Why Princess Diana Had A Second Wedding Dress Made

Princess Diana's immense fame required that she secure a backup wedding gown for her big (and historic) day. Princess Diana's wedding to then-Prince Charles is still one of the most memorable royal weddings in history. This fact remains even though Diana almost called off the wedding and would go on to endure an unhappy marriage with the future king — partially due to his public affair with Camilla Parker Bowles — that ended one year before she died in a car accident.

Although there was a ton of excitement around the actual union between Diana and Charles, Princess Diana's gorgeous $115,000 wedding dress, which featured a 25-foot train, also garnered plenty of attention. According to Today, which spoke with David Emanuel, one half of the duo that designed Diana's dress — the media was so fervent in its search to uncover details about the dress, that he and his team had to purposefully mislead them. "The press would go through our (waste) bins looking for any scrap of fabric," Emanuel said. "So we were naughty — we put some pale pink in, pale lemon. Of course, the next day, the press (says), 'The Emanuels are doing a pale pink wedding dress.' It's kind of fun, but they took it seriously."

With that said, Princess Diana almost wore an entirely different wedding dress.

Princess Diana's backup wedding dress was designed to fool the media

Princess Diana may have resented some of the attention she received, but that did little to lessen the intense interest in her life. That's why her dress design team, which also included Elizabeth Emanuel, David Emanuel's now-ex-wife, created a backup dress for her wedding should the media have successfully unveiled her original dress. 

"The spare wedding gown was made just in case the secret of the real dress ever got out." Elizabeth told Hello! in August. "Fortunately, it was never used." Diana's second dress consisted of "pale ivory silk taffeta with embroidered scalloped details on the hem and sleeves," she added. "Tiny pearls were sewn on the bodice."

In the end, the designers' loyalty to Princess Diana was far stronger than any amount of money. As the New York Post reported, Elizabeth and David skipped over a hefty payday, which would've required them to leak their designs to the press. In hindsight, it's not exactly shocking that the designers showed extreme loyalty to the late princess. When detailing the first of several meetings with the would-be princess, regarding the dress' creation, Elizabeth's enduring regard for Diana was clear. "She was so young and just so sweet and shy, and it was really fun," Elizabeth shared in 2022. "It was a big adventure for her suddenly to see all the clothes in the showroom. And she put a lot of trust in us, really, to come up with clothes that would suit her."

Princess Diana made sure to share her gratitude

Princess Diana's backup dress never made it to the public eye, and according to David and Elizabeth Emanuel, it has since "disappeared" (via Hello!). However, her design team still had plenty of work to do on her wedding day. According to the Daily Mail, the designers were tasked with dressing Princess Diana. Once it was time for Diana to put on her dress, David crawled underneath to make sure the petticoat had been properly fastened. "It had a double hook to make sure it didn't fall off," Elizabeth noted. "We wanted her to feel comfortable, but it also had to be secure."

Even though Princess Diana could've easily forgotten about the duo that created her dress, she made sure to thank them for their hard work. "After all the photographs, they went in to have the wedding breakfast and I went back to my studio in Mayfair," David told Hello! in 2020. "All of my workroom ladies were there so we had a glass of champagne. We had a little party and just as I'm about to lock up, the phone rings... I thought who's calling? It was Diana! She said 'I just wanted to say thank you so much for the gown. I loved it. Prince Charles loved it. All the family loved it.'" According to David, hearing from Diana was "special" not because of her royal status, but because she was a client whom he wanted to be happy.