Diana, Princess of Wales became a royal trendsetter during her time in the public eye, recognised for her colourful and fashionable ensembles that were often unlike anything worn by the British royals before. And it turns out her sartorial choices were deliberate, in a bid to convey "approachability and warmth" when she was meeting members of the public.
Eleri Lynn, who has curated Kensington Palace's new exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story, explained some of Diana's most notable fashion choices – including revealing why the late Princess didn't wear gloves. "She abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact." Eleri told People. "She also stopped wearing hats because she said, 'You can't cuddle a child in a hat.'"
Princess Diana didn't wear gloves when she was meeting members of the public
Her approach is also why Diana favoured chunky jewellery and bright colours. "When she was visiting hospitals for example she would wear cheerful clothes that would convey warmth and often chunky jewellery so that children could come and play with them," Eleri explained.
Eleri also observed how Diana's style changed following her split from Prince Charles, with the mother-of-two favouring a more low-key look. "The '90s you really see her fashion is pared back and simplified," she said. "Following her separation from the Prince of Wales, those close to her recall she wanted to be known as a work horse, rather than a clothes horse, and she knew that to focus attention on her work she needed to simplify her daytime look."
Diana liked to wear bright colours and chunky jewellery to appear approachable
The exhibition showcasing some of Princess Diana's most memorable outfits goes on display at Kensington Palace on Friday 24 February to commemorate twenty years since her death. Diana's former stylist, Anna Harvey, recently reflected on working with the royal to coincide with the exhibition, and said a turning point in Diana's style came when she wore a one-shoulder Hachi dress to attend the James Bond Octopussy film premiere.
"It was quite ahead of the game, fashion-wise, and considered a bit 'much' for the Princess of Wales – she looked too good," Anna explained. "Still, I think that was when she realised that, if she was clever, she could make a huge statement with what she wore and where she wore it."