Guest Post – Diana’s Wedding Gown

Hofdame Note: Thank you to Baguette Elizabeth Davies for providing these photos and writing this lovely post. She captured some amazing detail on Diana’s wedding gown. Please note the photos are her property, so we request that you do not copy them elsewhere!

I went to the Royal Style in the Making Exhibition at Kensington Palace on Saturday. I am excited to share my photos and findings on Princess Diana’s wedding dress. We know certain Baguettes are very interested.

Front of the Gown

I was able to get up close and personal with Diana’s wedding gown, albeit through a glass case. Although it is still not on my all-time favourites list, it was rather beautiful in the detail. There was a filmed interview with Elizabeth Emanuel, retelling how Diana phoned her to ask if she would make the dress. Elizabeth said Diana knew what style they were producing at the time and liked all the initial sketches. The bodice was trimmed front and back with some lace that had belonged to Queen Mary. The Emanuels didn’t want to embroider over it, but embellished it with seed pearls and lots of sequins to make it glitter and shine, which it definitely does.

The burning question we here all wanted answering, was “How did that train attach to the dress?

Train Waistband

It is clear from the photos in the exhibition that the full tulle pettitcoat was separate from the gown; the gown skirt is integral with the bodice but the train is also separate. You can see from this picture that it is on its own waistband. Your intrepid reporter went down on my knees to see if I could get further clues, as nothing was mentioned in any text or commentary in the exhibition.

This is the best photo I could manage through the glass; but it was clear that the waistband of the train was threaded through a slit hidden under a fold at the side of the skirt, thus invisible under Diana’s elbow.

Side View

You can see the deep folds/gathers at the side of the skirt, into which the train waistband is threaded. Presumably, it then had several button/hook/velcro (Hofdame Note: or buckle – see below) fastenings to secure it around her waist. 

Hofdame Note: We are a bit gobsmacked by the above and beyond efforts of Elizabeth! I think she’s given us food for thought on the train. It’s definitely threaded through the waist. Also, Baguette ella dropped this in last week’s Bits comments:

‘Soon after this David was attaching the train to the dress. It has a strap and you put this through two holes in the side of the bodice, bring it under the dress and buckle it up so you can take it off afterwards.”

–Elizabeth Emanuel Daily Mail 29 July 2021 Interview with Ian Gallagher

Thank you to the community for piecing together this long-term Handbag mystery! Now off to solve the provenance of the Burmese Ruby tiara ; ).