Sentimental reason Diana’s wedding dress designer chose Spencer tiara for her big day

David Emanuel says he came ‘face to face’ with Queen Mother

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Diana, Princess of Wales married Prince Charles in 1981, in a wedding dress that has since gone down in royal history. One of the designers of the iconic gown was David Emanuel, who spoke exclusively to about the style choices of that wedding day. Diana wore a Spencer heirloom that belonged to her side of the family, instead of choosing a tiara from the royal collection.

David discussed this decision with, saying: “We discussed what as a royal she should wear for her tiara, and I remember saying to her ‘we need to see all your tiaras’, as Her Majesty the Queen might have allowed her to borrow one.

“We had an appointment at Buckingham Palace where we were doing a fitting and we went into another room where they laid out all these tiaras and some were terribly grand.

“I was very aware that she was young, she was fresh, but I pointed at one and said, ‘That’s really pretty,’ and she said ‘Oh, that’s my family tiara’.

“But out of all of them, I thought that one was lovely and pretty, feminine, wasn’t too large and she was touched.

“I thought, ‘It belongs to your family, perfect!’ That’s how that happened. She wore it after the wedding a few times, and it looked sensational on her.

“We wanted her to look like a fairytale Princess.”

David expanded on what it was like to dress Princess Diana.

He added: “Diana was a fabulous lady, I can honestly say beautiful and kind. Every time I did a new gown for her, she’d personally write us a note saying, ‘Thank you so much, I know you’re busy but thank you’.

“She was just wonderful and it was the greatest compliment when she rang and said, ‘Would you do the honour of designing my wedding gown?’

“We’re going back to 1981 and we’re still talking about it! About 10 years after that wedding gown was seen by over 700 million people, we actually realised what a huge influence it had. Not only in this country but around the world!

“For the next 10 years after that, every bridal designer wanted full-blown bouffant Cinderella-type gowns – that was pretty good.

“It lasted for about 10 years and then everything went slim and sexy.

“But I’ve just come back from the bridal exhibition in Barcelona and surprise surprise, everything is huge Cinderella dresses.

“Everybody’s doing big crinolines, so it’s back in fashion.”

David went on to describe the process of designing the iconic gown for Diana’s wedding day.

He commented: “It was the three of us, my ex-wife, myself and Diana. Very simple and we had some gowns in my small studio at the time in Brook Street.

“We promised it was going to be British, because the Queen’s wedding gown was British, as were other royals like the Princess Royal, Princess Anne.

“Now that was kind of scary because it was easier to get Swiss taffeta or French taffeta, but we had a silk supplier, and then we found a weaver, so it was a very British affair.

“The trimmings were all British. It had to be traditional – Diana had the something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

“We had a giggle when we found that the longest royal train was 20 feet, so I said ‘Yep, it’s St Paul’s!’

“St Paul’s is enormous, so I said, ‘Let’s make it bigger!’

“We decided on a 25-foot train and actually when you think about it, looking down the camera on the day, the train needed to be that long because St Paul’s is enormous and it was a long walk down that aisle.”

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