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Princess Diana's famous dress sells for nearly £500k at auction

The late Princess of Wales was pictured in the dress months before her death

princess diana
Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
January 28, 2023
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Princess Diana's purple velvet evening gown has become her most valuable dress after it was sold for almost £500,000 ($600,000) at Sotheby's in New York Friday.

Designed by couturier Victor Edelstein – one of Diana’s longtime fashion collaborators – the strapless number features a sculptural sweetheart neckline and a tulip-shaped skirt and was predicted to fetch around £100,000 ($120,000) at auction. 

WATCH: Celebrating the life of Princess Diana

However, Sotheby's revealed that the final price tag was a record-breaking $604,800 (£488,150) – five times the pre-auction estimate.

Diana first wore the dress in 1991 for an official portrait by photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, the first Earl of Snowdon, who was once the husband of Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II's sister.

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She then wore it for an iconic 1997 Vanity Fair photoshoot with fashion photographer Mario Testino just months before her death.

princess diana purple velvet dress auction

Diana's dress broke records at auction

The dress was first sold in 1997 for $24,150, around £17,000, during a Christie's charity auction featuring 79 dresses donated by Diana, which collectively raised more than $3 million (£24 million) for cancer and AIDS organisations, including the Royal Marsden Hospital, where she served as president for eight years.

This isn't the first time an item of Diana's clothing has gone up for auction. In 2019, one of the late Princess' iconic workout tops that she used to wear while heading to the gym in London sold for an eye-watering $53,532, which is roughly £43,000.

princess diana cycling shorts virgin jumper© Photo: Getty Images

Diana's gym jumper sold for over $50k

The navy jumper went under the hammer at the Boston-based RR Auction and was donated by Diana's personal trainer Jenni Rivett, who worked with the royal for over seven years. She donated the proceeds from the sale to help a Malawian family based in South Africa, where she is originally from.

The dark blue medium/large cotton/polyester sweatshirt featured a screen-printed image of the Virgin Atlantic 'Flying Lady' logo. Diana was given the top by business magnate Richard Branson. She passed it on to Jenni shortly before her death, alongside a note that read: "Dearest Jenni, Lots of love from, Diana, x."

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