Diana: Designing for a Princess

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Until 26 April 2020

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In this elegant new display at Diana, Princess of Wales' former home of Kensington Palace, a piece from Diana's wardrobe complements original sketches created for her during the design process.

Diana's handwritten comments, added alongside her favourite designs, demonstrate the joy she found in fashion.

Currently on display

Scarlet suit by Jasper Conran, 1984

Designed for the Princess in 1984 by fashion designer Jasper Conran, this striking scarlet suit is now on public display at Kensington Palace for the first time.

Diana wore this ensemble for the official naming ceremony of the P&O cruise liner 'Royal Princess', christened in her honour, on 5th November 1984. The princess accessorised with a red felt beret with black headband, black blouse with bow ties, black tights, leather clutch and shoes.

Jasper Conran designed numerous pieces for Diana’s working wardrobe. He recalls that whenever the Princess tried anything on, she would always ask ‘What message am I giving out in this?’, revealing the thought and care that went into the creation of the Princess’s image.

Sketches by David Sassoon

David Sassoon was one of Diana, Princess of Wales' favourite designers. This collection of sketches charts the Princess's move from the romantic outfits of her marriage to the confident working wardrobe of her later life.

Designs include a sketch for her going away outfit, worn to board the train for her honeymoon in 1981, and a playful tuxedo-style evening dress worn in 1989.

Also among the display is an annotated sketch for a white chiffon maternity dress, which the Princess wore when pregnant with Prince William and then again with Prince Harry.

Photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales red Jasper Conran suit for Designing for a Princess exhibition at Kensington Palace.

There was a tremendous change from the shy little girl who I had initially dressed to this overtly glamorous woman. She was very charismatic as a person, not just because she was a princess. She had this caring quality. She had compassion.

David Sassoon

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Wander through the lavish rooms of the King's State Apartments, each one grander than the last, at Kensington Palace.

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Kensington Palace

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A floral display reading '200 years' outside the East Front of Kensington Palace, under a bright blue sky and surrounded by formal lawn. The palace is in the background.
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