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Princess Diana’s Final Summer Reflected a Royal in Control of Her Own Style Narrative

Her distilled wardrobe saw the glamour of Dynasty Di streamlined into a more sporty, practical proposition. From casual-chic chinos and loafers to A-line midi-dresses and sling-backs, she understood what worked for her lifestyle. Or as close collaborator Jacques Azagury said, “She knew she had great legs, and after her divorce, she wanted to show them off.” Indeed, when reporting on that Christie’s sale of Diana’s past royal hits, fashion critic Suzy Menkes, formerly of the International Herald Tribune, said they looked, “like a dress rehearsal for the little black number worn on the evening Prince Charles confessed to adultery on prime-time television.” There was a confident, curated arc to her image—or “personal brand,” to use today’s terminology.

Chelsea Harbour Club uniform on repeat.

Photo: Getty Images

Were Diana to reflect on her fashion legacy, it might chime with Hamish Bowles’s musings to Tina Brown in The Diana Chronicles. Hers, said the Vogue editor, was an “English style refracted through an un-English sensibility.” The Princess trod her own path and that’s why her every phase—from the wide-eyed Sloane Ranger who fell for Prince Charles, to the woman who finally stripped back the layers of regal frou-frou and became increasingly comfortable in her own skin—continues to compel to this day.



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