The Emanuel-designed dress features a fitted bodice overlaid with panels of antique Carrickmacross lace that originally belonged to Queen Mary, the groom’s great-grandmother, and a spectacular sequin-encrusted train measuring 25 feet that remains the longest in royal history.
A rare surviving toile for the 1937 coronation dress of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother will also be shown as part of Royal Style in the Making, which is set to open in the newly conserved Orangery on 3 June.
Featuring never-before-seen items from some of the most celebrated royal couturiers of the twentieth-century, alongside gowns and tailoring created for three generations of royal women, the exhibit aims to explore the unique relationships between fashion designer and royal client.
Original sketches, fabric swatches and unseen photographs from the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection – an archive of over 10,000 items of dress and design history cared for by Historic Royal Palaces – will also form part of the exhibition.
Matthew Storey, exhibition curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “Our summer exhibition at Kensington Palace will shine a spotlight on some of the greatest talents of British design, whose work has been instrumental in shaping the visual identity of the royal family across the twentieth century.
“We’ll be exploring how the partnership between each designer and client worked, and revealing the process behind the creation of a number of the most important couture commissions in royal history,” he said.
While the Princess of Wales’ wedding dress is likely to be a major highlight, Storey added that there were “some real surprises up our sleeve for fashion fans”.
The exhibition precedes the unveiling of a statue of Princess Diana on what would have been her 60th birthday.
Prince Harry and Prince William commissioned the statue to mark the twentieth anniversary of her death, which will be installed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, which was one of her favourite places within the palace grounds.
Prince Harry is expected to return to the UK for the unveiling on 1 July, but may travel alone, as his wife Meghan is expected to give birth to their first daughter in the summer.
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