The Royal Wedding Ensemble: Diana vs. Kate

From gown to going-away dress, what this decade's princess bride might wear on her wedding day


Photo by Anthea Simms


Photo by Anthea Simms

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

As Kate Middleton prepares for her royal wedding day, comparisons to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana ensue. As their respective decades’ princess brides, let’s see how their wedding day wardrobes compare, 30 years apart.

The Wedding Gown
Diana’s cherished and quintessentially Princess like ivory gown was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel with layers of meringue, oversized puffed sleeves and a full skirt of ivory silk pure taffeta and hand stitched lace. Unforgettable details included a twenty five-foot train and embroidery incorporating 10,000 pearls and sequins.

Middleton, known for her understated aesthetic, is likely to choose a classic and minimalistic design, with edgy and modern detailing. The bride is expected to follow tradition, choosing ivory over white. Despite protestations to the contrary, rumours perisist that Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton will get the coveted gig, which means the dress is sure to have the memorable and theatrical features needed for iconic status.

The Going-Away Dress

In 1981, photographers snapped as Diana departed in a custom pink skirt suit by David Sassoon, worn with a pearl choker and slightly veiled hat in the same hue as the suit. The couple were taken by carriage to London’s Waterloo station where they took a train to the Mountbatten family home in Hampshire for their honeymoon.

Kate is the ideal candidate to bring back the tradition of the going-away dress. As Wills sweeps Kate off to their extended honeymoon in Queensland and Canada, the bride will likely choose something traditional and refined, yet somewhat trend-driven. Middleton may don one of her much-loved hats, also prized by the late McQueen and his muse, Isabella Blow. A Roland Mouret three-quarter length dress would be a classic choice for Kate, topped with an ivory Alexander McQueen structured jacket.