It’s been over 37 years since that fateful day when Lady Diana Spencer walked down the aisle of St. Paul’s Cathedral to marry her true-life Prince Charming. She looked every bit the fairytale princess in her puffy Emanuel gown, topped off with her iconic 25-foot-long train.
Concerns that day ran the gamut from whether or not she would fit into the carriage with the heftiness of her dress, to the worries that her train would fall off under the strain of its own weight.
But there was one more observation that the dress designers made ahead of the wedding that, looking back, was a danger sign that should not have been ignored.
Fox News reports, “Like any bride-to-be, Lady Diana Spencer wanted to make sure she would fit into her wedding dress – except the 19-year-old was tying the knot with Prince Charles, England’s future king.
“Designer Elizabeth Emanuel, who created Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress for her royal wedding on July 29, 1981, told People Magazine Sunday the then-19-year-old was eager to shed her ‘puppy fat’ before walking down the aisle.”
Emanuel continued, “Most brides do lose weight, so we weren’t that worried when she did. She was looking fantastic. She ended up with a 23-inch waist from a 26-to 27-inch."
Speaking as though it was a good thing at the time, the designer made no mention that the Princess was perhaps showing the first indications that she had the eating disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, that she suffered with throughout her marriage.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, making it much easier to recognize the signs when looking back. But perhaps the attitude toward body size tends to blind us to the realities of eating disorders, which is how many young people become so thin. I guess the result is all that matters to some.
With the way we worship thinness in our society, it’s almost as if we don’t want to know, in a kind of a ‘Don’t ask,. Don’t tell’ mentality. The cost Diana paid to please those looking at her was huge and ended up interfering with her health, well-being, and ultimately her marriage. If only something had been said at the time.
“She just walked more confidently. She just was suddenly growing up, you know? But I think she felt very good about how she looked.” Again, the focus on how she looked.
The fairytale wedding did not end 'happily-ever-after' though. "Diana and Charles officially divorced in 1996." And the iconic wedding gown has taken on a life of its own. "Since the gown’s original unveiling in 1981, it has traveled all over the world for appearances."
After Diana's death in 1997, the wedding dress was passed down too he two sons, as specified in the Princess' will. Although it is unlikely that any bride will ever wear the gown for her future nuptials, it can still serve as a priceless piece of history and a beautiful reminder of the mother they loved - and miss - so much.