Long before the world waited with baited breath to see what Meghan, Duchess of Sussex would wear on her big day—answer: an elegant Givenchy by Clare Waight Keller design—all eyes were on Lady Diana Spencer during her 1981 nuptials to Prince Charles.
Once revealed, Diana's taffeta and lace bridal gown, complete with a seven metre-long train, became an instant fashion icon, though a recent interview with the designers behind the dress has revealed that it wasn't the only option on the cutting table.
Unlike the recent royal wedding wherein Kensington Palace kept mum on the label behind Meghan's dress up until the big day, husband and wide duo David and Elizabeth Emanuel were announced as the designers who would be creating Diana's dress months ahead of the wedding. Cue a bombardment of photographers and journalists outside their London studio hoping to catch a glimpse of anything that would give the design away. "It really did seem like people would go to any lengths to find out what the dress looked like," Elizabeth reveals.
With a growing fear that the design would be discovered before the wedding, David and Elizabeth started work on a back-up dress—Diana's second choice. Though similar to her first choice in its boned bodice and puffy skirt, the reserve gown was cut with a deeper V neckline and featured shorter sleeves. Luckily, no last minute swap was needed and the fact that there was even a backup dress has remained a secret until now.