Princess Diana made ‘bold move’ wearing ‘revealing’ but ‘gorgeous’ dress to 1997 auction

Diana, Princess of Wales was known in the 1980s for her stunning style, and often over-the-top ballgowns. By the 1990s, her love of athleisure was loved by a whole new generation of royal fans.

However, royal fans may not be aware of the epic auction she held for charity in 1997. This charity auction came a year after Diana had divorced King Charles III, who was then the Prince of Wales.

In the summer of 1997, just two months before her tragic death, Diana put 79 of her dresses on auction with Christie’s in New York, the proceeds of which were to be spread between multiple charities.

These 79 dresses included some of the most famous of her life. The reason for the auction was presumed to rid the Princess of the dresses that represented a closed chapter in Diana’s life.

Christie’s creative director at the time, Meredith Etherington-Smith, said when she went to view Diana’s dresses at Kensington Palace she was surprised the Princess owned so many gowns.

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“The Princess said, ‘You can see my problem,'” Ms. Etherington-Smith noted. “I said, ‘I certainly can.'”

The auction brought in $3.25million for charity, or roughly £2.62million. The revenge dress, named so because she wore it the day after the televised admittance of her husband’s adultery, was the most popular item available.

Designed by Christina Stambolian, Diana wore the iconic black mini dress in 1994 at the Serpentine Gallery. It sold for a whopping $74,000, or roughly £59,000.

Daena Borrowman, the PR, Social and Digital Marketing Manager at jewellerybox, commented exclusively on the Christie’s auction for


She said: “The auction made sense for Diana as, recently divorced from Charles, she wanted to transcend her royal identity and embrace her own style.”

Princess Diana wore a low-cut pale blue cocktail dress designed by Catherine Walker to the iconic auction.

Daena continued: “Always really fashionable, Diana wore a gorgeous blue dress to the auction, one that exposed her toned arms and statuesque figure.

“Wearing a short dress was definitely a bold move for the Princess of Wales, who was restricted from doing so when she was still married to then-Prince Charles as it was considered against royal protocol for royal women to wear revealing clothing.”

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Meghan Markle is a member of the Royal Family who is often compared to Princess Diana for trying to carve her own path outside of the institution.

Daena suggests that the Duchess of Sussex, although similar to Diana, has different circumstances to her late mother-in-law, and would not necessarily need to auction her old outfits.

She explained: “As Meghan is no longer a working royal, she no longer needs to comply with royal fashion protocol.

“However, the circumstances of Meghan and Harry’s stepping away from the family firm are very different, and Meghan Markle seems to stand for peace.

“Indeed, in a recent appearance where she and Harry received the Ripple of Hope Award, she was wearing a white structural silhouette in line with her clean, modern wardrobe, and white is a symbol of peace.

“Just like Diana, she wants a happy, peaceful family life with her husband and children.”

Other outfits that Princess Diana auctioned in June 1997 included a grey halter-neck dress designed by Catherine Walker with delicate beading, which was purchased for $77,300, or roughly £62,429.

Another famous dress of Diana’s that sold for $70,000 (or £56,533) at Christie’s was the ethereal pale blue chiffon Catherine Walker piece worn by the Princess several times.

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