In our last post, we spoke in depth about Princess Diana’s travelling wardrobe and the oodles of outfits she had to pack to ensure she had just the right thing for every occasion. For a prime example of how Diana dressed for the occasion during her travels, let’s step back to the Prince and Princess of Wales’ tour of Canada in 1983.
The Princes and Princess of Wales were invited to a semi-formal Klondike themed BBQ in Edmonton, Alberta and, as you can see in the above photo, they really got into the spirit of things!
This event was in held on June 29, 1983 so keep in mind that Diana was just 21 years old at the time.
Once the event was on the schedule, costume designer John Bright visited Princess Diana at Kensington Palace with some options. To give some context, John Bright’s credits include both Sense and Sensibility and Remains of the Day. Diana looked over the options he presented and ultimately chose this peach dress. To finish off the look, Mr. Bright designed a hat to go with it.
This informative Princess Diana website describes the dress follows:
“It is a form-fitting princess line gown of pink/peach wild silk with a swagged overskirt ruched at sides and back to reveal a silk lace flounced underskirt and a short train. The lace is repeated at the collar, jabot and cuffs. The coordinating hat, which Bright designed specifically for Diana, is cream petal straw trimmed with period velours au sabre silk ribbon, silk flowers and pearl sprigs.”
Here is a closer look at the hat:
What makes this dress extra special is that it wasn’t the first time it was worn. It was actually designed by Linda Mattock and John Bright for Lillie Langtry, a 1978 miniseries about a woman who had been a mistress of Prince Charles’ great-great grandfather Prince Edward, the future King Edward VII. Camilla Parker-Bowles’ great-great grandmother Alice Keppel had been another of his mistresses.
Apparently Princess Diana had watched the miniseries, was well aware of this connection, and chose the dress as a bit of a cheeky gesture. To make things even more interesting, Lillie Langtry had accompanied the future King Edward to Edmonton as well during a tour of Canada. I mean, you just can’t make this stuff up! [Source]
This is Lillie on a cigarette card circa 1900.
Here is a photo of actress Francesca Annis in the dress as Lillie:
This dress is also included as one of the many costume repeats out there in the delightful blog Recycled Movie Costumes. Check it out, but be warned: time flies when you’re on that site!
What do you think – was Diana giving Charles a not so subtle message with her choice of dress?