Princess Diana Wore a ‘Black Sheep’ Sweater to Send a Message

When she first joined the British royal family, Princess Diana was a young woman who was very unsure of herself. Daunted by the magnitude of her new life and stuck in a loveless marriage to Prince Charles, the princess began acting out.

While the British royal family saw her as an overly emotional problem, the public as a whole became increasingly intrigued by her. As she matured, Princess Diana began using her mega-popularity to her advantage through her style, the causes that she supported, and the way that she raised her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Since the royals are supposed to remain relatively neutral on global issues, the princess learned to use fashion to express her innermost thoughts. One specific sweater had a very shocking meaning.

Swan Lake English National Ballet, Princess Dian
Swan Lake English National Ballet, Princess Diana | Dave Benett/Getty Images

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Princess Diana used fashion to send messages

Princess Diana had a heart for charity. In order to turn the spotlight on her ventures, she was careful to choose outfits that would specifically turn heads. This way, when she appeared on the front pages of the newspapers and tabloids the organizations she supported would as well.

The late princess also used fashion to get her personal feelings across. Princess Diana had always suspected her husband, Prince Charles of having an affair with his ex-girlfriend, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. In the 90s, the affair was made public, and the prince had to come forward to admit it. Princess Diana responded with her infamous, “revenge” dress.

The stunning black gown paid homage to the first dress the princess wore to a royal event, it was a dress the prince hated. The “revenge dress” was sexy, fitted, and had a plunging neckline.

Prince William With His Mother, Diana, Princess Of Wales At Guards Polo Club. The Princess Is Casually Dressed In A Sweatshirt With The British Lung Foundation Logo On The Front Of Her T-shir
Prince William With His Mother, Diana, Princess Of Wales At Guards Polo Club. The Princess Is Casually Dressed In A Sweatshirt With The British Lung Foundation Logo On The Front Of Her T-shirt |Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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Princess Diana refused to follow the royal dress code

After realizing she would never fit in with the royal family, Princess Diana gave up trying and did her own thing. She wasn’t afraid to showcase her cleavage, which is a huge taboo for royal women. She also wore sheet outfits and after some time int the royal fold, she adamantly refused to wear hats. The princess reportedly said, “you can’t cuddle a child in a hat.”

While royals tend to look rather formal even when they’re “off duty” the princess was seen sporting sweatshirts and biker shorts when she was running errands around the city, and she often wore black which royals typically only wear when they are mourning.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) with Sarah Ferguson at the Guard's Polo Club, Windsor, June 1983. The Princess is wearing a jumper with a sheep motif from the London shop, Warm And Wonderful.
Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997) with Sarah Ferguson at the Guard’s Polo Club, Windsor, June 1983. The Princess is wearing a jumper with a sheep motif from the London shop, Warm And Wonderful. | Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

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The real meaning behind Princess Diana’s black sheep sweater

Princess Diana began showcasing her rebellious style during her early years in the royal family. In June 1983, the princess attended a polo match with Prince Charles and Sarah, Duchess of York.

She wore a red sweater by Muir and Osborne that featured rows of white sheep, with the exception of one sheep in black. Clearly, at age 21 and just two years into her marriage, Princess Diana already felt like the black sheep of the royal family. In a 1995 interview with BBC, she said,

I don’t think many people would want me to be queen, and when I say many people, I mean the establishment that I’m married into. They’ve decided that I’m a nonstarter, because I do things different, because I don’t go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart and not the head. And albeit that’s gotten me into trouble in my work, but someone’s gotta go out there and love people.