How Princess Diana’s fashion in The Crown compares to real life

Prudence Wade, PA
·3-min read

With royal drama, fabulous outfits and a whole lot of intrigue, there’s a reason so many people are obsessed with The Crown.

Season four has just dropped on Netflix, and it introduces a new character: Diana, Princess of Wales.

Played by 24-year-old actor Emma Corrin, the series charts the early stages of her relationship with Prince Charles.

Considering Diana’s status as a fashion icon, the show’s costume designer Amy Roberts had her work cut out for her. Diana was just 19 when her engagement was announced in February 1981.

During a panel discussion for the Brooklyn Museum, Roberts said: “What I think is fantastic about The Crown is the journey of Diana from this kind of girl that’s not particularly fashion(able) and she’s shy, wearing these bobbly jumpers. It was so amazing to go from that and take her into this fantastic, streamlined, extraordinary woman.”

In the series, some of Corrin’s outfits are almost exact replicas of Diana’s most iconic ensembles, and others take inspiration from her style. Here’s how the on-screen clothes stack up against the royal’s real-life fashion…

(L) Diana and Charles after announcing their engagement in 1981 and (R) Emma Corrin and Josh O'Connor recreate the moment
(L) Diana and Charles after announcing their engagement in 1981 and (R) Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor recreate the moment (Netflix/PA)

In the pictures taken after announcing her engagement, Diana wore a blue skirt suit with a white pussy-bow blouse. The show nails this outfit, down to Corrin copying Diana’s coy pose, and showing off that impressive engagement ring.

(L) Charles and Diana pictured before their wedding in 1981 and (R) in the early days of their relationship on The Crown
(L) Charles and Diana pictured before their wedding in 1981 and (R) in the early days of their relationship on The Crown (Netflix/PA)

This is an example of the show taking inspiration from Princess Di’s style – namely her youthful penchant for chunky, colourful knitted jumpers.

Diana's wedding dress and its on-screen replica
Diana’s wedding dress and its on-screen replica (Netflix/PA)

One of the biggest moments in the series is, of course, Charles and Diana’s wedding; Roberts was under a lot of pressure to get the iconic dress right.

“We just had to be true to the spirit of that dress,” she has said. “That’s what I think we tried to do and not get all knotted up into the fear of it because it’s one of the most famous dresses, isn’t it? If you worry about it, you’re never going to leave the front door, so we just did it.”

It apparently took four people 600 hours to create the replica, complete with a 30 metre-long train.

Diana's red polka dot dress both in real life and on-screen
Diana’s red polka dot dress both in real life and on-screen (Netflix/PA)

In 1982 Diana attended an evening of ballet at the Royal Opera House wearing a red dress with silver polka dots. Corrin’s costume is incredibly similar, down to the thin spaghetti straps and delicately pleated tulle skirt.

(L) Princess Diana in 1983 and (R) dancing with Charles on the show
(L) Princess Diana in 1983 and (R) dancing with Charles on the show (Netflix/PA)

The fourth season of The Crown spans 1977 to 1990, and with ruffles, shiny material and a wide silver belt, this dress is a prime example of Diana’s 80s style.

(L) Princess Diana at the Elysee Palace in 1988 and (R) wearing a copy of the dress in The Crown
(L) Princess Diana at the Elysee Palace in 1988 and (R) wearing a copy of the dress in The Crown (Ron Bell/Netflix/PA)

By 1988, Diana had grown into her style and was no longer afraid of making a statement – as reflected in this gown worn to a banquet at the Elysee Palace. The original – a white beaded dress with a matching bolero designed by Victor Edelstein – is the epitome of royal glamour.

– The Crown series 4 is available to watch on Netflix now.