The designer of Princess Diana’s wedding dress has opened up about their friendship as a new exhibition in Kensington Palace showcases a century of royal style, including Diana’s fairy-tale dress.
David Emanuel, 68, who co-designed the dress worn by Princess Diana in St Paul’s Cathedral, said Diana was “global icon of style, beauty and compassion”.
Speaking to Lorraine Kelly as the exhibition opened yesterday, David said, “It’s hard to believe it’s 40 years ago, all these memories come flooding back. It was fun, she was full of life, joyous. I know there was unrest in London, but people were aching for a fabulous time. It was a holiday, everyone had street parties, everyone came out with their flags and it was a joyous occasion.
“When I first met her, she was a teenager and she turned into this extraordinary woman. She was a global icon of style, beauty and compassion and that’s how the public loved her. She was a philanthropist, she cared, and that’s why people adored her.
“That dress has made millions and millions of dollars for good causes and charities. I was invited up by Charles Spencer before it opened officially to the public and then he travelled the world with it,” he added.
David was involved in last minute preparations on the wedding day.
“She was all dressed ready to go, looking fabulous, the beautiful blue eyes and I said ‘Darling, did you check the hooks in your petticoat’ and she said ‘No’. I had visions that huge petty would go adrift,” he said.
“All those memories come back she was fun and full of life, and once those blue eyes set on you, it was all over,” he added.
The dress, on loan from The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex for the exhibition, is among the most famous in bridal history. It features a fitted bodice overlaid at the centre both front and back with panels of antique Carrickmacross lace that had originally belonged to Queen Mary, the groom’s great-grandmother. Its gently scooped neckline and large puffed sleeves are trimmed with bows and deep ruffles of taffeta, a style popularized by the Princess in the early 1980s, while the full skirt is supported on a mountain of stiff net petticoats to create its famous silhouette.
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