It was the outward display of Diana’s determination to be known ‘not as a clotheshorse but a workhorse’.
‘She realised that in order for people to take her seriously she needed to dress down,’ says exhibition curator Eleri Lynn.
She developed a distinctive uniform, suitable for a chic, working mum based around simple shift dresses and jackets, many by Catherine Walker.
‘Diana exuded a kind of executive sleekness.’ says Eleri. ‘And certain things she did moved away from royal protocol. She stopped wearing gloves because she liked skin-to-skin contact when she shook hands. She didn’t wear hats after a while, because she said you can’t cuddle a child in a hat, and she would wear chunky jewellery so babies would have something to play with.’
Interestingly, this dress is the only one on display that she did not wear to an official event. Instead, she wore this simple but exquisitely cut blue shift dress for a shopping trip on Bond Street in London in 1997.