The late Princess Diana's oh-so-eighties wedding dress is still deemed one of the most iconic wedding gowns to date. Designed by former husband-and-wife duo David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the notorious frock from her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles is estimated to be worth about $150,000. So much work went into creating the silk-and-taffeta number (25-foot train and all) that the designers even hired security to keep the ensemble completely under wraps. In fact, a sister dress was discreetly made for Princess Di's royal wedding in case the original sketches went public!
Yes, that's right—the People's Princess had a secret back-up edition of her famed puff-sleeve wedding dress, which she surprisingly never even knew about. "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."
But, don't get too excited. The second gown, which David and Elizabeth never fully finished, was nowhere near as lavish as the original. Because who has time to hand-embroider 10,000 pearls and sequins TWICE!? The alternative did bear one resemblance, featuring the same ruffled detailing along the neckline as Diana's actual wedding dress.
But it turns out having a spare dress is pretty common practice in the world of royal weddings. In a recent interview with Insider, Chloe Savage—the embroiderer who famously worked on both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's wedding dresses—suggested that both duchesses also had second gowns. "I suspect there always is in case of emergency, in case somebody releases photos early," she told the publication. "It only takes one person to ruin the surprise. For a day like that, when it's going to be so big, you really do need an emergency backup in some format."
Though Diana's second gown was never finished, the Emanuels admitted it existed and was very similar to the one she famously wore. But where is that dress now? "I don't know if we sold it or put it into storage," Emanuel shared with the Daily Mail before Meghan and Harry's royal wedding. "It was such a busy time. I'm sure it'll turn up in a bag one day!"
David had previously opened up to Express regarding his inspiration for Diana's wedding gown. "I wanted the dress to reflect that but she was going in as Lady Diana Spencer and coming out as the Princess of Wales," he said. "St Paul’s Cathedral was very grand."
"It was all about drama and making Diana a fairytale princess," Emanuel told British Vogue last year. "The gown was typical of early '80s style – overblown, romantic, flouncy – but we had to get it right because we knew it would go down in history."