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This Is The True Story Behind Princess Diana's *Iconic* Revenge Dress

Basically, this dress did its job and then some.
Princess Diana revenge dress true story
PHOTO: PRINCESS DIANA ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES
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The moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived: The Crown recreated Princess Diana's completely iconic "revenge dress" moment. For the uninitiated (read: for everyone who isn't fully obsessed with royal drama outside this show/has a life), this dress was an all-caps MOMENT for Diana, whose relationship was once again in the spotlight thanks to Prince Charles pretty much confirming (in a televised interview!) that he'd been cheating on her. So yeah, this dress was basically a sartorial fuck you, and while The Crown only provided a brief visual, the history behind this moment is pretty major.

Diana Wore This Dress the Night of Prince Charles's Interview

Prince Charles's notorious Highgrove interview aired on June 29, 1994, but The New York Times reports that his admission of infidelity was leaked two days prior, leading to front-page headlines like "Charles: I Cheated on Diana" and "Di told you so." In other words, Diana knew what was coming.

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And on the same night Charles's interview was scheduled, Diana *happened* to have a fundraising dinner hosted by Vanity Fair at the Serpentine Gallery on the books. A perfect opportunity for a revenge outfit. Enter: The Dress.

princess diana arriving at the serpentine gallery london
PRINCESS DIANA ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

As Sarah Bradford writes in her biography, Diana, "On the evening the program was shown, she fulfilled a long-standing engagement at the Serpentine Gallery, photographed wearing a sexy, clinging black dress which showed off her tanned, toned legs. Her whole manner radiated confidence [....] The underlying message was, 'Look at me...look what you've thrown away and see how much I care.'"

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Diana Decided on the Dress at the Very Last Minute

Princess Diana's ~revenge dress~ was an off the shoulder LBD designed by Christina Stambolian. Diana had actually owned the dress (which Vogue reports had been previously deemed "too daring") for several years—and had originally been planning to wear a Valentino gown to the gallery event before switching directions.

princess diana british property developer peter palumbo
PRINCESS DIANA ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES
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Diana's stylist at the time Anna Harvey told Vogue that she "wanted to look a million dollars... and she did," while her makeup artist Mary Greenwell recently told The Telegraph that "She simply wanted to look great and had this incredible body to show off in a great dress, that was it."

The Dress Caused an Immediate Media Storm

Vogue reports that The Sun's headline was literally “The Thrilla He Left to Woo Camilla” (amazing), while The Telegraph recently dusted off their own coverage, which reads:

"The Princess of Wales did not have to dine out before the television cameras at the Serpentine Gallery last night in order to avoid seeing her husband sharing his soul with the nation on the box. She could have watched a video, played bridge, or simply washed her hair and curled up in bed… It’s amazing what some people will do to avoid press speculation."

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Basically, this dress did its job and then some.

So, Where Is the Revenge Dress Now?

It was sold at auction back in July 1997 and has since been exhibited on occasion!

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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