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Diana’s royal wedding dress in The Crown is missing a measure of magic

Screen grab/Netflix

It’s the one outfit everyone wanted to see in Season Four of hit TV show, The Crown. The wedding dress worn by Lady Diana Spencer for her marriage to the Prince of Wales has been brought to life and we’ve now got our first glimpse of it on actress, Emma Corrin, who takes on the part of the late princess. And while it’s a pretty spectacular sight, I’ll admit that for me, it slightly misses the magic of the original.

The dress itself is pretty similar to the original design by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel with its puff sleeves and shimmering embellishment across the bodice. The epic train is also reproduced in all its glory while little details like the scalloped edging on the skirt and cuffs is created in almost identical versions.

But it’s the scale of the design that’s wrong for me. Starting at the very top, where did the tumultuous tulle come from? Diana’s wedding veil wasn’t nearly as fluffy as this around her head and the blusher covering her face was so neatly attached to the tiara that it was cut off while the register was signed.

Then there’s the tiara itself. The Spencer tiara, worn by Diana for her marriage, has been turned into an exaggerated version of itself with massive hoops of hearts peeking through the endless veil. It ends up dwarfing the dress.

The magic of Diana’s wedding dress came in its sheer over the top effect. The young bride, all but engulfed by the huge confection that she’d chosen for her big day, was the ultimate expression of romance, a real fairytale princess brought to life in an exaggeration of hearts and flowers. We’re yet to see this dress in motion but in the still image, the sheer scale of the veil and tiara is knocking that romance into the background.

At this point, we should remind ourselves that Amy Roberts, who is responsible for this masterpiece, wanted to make an interpretation of Diana’s look rather than an exact replica. And she’s been sure to include elements that are vital for the dramatic telling of the day. There are the creases that everyone remembers but look closely and you will see that the top of this dress is loose, just as Diana’s was, as the bride lost so much weight ahead of her wedding that even the papers asked her to stop. It’s a subtle touch that reminds us that even as she prepared to marry, the pressure of public life was taking a toll on Diana’s emotional and physical health.

And the pressure has been huge for Amy Roberts and her team, too, as this gown is easily one of the most eagerly awaited recreations in the whole history of The Crown. Amy worked with David Emmanuel to bring the dress to life while a team of three people spent a total of 600 hours to make this gown a reality. And there’s a sweet touch to the whole creation as the Nottingham based lace firm which worked on Diana’s original gown also helped with the trimmings for this replica. Although the man involved in the first dress has passed away, his son paid tribute to his father’s work by assisting with this gown.

We’ll see the dress in all its dramatic glory when Season Four of The Crown hits Netflix on November 15th 2020. Meanwhile, have your say – does this replica work for you?

About author

Lydia Starbuck is 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.