She was known as “the People”s Princess”, so it”s fitting that two of Princess Diana“s iconic dresses will now be displayed at Kensington Palace for the general public to see and enjoy.
The two gowns, which were sold as part of an auction on Tuesday, were bought by the Historic Royal Palaces, a charity that runs Diana“s former residence.
It spent £78,000 on a pink sequined crepe dress designed by Catherine Walker that the stylish royal wore in a state visit to Brazil in 1991, and £50,400 on a black Bruce Oldfield velvet dress worn for an official portrait by Lord Snowdon and at the gala opening of Les Miserables in 1985.
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The charity confirmed that the two gowns will remain in Britain and will be shown to the public in exhibitions as part of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection “conserving them for future generations and ensuring that visitors to Kensington Palace will be able to see these unique items for years to come”.
A Historic Royal Palaces spokeswoman said, “The two dresses mark the evolution of the princess” style from the romanticism of the mid-1980s to the sleek and sophisticated silhouettes of the early 1990s”, adding that the charity hoped at least one of the new dresses would go on display at the palace in an exhibition this summer.
The gowns were originally sold, along with a number of others, by the Princess herself following her divorce from Prince Charles. She auctioned them off to help raise money for charity, at the suggestion of her son Prince William.
On Tuesday, they went under the hammer again as ten of Diana“s “most important and iconic” gowns were sold at Kerry Taylor auctions. In total, the collection fetched over £800,000.
The star lot was the midnight blue velvet gown that Diana wore to a 1985 state dinner at the White House, where she famously twirled round the dance floor with John Travolta, which sold for £240,000. It was brought by a British gentleman as a surprise to “cheer up his wife”, auctioneer Kerry Taylor revealed.
“Bidders today were able to buy a unique slice of British history,” she said on Tuesday. “We attracted bidders from across the world, including three important museums so we are hopeful that now people will actually get to see some of the dresses that belonged to the People”s Princess.”