Famous royal frocks to go under the hammer

Princess Diana's Catherine Walker Mughal-inspired embroidered pink slubbed silk evening gown and bolero. This is one of the dresses up for auction.Photo / AFP
Princess Diana's Catherine Walker Mughal-inspired embroidered pink slubbed silk evening gown and bolero. This is one of the dresses up for auction.Photo / AFP

Ten dresses belonging to the late Princess Diana, including a gown she famously wore while dancing with actor John Travolta, will be sold in London next month, an auction house says.

The collection, due to go under the hammer on March 19, is believed to be worth nearly NZ$1 million, a spokeswoman for Kerry Taylor Auctions said.

The auction house said the lots included some of the "most important and iconic'' dresses worn by Prince Charles's glamorous former wife, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.

"Some of the gowns were worn for official State visits to Austria, Australia, Brazil, India, South Korea and the United States of America,'' said the auction house, which specialises in vintage fashion sales.

"Diana was photographed wearing them by not only by the paparazzi, but by some of the leading photographers of the day - including Mario Testino and Lord Snowdon.''

The collection includes a midnight blue velvet gown by Victor Edelstein which Diana wore to a 1985 state dinner at the White House - where she twirled around the dance floor with Saturday Night Fever star Travolta.

The dresses were originally sold in a charity auction at Diana's request in New York in June 1997, just two months before she died.

"These elegant couture creations were made by some of her favourite designers - Zandra Rhodes, Catherine Walker, Bruce Oldfield and Victor Edelstein,'' said Kerry Taylor Auctions.

"One of them - a dark green velvet dinner gown has what appears to be the print of a small hand on the skirt - possibly that of a young prince?''

The princess, who became a global style icon and was famed for her charity work, wed heir to the throne Prince Charles in a lavish ceremony in 1981. They had two sons, William and Harry, but divorced in 1996.

- AFP

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