Diana's wedding dress maker shared secret message with princess before sending her down the aisle

·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Wedding dress designer, David Emanuel, describes the day Diana and Charles wedding day

Diana's wedding dress designer has revealed he was the last person to speak to the princess before she walked down the aisle to marry Prince Charles.

Princess Diana's wedding dress is on display at Kensington Palace for the first time in 25 years, thanks to permission from Prince William and Prince Harry.

To mark the occasion, its designer, David Emanuel, has shared some of his memories of the big day. 

He told ITV's Lorraine, hosted by Cat Deeley this week, that he was one of the last people to speak to Diana before she met Prince Charles at the altar, after ensuring the dress and veil looked right.

He said: "I handed her a glorious bouquet and then I said a few words to her..."

Urged by Deeley to reveal what he said, Emanuel responded: "I will never tell what I said.

"As I spoke to her, then she drifted down the aisle. Three minute walk you know.

"We had to rush back to Buckingham Palace for all the photos in the throne room."

British fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel at their Mayfair salon, London, 11th March 1981. They have been selected to design the wedding dress for Lady Diana Spencer, later Diana, Princess of Wales. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
David and Elizabeth Emanuel at their Mayfair salon, London, 11 March 1981 after they were selected to design the wedding dress for Lady Diana Spencer. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales return to Buckingham Palace by carriage after their wedding, 29th July 1981. She wears a wedding dress by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel and the Spencer family tiara. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Diana in her wedding dress on 29 July, 1981. (Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

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The dress was made of ivory silk and pure taffeta and had 10,000 pearls and a 25ft train - which Emanuel revealed was done on purpose to make it the longest royal wedding dress train in history.

The previous record had been 20ft, and no royal wedding dress train has been longer since.

Emanuel noted that Diana was a teenager when he first met her, as she was 19 when she married Charles, who was 30 at their wedding.

Of Diana, Emanuel said: "She was a global icon.... of style, beauty and compassion. That's how the public loved her. She cared, you could see it in her."

Watch: David Emanuel, Princess Diana's designer, describes the moment he got the call to make her wedding dress

Read more: Diana's wedding dress is highlight of royal style exhibition - thanks to Princes

He also revealed how quickly they would sometimes have to turn around outfits for the princess. 

"She would sometimes call on a Monday and say 'I've got something special to go to' and we would race round [to Kensington Palace]," he shared.

"We would sketch something and then find the fabric - and she'd be wearing it Friday.

"She was a real lady, even if it was a rush there would always be a handwritten note to say thank you."

Diana's wedding dress is the star attraction of a display at Kensington Palace called Royal Style in the Making, which opened on Thursday and runs to 2 January 2022. 

As well as the dress, there are sketches and notes from the princess to the designers, and garments like a toile of the Queen Mother's coronation dress from 1937, and a Georgian inspired dress worn by Princess Margaret in 1964. 

The Princess of Wales' wedding dress is prepared for display at Royal Style in the Making, a new exhibition at Kensington Palace in London, which opens to the public on June 3. Picture date: Wednesday June 2, 2021.
Diana's wedding dress had a 25ft train, which is still the longest in royal wedding dress history. (PA Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02: The wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales is displayed during the
The wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales at the 'Royal Style In The Making' exhibition at Kensington Palace. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

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Diana is said to have chosen David and Elizabeth Emanuel after a bad experience at the Belville Sassoon store in Knightsbridge shortly before her engagement was announced. Unrecognised by the sales assistant, she was redirected to Harrods and the suit she chose to wear for the engagement announcement was not well received in the press.

According to the Daily Telegraph, that's why Diana went to the relatively unknown Emanuels for her wedding dress. 

The dress is now part of the private collection of Princes William and Harry who have loaned the dress for the display.

It opens in Kensington Palace's Orangery on 3 June, and runs until 2 January 2022. It will be closed on 1 July, which would have been Diana's 60th birthday.

William and Harry are expected to reunite on that day to unveil a statue of their mother in the sunken garden of the palace. Kensington Palace has not commented on whether they will view the wedding dress.

Admission to the display is included on entry to the palace.