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Princess Diana’s most iconic dresses ended up dumped in second-hand shop
May 2, 2023
Some of Princess Diana's most famous dresses were dumped at a second hand shop by none other than Sarah Ferguson's mum, an author says.
Claudia Joseph has just released Diana: A Life in Dresses, from Debutante to Style Icon, in which she tells the remarkable story of how a trio of frocks were rescued from retail.
The retrieved dresses are now treated as historical artefacts in a temperature-controlled clothing archive, as part of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection storage facility at Hampton Court.
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According to fashion and royal expert Claudia, a source confirmed to her that the mother of Prince Andrew's ex-wife found herself in possession of Diana's dresses following her death in 1997.
Susan Barrantes who died only a matter of months later in 1998, dropped off at an upmarket Hampshire second-hand shop: a green tartan dress that Diana wore to the Braemar Highland Games in September 1982; a turquoise Catherine Walker dress she packed for a royal tour of Australia and New Zealand in April 1983; and a tartan coat created by her wedding dressmakers for the her 1985 visit to Italy.
Historic Palaces England bought the set in auction, Claudia told the DailyMail.
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Elsewhere an evening gown Diana sported in Bahrain in 1986, ended up in a clothes shop in Hereford having likely given it to her childhood friend, Caroline Twiston-Davies.
Claudia said: "In 1996, her housekeeper took the dress – along with ‘more mundane daywear and suits’ – into Chameleon, a vintage clothes shop near Caroline’s family estate.
"As I explain in my book, it was initially bought a few months later for £200 by the shop’s part-time sales assistant, who had intended to wear it herself to a hunt ball.
"Instead, it remained unworn, packed away in a box, until she realised its historical significance.
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"It was sold at auction in 2018 for £162,500."
Even before Diana died, Christie’s raised £1.96 million for her favourite AIDS charities by auctioning off 79 of the Princess' dresses in New York, US.
Many of these are now in public hands.
Diana: A Life in Dresses, from Debutante to Style Icon, by Claudia Joseph, is out now (£40, ACC Art Books)