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Elizabeth Emanuel

Fuchsia Silk Taffeta Ball Gown

The dazzling, shocking pink silk taffeta gown was created at the Emanuel studio for the then Lady Diana to wear at the pre-wedding ball held at Buckingham Palace on Monday, 27th July 1981. This was two days before the Royal Wedding on July 29th, 1981, when Lady Diana became HRH The Princess of Wales at her wedding to HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. Her iconic wedding gown became the most famous wedding gown in history and, even 42 years on, continues to attract media interest all over the world.

The original pink gown disappeared, and no photographs were taken at the party, so the only record of this fabulous garment is the reconstructed version created by Elizabeth Emanuel in 2022, based on her memories, archive records, and behind-the-scenes images.

Elizabeth recreated this very special, never-seen-before gown for display in The Princess Diana Museum.

The “Spare” Wedding Dress

In the run-up to the Royal Wedding, the Emanuels were under intense scrutiny by the media and realized the importance of taking on additional security to guard the wedding gown. Although we had two security guards, Jim and Burt, I decided to create a spare wedding gown just in case all our precautions failed and the gown was stolen, burnt in a fire, or its secret exposed. I never expected the gown to be used, but knowing it was there hanging on the rail gave me some peace of mind.

After the wedding, the spare gown stayed on the rail and eventually made its way to the sample rail with other half-finished gowns. At the time, we didn’t think there would be any interest in the spare gown, and like other uncompleted samples in those days, it was forgotten and lost over time.


The gown is made from the palest ivory embroidered silk taffeta and has a fitted bodice with a wide V-neckline with taffeta flounce and a tiny waist. The sleeves are slim and have double flounces of taffeta at the elbows. The center front and back panels of the bodice have been embroidered with tiny pearls and sequins. The bodice is attached to an embroidered gathered top skirt, which is hitched at the front and is worn over a separate plain taffeta skirt with a small train. The top dress and skirt are worn over a very large frothy off-white petticoat to give volume and emphasize the waist.

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We were thrilled to be a part of a panel event with 

People Magazine and Fotografiska New York to celebrate People's 50th Anniversary highlighting the magazine's milestones in pop culture; one such milestone being Princess Diana "who has graced the cover of the magazine the most times."

Pictured here: Renae Plant, curator of The Princess Diana Museum and Elizabeth Emanual, Diana's wedding dress designer, alongside the "Secret Back-Up Wedding Dress".

The Princess & The Platypus Foundation commissioned Elizabeth Emanuel to recreate the back-up wedding dress for the Princess Diana Museum.  Visit The Princess Diana Museum  to see this “secret” stunning wedding gown that Diana didn’t even know about.

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