The True Story Behind Princess Diana’s ‘Revenge Dress’ And How She Broke Royal Norms With Style

It’s no secret that we here at LittleThings love the royal family. From the Queen down to little Princess Charlotte, we just can’t get enough.

There’s always been something so glamorous and wonderful about the royals. Even though some people consider them stuffy, the younger generations are keeping themselves relevant by doing incredible philanthropy work and staying up-to-date on current social issues.

When Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle at the end of November 2017, we were all thrilled for the happy couple. But there was something strangely upsetting about the news as well: wasn’t Harry just 12, like, yesterday?

It seems like William and Harry were boys a mere few years ago, but now they’re men with their own families. It’s crazy to think about the fact that their mother, Princess Diana, actually passed away 20 years ago.

When it comes to royal contributions to the world, one of the most memorable is Princess Diana’s sense of style. She not only changed the world of fashion for the royal family, but for everyone who loved her.

And one specific outfit has kept us enthralled for years: the “revenge dress.”

[H/T: i-D]

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Getty Images / Anwar Hussein

In 1994, after the media’s nonstop reporting of Diana and Charles’ crumbling marriage, Charles publicly admitted to his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

The very same day, Diana had to make a public appearance, and she decided to make quite a statement.


Getty Images / Hulton Royals Collection

Instead of wearing something demure to avoid attention, Diana donned a skimpy black, skin-tight, off-the-shoulder silk dress.

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Getty Images / Anwar Hussein

The dress showed a lot of skin, and Diana seemed to love it. She smiled all evening, happy to finally be free of the royal rules that had been constraining her.

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Of course, Diana’s revenge dress wasn’t the first nontraditional outfit she wore as Princess of Wales.

Although she began her royal tenure wearing typical posh-teenager clothes like blouses and sweaters, she quickly realized she could express herself more through style.

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Getty Images / Anwar Hussein

Because she was a young bride — and subsequently a young mother — many people expected her to wear youthful clothing or outfits that reflected her motherhood.

Of course, Diana’s choices were much more outside the box than expected.

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At an event in the US, Diana wore a stunning floor-length black gown. It was elegant and sultry, and 100% grown-up.

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Unlike other royals, Diana didn’t mind showing off her skin — and why would she?

It was the 1980s, so even the clothes considered scandalous by the royals were nothing compared to what commoners were wearing.

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Getty Images / Anwar Hussein

She was regularly seen in strapless and low-cut dresses at formal events.

In her free time, Diana went full-on casual.

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When spending time with her sons, William and Harry, Diana didn’t shy away from wearing comfortable clothes. She was a hands-on mom, and she wanted to be able to get down on the ground and play with her kids.

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She regularly wore jeans and khakis, and didn’t mind being photographed in her more casual looks.

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Getty Images / Anwar Hussein

And unlike many of the royal ladies before her, Diana wasn’t afraid to wear pants.

In fact, she was the first woman in the royal family to wear trousers to an evening event.

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Getty Images / Anwar Hussein

Diana was also very open about working out, and multiple pictures of her were taken in exercise clothing.

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“The People’s Princess” wasn’t afraid to come across as a normal woman, and she maintained far less secrecy when it came to her daily life than other royals did.

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Today, people are still inspired by Diana and her fashion sense. And wearing a “revenge dress” has become a trend among celebrities going through publicized breakups and divorces.

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