The reason why Princess Diana didn’t wear a headpiece in her visits to children has been revealed, and it is a heartwarming one. Claudia Acott Williams, curator of Kensington Palace‘s new exhibition, Royal Style in the Making on June 3, stated the reason as “you can’t cuddle a child in a hat.”
According to Williams, the late Princess of Wales also abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact.
The exhibition in the London palace, showcasing some of Princess Diana’s most memorable outfits to commemorate her passing 20 years later, features the sketch of a blue floral dress she wore when visiting children or hospitals. Designed by David Sassoon, it became known as her “caring dress” because she knew that children loved the bright, floral pattern. Williams adds that the Princess wore big costume jewelry because “she would pick children up and they would play with it.”
“She understood how what you were wearing could really convey warmth… it could reinforce hierarchy or it could undermine hierarchy and create more of a relationship,” says Williams.
Matthew Storey, curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, says that the example “really illustrates just how carefully she considered the people she would meet when selecting outfits for her many public engagements.”
Also included in the exhibition is Princess Diana’s wedding dress, loaned by her sons Prince William and Prince Harry, which is on public display for the first time in more than 25 years. The gown, which the late Princess Diana wore to marry Prince Charles at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, 1981, was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. It has a fitted bodice overlaid with panels of antique Carrickmacross lace originally belonging to Queen Mary.
The dress is on display with the princess’s 7.6-meter sequin-encrusted train, which is the longest in British royal history to date.
The exhibition will be closed on Thursday, July 1, on what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.