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Diana’s iconic dress is frozen for posterity

By United States Federal Government - from the Ronald Reagan Library:, Public Domain,

The famous blue velvet gown worn by Diana, Princess of Wales to dance at the White House with John Travolta has been frozen. The dress has been chilled as part of a preservation process carried out by its new owners in a move designed to protect it and its new home.

The gown, designed by Victor Edelstein and worn by Diana in 1985, was bought by Historic Royal Palaces at the end of 2019. It’s been revealed on social media that as part of the work to keep the gown in top condition, it’s been frozen.

Historic Royal Palaces shared images of its ‘isolation’ room on Twitter this weekend. It’s a special space put aside for new acquisitions to its collection to ensure they don’t bring any unwelcome guests, like mites or bugs, into the collection of historic artefacts that it holds.

The ‘Travolta’ dress was frozen as soon as it arrived at its new home and will stay in isolation for a while longer to ensure it is in the best possible condition before work begins to share it with a wider audience.

HRP bought the gown post auction in December last year, paying out £264,000 for the iconic outfit. At the time of the purchase, Eleri Lynn from HRP told the Daily Telegraph that ” We’re delighted to have acquired this iconic evening gown for the royal ceremonial dress collection – a designated collection of national and international importance – over 20 years since it first left Kensington Palace”.

Diana wore the gown to a special dinner held for her and the Prince of Wales by the then President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and his wife, Nancy. While the princess took a turn on the floor with many guests that night, it was the image of her dancing with John Travolta, one of the most famous film stars in the world, that caught the public imagination. Travolta has described the experience as one of the highlights of his life.

It’s hoped the dress will go on display at some point in the future. Properties cared for by Historic Royal Palaces, including Kensington Palace, are currently closed to visitors because of the coronavirus outbreak.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.