the 80s style gown wasn’t the only design she had planned for the special day.

Rather, her dress designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, had decided to create a backup gown in case the initial design was leaked to the public prior to the day Diana would wed Prince Charles on July 29th, 1981. 

Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress. Source: Getty

Given the high levels of media attention leading up to the royal wedding, the designers weren’t willing to take any risks and wanted to “make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise,” according to the designer, Elizabeth. 

“We wanted to make sure that we had something there; it was for our own peace of mind, really,” she told People. 

So what did this mystery dress look like, you ask?

Well according to the designers, it was much the same as the original, featuring embroidered ivory silk taffeta gathered from the waist down with a similar ruffled neckline, only with a deeper v-cut. 

The sketch of Diana’s secret second royal wedding gown by designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel.  Source: REX USA

The main difference was that it did not feature the signature lace as the final gown did, nor were the sleeves puffy like the original.

However, as the secret never got out, the backup dress was never actually completed and Diana never even tried it on – in fact she didn’t even know about it.

“We didn’t try it on Diana. We never even discussed it,” Elizabeth added talking to People.

Within time, the designer duo also created a third gown, only this was to be an exact replica of the final design the princess wore and intended to be displayed at Madame Tussauds. 

There was also a replica made of Diana’s dress which is now in Madame Tussauds. Photo: Getty Images

Both Elizabeth and David have since sympathised with the designers that were in charge of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle’s gown, after knowing how much pressure there is to keep the royal design a secret.

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