When Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles and became Princess of Wales, with a lavish ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, July 29 1981 went down as one of the most famous days in history. Her dress specifically became iconic in its own right, which is why it may be surprising to hear that Diana actually had a second gown option waiting in the wings, that even she didn’t know about. David Emmanuel, the designer behind her instantly recognizable bridal look, has revealed that he and wife Elizabeth secretly created a more understated back-up wedding dress for Diana, just in case.
Explaining that the decision was mostly for their own “peace of mind” to help cope with the immense pressures of keeping the dress a secret in the run up to the wedding, Emmanuel told People that even Diana wasn’t in on the second design.
"At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise,” he said, reported by Hello!. ”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."
Entirely different from the wedding dress that she did wear to wed Charles, Diana’s second dress remained unfinished, but was made from the same ivory silk taffeta material, and featured a ruffle neck silhouette. On the day, she instead wore her famous gown—immense in size, impact, and detail. Lady Diana's wedding dress was covered with over 10,000 pearls and sequins and, of course, it’s impossible to forget the legendary 25-foot long train.
Having seen just how stunning Meghan Markle’s second bridal dress (that gorgeous Stella McCartney halter dress she changed into) was earlier this year at her wedding to Diana’s son, Prince Harry, it’s even more of a travesty to imagine the late princess’s second design never being seen. Luckily, there were many brilliant style moments from Diana to almost make up for it.