The wedding dress that Diana, Princess of Wales wore in July 1981 will go down in history as one of the most iconic gowns of all time. But it turns out, Diana actually had a second wedding dress made for her – and she didn't even know it. Her designer David Emanuel and his then-wife Elizabeth created an additional, less lavish gown for their own "peace of mind". The couple were so paranoid that the design would be leaked that they had a back-up dress made.
"At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise," David told People. "We didn't try it on Diana. We never even discussed it. We wanted to make sure that we had something there; it was for our own peace of mind, really."
The second dress, which wasn't completely finished, was made from the same ivory silk taffeta and had ruffles around the neck. But it was less extravagant compared to Diana's show-stopping gown, which boasted over 10,000 pearls and sequins and featured a record-breaking 25-foot long train. On the wedding day, it was a tight squeeze for Diana to climb into the carriage that would take her to St Paul's Cathedral; even her father had difficulty fitting in alongside all 7.62m of the dress.
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Diana had a record-breaking 25-foot long train
David has spoken of his dismay at seeing her dress crease as she got out the carriage. Speaking in documentary Invitation To A Royal Wedding, David said: "We did know it would crease a bit but when I saw Diana arrive at St Paul's and we saw the creases I actually felt faint. I was horrified really because there was quite a lot of creasing there and she's been in this little carriage with her father who's quite tall and she was all crunched in."
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Diana and her dress designer David Emanuel
Despite the royal wedding dress putting him on the international stage, David has previously told HELLO! that some of the favourite pieces he made for Diana were from her private wardrobe – and will never be seen by the public. "There are one or two dresses in Diana's private wardrobe that nobody ever saw," he said. "They were lovely gowns but were never photographed and never seen.
"Two days before Diana's wedding, it was the fun party, the ball at Buckingham Palace that I went to, and that dress I made was in shocking pink taffeta, very skin-tight, very fitted to the floor with quite a plunging neckline. And up until then, the world had only ever seen Diana as a kindergarten teacher, and on that night at her party before the wedding, I think she more than shocked – I think she dazzled people because you saw this fabulous girl with this fabulous figure."
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