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Princess Diana's 'spare' wedding dress that was never pictured unveiled by designer

Elizabeth Emanuel revealed the bridal gown that Prince Charles' wife never wore

Prince Charles and Princess Diana walking down the stairs at St. Paul's Cathedral following their wedding on July 29, 1981
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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Princess Diana's wedding dress designer Elizabeth Emanuel has revealed the royal had a second bridal gown that never saw the light of day.

On 29 July 1981, Diana walked down the aisle in a magnificent puff-sleeve wedding dress hand-embellished with 10,000 mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls and finished with a show-stopping 25-foot train. It tied in perfectly with her and then-Prince Charles' majestic wedding venue, St Paul's Cathedral, but the historic photos could have looked very different.

WATCH: New footage shows Princess Diana's tiara on her wedding day

Elizabeth, who designed Diana's wedding dress alongside her ex David, opened up about the "spare" gown they created for the royal exclusively to HELLO!.

"The spare wedding gown was made just in case the secret of the real dress ever got out. Fortunately, it was never used," she began. "The dress was made in pale ivory silk taffeta with embroidered scalloped details on the hem and sleeves. Tiny pearls were sewn on the bodice."

A sketch of Princess Diana's spare wedding dress© Elizabeth Emanuel
Elizabeth Emanuel revealed the royal's "spare" wedding dress she never wore

Photos show it followed a few key details of her main wedding dress, including a V-neck with a more understated ruffle trim, three-quarter sleeves and a wide princess skirt. "People always ask you what it was like. It was similar in certain respects and both had the big skirt, but everything else was different. 

"So it was really just a back-up to the original and I don't know where it went. It just disappeared," the 70-year-old designer told HELLO! ahead of what would have been the Princess' 42nd wedding anniversary.

Princess Diana's spare wedding dress being stitched by designers© Elizabeth Emanuel
The spare dress featured a similar ruffled neckline and full skirt

With such intense media interest in Diana's wedding dress, Elizabeth, David and their team at Brook St, Mayfair ensured there they took every precaution when it came to keeping the secret.

"[Diana] asked us to keep it very, very secret, which we did. But I think there was so much interest when she did actually wear the black dress that the press wanted to know who is designing her wedding dress and they had to announce it at that time," explained Elizabeth, who has A-list stars including Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor and Priyanka Chopra during her four-decade-long career.

Elizabeth Emanuel in 1981© Getty
The designer opened up to HELLO! about the "back-up" gown

"Our staff were wonderful and very loyal and didn't talk to anybody. And also because we had the dress, stored every night in a metal cabinet guarded by two guards, Jim and Bert. So there was somebody there 24 hours a day and we put shutters on all our windows, and we put false colour threads in the rubbish bins because people were going through our bins," she added.

Princess Diana waves after wedding ceremony© Getty
Elizabeth and David Emanuel designed Princess Diana's iconic wedding dress

The spare wedding dress wasn't the only gown Elizabeth created for Diana's wedding that has rarely been pictured. She also masterminded a hot pink frock for a pre-wedding ball at Buckingham Palace, with the brief from the royal being "a very sexy dress to shock everyone." 

Another unearthed photo Elizabeth shared with us revealed a mermaid-style gown with a figure-hugging silhouette, three-quarter-length sleeves and a low V-neck with a dramatic ruffle trim that ran down the bodice and into the skirt.

charles diana wedding
Princess Diana showed off her train on her wedding day in 1981

"The fabric was a rich silk taffeta in shocking pink – a sexy little number and one that was certain to attract attention! It had a low plunge neckline and was slashed to the knee," Elizabeth continued, adding: "She looked stunning!"

So despite the hundreds of photos documenting Princess Diana's iconic bridal gown – for which Elizabeth also created a matching parasol – there are plenty of photo archives from the royal wedding that are yet to be explored.

READ: Princess Charlene's rogue wedding accessory that nobody noticed

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