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When we think of Princess Diana’s most iconic outfits, images of her dancing with John Travolta in a black velvet gown, her striking blue slip dress at the Met Gala, and, of course, the legendary Revenge Dress all come to mind. However, what many fans might not be aware of is that Camilla Parker Bowles, who is now Prince Charles’ wife, followed in Diana’s fashion footsteps, donning her own little black dress shortly after Diana made headlines with hers.
Why Princess Diana’s LBD Earned the Nickname ‘Revenge Dress’
In 1994, Princess Diana caused a stir when she attended a Vanity Fair party wearing an off-the-shoulder mini dress designed by Christina Stambolian. This dress, now famously known as the “Revenge Dress,” garnered its name for a specific reason. It was the same evening when Prince Charles publicly confessed to his extramarital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles during a televised interview.
Kerry Taylor, whose company auctioned off ten of Diana’s dresses, explained the origin of the dress’s moniker. “We called that ‘The Revenge Dress’ because she wore that the same night Prince Charles confessed to his adultery with Camilla,” Taylor revealed. “While some would have been like, ‘I can’t face it tonight,’ Diana went out in that dress looking drop-dead gorgeous. She made a big statement right there.”
Camilla’s Similar Dress Choice a Year Later
In 1995, just a year after Diana’s iconic fashion moment, Camilla Parker Bowles made her first public appearance with Prince Charles and caused quite a commotion with her choice of attire. Camilla was photographed at London’s Ritz Hotel in a shoulder-baring black dress reminiscent of Diana’s Revenge Dress. She paired it with black pantyhose, high heels, and an almost identical pearl necklace. On that occasion, the future Duchess and Prince Charles were attending the 50th birthday celebration of Camilla’s sister, Annabel Elliot.
This choice of attire led to criticism from devoted fans who accused Prince Charles’s then-girlfriend of attempting to imitate his first wife once again.
Jewelry Controversy and Accusations of Copying Diana
Camilla’s fashion choices have often sparked comparisons to Diana’s, and on one occasion, she was accused of copying the beloved princess’s jewelry. In 2019, keen-eyed royal enthusiasts noticed Camilla wearing a piece of jewelry that Diana had previously worn. What added to the controversy was the fact that Camilla had altered the piece. According to The Sun, the Duchess redesigned an emerald and diamond necklace, which Diana had been photographed wearing at the Vienna Burgtheater in April 1986, into a brooch.
However, the jewelry in question wasn’t originally Diana’s; it was a royal family heirloom given to Diana by the Queen Mother to wear after her marriage to Prince Charles. After Diana’s passing, the jewelry was returned to the royal vault.
The intriguing parallels between Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles, from fashion choices to jewelry selections, continue to capture the imagination of royal watchers and fashion enthusiasts alike, adding layers to their complex narratives.