Princess Diana dress sells for $910,000

Five dresses sell for over $100,000 in largest auction of Princess Diana items since 1997

Cover Image for Princess Diana dress sells for $910,000

A dress worn by Princess Diana in 1987 sold for $910,000 at auction through Julien’s Thursday afternoon, marking the latest example of the rabid market for memorabilia of the “People’s Princess.”

The lace evening dress was worn by Diana in 1987 and was formerly on loan to Kensington Palace for an exhibit titled “Diana: Her Fashion Story.” Julien’s had placed a pre-auction estimate of $200,000 to $400,000 on the lot.

The auction, which featured over 200 lots related to Diana and the Royal Family, was the largest collection of her dresses since 1997, when Christie’s held a historic $3.25 million sale mere weeks before her death.

The evening dress was formerly on loan to Kensington Palace. (Credit: Julien's)
The evening dress was formerly on loan to Kensington Palace. (Credit: Julien's)

Along with estate sales from icons like Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe, the Christie’s sale is cited as a seminal moment in the origins of the modern celebrity auction industry, which has thrived in recent years. The Christie’s sale was such a seminal moment that Julien’s even sold the original catalog from the auction in Thursday’s sale, fetching $1,625.

The Princess was keenly aware of the attention she attracted by her wardrobe during her life, leading her to arrange the Christie’s sale, donating the proceeds to AIDS and cancer charities.

Diana remains at the forefront of the celebrity auction craze, setting records more than 25 years after her death, with one of her dresses fetching $1.143 million in December 2023 (an auction record for any dress) and her iconic “black sheep” sweater achieving $1.143 million at Sotheby’s in September 2023.

Julien’s sold five dresses for over $100,000, including the second-most expensive dress, worn twice by Diana in 1986, for $718,000.

Other notable sales included a bevy of shoes, led by a pair of Kurt Geiger emerald green satin jeweled vamp evening shoes worn at a state banquet in 1993, which nabbed $390,000.

A Rayne violet clutch sold for $88,900 while a Charles Jourdan black patent leather handbag, with which Diana was photographed in 1989, sold for $65,000.

The auction included handwritten letters from Diana, one of which, discussing her pregnancy with Harry, sold for $44,450.

Another, which sold for $7,620, was addressed to her former housekeeper in 1983, in which Diana penned “When the helicopter took off from Althorp yesterday, we flew over your house and I just wondered if you’d seen me waving?"

Signed holiday cards, ranging from 1981 to 1995, sold for thousands each.

The auction also included items related to other members of the Royal Family, such as a c. 1938 Scottish Highland Officer’s sword ($29,250) and a Master’s Tournament cap and pair of golf cleats belonging to the Duke of Windsor ($1,170).

Will Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct.