Princess Diana’s Wedding Dress Had a Secret Code Name to Keep the Gown of Century Under Wraps

Princess Diana’s wedding dress had a secret code name to keep any details regarding any aspect of her wedding to the royal family‘s most eligible bachelor, Prince Charles, under wraps. The couple married on July 29, 1981, just five months after becoming engaged in the nursery at Kensington Palace. However, as public interest in the wedding and Diana peaked, precautions, including a secret code name, kept the press from learning what the future princess would wear on her wedding day.

Princess Diana's wedding dress was a stunning accessory during her marriage to Prince Charles' on July 29, 1981.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Diana and Charles’ wedding was one of the most expensive in royal history

Diana and Charles’ wedding ranked as one of the most expensive royal weddings in history.

At the time, the grand affair cost an estimated $48 million. With inflation, that number today is around $156 million.

This cost included security for the royal family and the new husband and wife at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where they married, along the route they traveled to and from the cathedral from Buckingham palace.

Their official cake cost $40K, according to Mashed. However, the couple’s wedding cakes totaled 27.

The bill also added food for the royal wedding breakfast for just over 100 people. An expensive, lavish fireworks celebration over Hyde Park closed the day.

Princess Diana’s wedding dress was referred to as ‘Deborah’

Princess Diana and Prince Charles on their wedding day in July 1981.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

One of the unique aspects of Princess Diana’s wedding day was her dress.

Diana wore an ivory-colored taffeta wedding gown, decorated with handmade lace and finished with 10,000 hand-sewn pearls and a 25-foot silk train. 

The dress was the work of designers Elizabeth and David Emanuel, who had to install a safe within thier London showroom to keep any designs, materials, and accessories safe from the prying eyes of the press.

Diana’s train proved too long to manage at their London storefront comfortably. Therefore, the couple relocated from their studio to a seldom-used wing of Buckingham Palace to unroll, measure, and construct the enormous garment.

Most importantly, when discussing Diana’s wedding dress, the couple spoke in code.

The dress of the century was simply referred to as “Deborah,” reported The Daily Mail.

“We were so worried. We had shutters on the windows and left false trails in our bins and put in false threads,” Elizabeth Emanuel said of the secrecy involved in creating the iconic gown.

David Emanuel once said of Diana’s ivory-colored dress, “It is so much more flattering to the skin — especially to the English Rose complexion.”

Several mishaps almost ruined Princess Diana’s wedding dress

Elizabeth and David Emanuel helped Diana into a Glass Coach built for George V’s coronation at Clarence House. 

However, the designers didn’t consider the length of her dress’s enormous train.

Subsequently, the couple did their best to fit the length of the gown into the carriage.

Upon emerging from the coach, the couple realized the dress was badly crumpled and creased.

The Emanuel’s did their best to smooth out the garment ahead of Diana’s walk down the aisle to become a princess.

David Emanuel later recalled: “When I saw Diana arrive at St Paul’s and we saw the creases, I felt faint.”

Ahead of the wedding, Diana also spilled perfume on the front of her dress.

Pure Wow reported Barbara Daly, the princess’s wedding day makeup artist, claimed Diana tried to dab some of her favorite scents, Quelques Fleurs, on her wrist when it splashed on her gown, leaving a mark behind.

Diana carefully covered the small spot with her hand and, later, with her large bouquet.

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