Navigating something as complex as the royal fashion etiquette can be quite tricky, so much so that members of the royal family have sartorial hacks they follow to stay chic at all times, like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle’s skirt trick.
But there are also very clever ways in which they use their clothes to convey a certain message, like when the Queen trolled Trump with her brooches, or when Meghan paid tribute to the UK with her wedding veil.
It has to be said Princess Diana was quite the expert when it came to this, and there was often more to her outfits than met the eye. Scroll down to discover her fashion secrets.
Princess Diana used clutch bags to hide her cleavage
Princess Diana had a bag secret: whenever she got out of a car for an evening do, she would hold her clutch close to her heart, so that the paps wouldn’t get a shot of her cleavage. Designer Anya Hindmarch once said, ‘We used to laugh when we designed what she called her ‘cleavage bags’, little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars,’ she revealed.’
Princess Diana wore two watches
When she was first engaged to Prince Charles, Princess Diana was photographed at a polo game wearing two watches, and the reason behind it was rather sweet. The first one was hers, and the second was Prince Charles’. He was playing in the game and she wore it as a sign of her love but also as a good luck charm so he would win.
Princess Diana never wore gloves
Royal protocol used to dictate that royals swear gloves on royal engagements, however Princess Diana made headlines when she decided not to wear gloves, especially to greet patients with Aids (back in the 80s, it was widely thought that you could catch it just by holding hands). This was so she could have a more personal contact with the people she met.
She also decided to stop wearing hats while visiting children in hospital, because ‘You can’t cuddle a child in a hat’, and she often wore bright colours to cheer them up.
Princess Diana had a bracelet that was a special tribute to her sons
Princess Diana had a charm bracelet which she almost never wore, because it was so special to her. It was originally a gift from Prince Charles, who got her a new charm to add to it for each of their anniversaries. These included a miniature of St Paul’s cathedral, where they got married, ballet shoes as Diana loved the ballet, but more importantly it also featured the letters H and W, which Charles got her when their sons were born. She almost never wore it as she was afraid of losing it.
Princess Diana had a secret back-up wedding dress
There was such secrecy around Diana’s wedding dress that its designers, the Emanuels, had to take extra precautions to ensure not a soul would see the sketches before the big day (they would rip them up as soon as Diana saw them).
This included a secret back-up dress in case the original got leaked somehow. The most surprising fact was that Diana wasn’t even aware of this. David told People, ‘We didn’t try it on Diana. We never even discussed it. We wanted to make sure that we had something there; it was for our own peace of mind, really.’
Princess Diana paid tribute to the Queen at official dinners
During official dinners, especially when foreign representatives came to the palace, Princess Diana paid subtle tribute to the Queen by wearing what is known as The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II. This is a lavish brooch featuring a small portrait of Her Majesty, wearing the George IV State Diadem and the Order of the Garter Riband and Star. The brooch was in fact a gift from the Queen to Diana.
Princess Diana wore her engagement ring even after her divorce
You might not have realised this, but Diana wore her wedding and engagement rings in public for almost four years after separating from Prince Charles in 1992. Touchingly, she did this to keep up appearances for the sake of her sons, until the divorce was finalised.
Princess Diana never wore very high heels
If you look at professional photos of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, you’ll notice that she appears to be much shorter than him, but that’s often because she posed sitting down or leaning back against him. In fact, they were pretty much the same height, so when they were seen in public and couldn’t get away with an optical illusion, she wore low heels so she wouldn’t appear taller than him.
Princess Diana couldn’t wear Chanel after the divorce
If you look back at old pictures of Princess Diana, she used to wear a lot of Chanel. However, after Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla came to light, and then the couple got divorced, Diana couldn’t bring herself to wear the French fashion house anymore.
Why? Because Chanel’s classic logo, the interlocking Cs for Coco Chanel, instead made her think of Charles and Camilla.