Princess Diana
Britain’s Princess Diana arrives on Oct. 4, 1990 for a charity gala at the Departmental Auditorium in Washington. Kevin Larkin/AFP/Getty Images


  • Princess Diana reportedly wanted a white version of her now-iconic black "Revenge Dress"
  • Greek designer Christina Stambolian reportedly thought it would look better in black
  • Diana wore the dress to a June 1994 event, on the same night King Charles admitted to cheating on her

Princess Diana's black "Revenge Dress" is now iconic, but a royal author has revealed that the late royal initially wanted a white version of it.

The late Princess of Wales wore a little black off-the-shoulder, form-fitting silk dress by Christina Stambolian that many dubbed the "Revenge Dress" to the Serpentine Gallery on June 29, 1994. This was the same night King Charles III admitted to cheating on his then-wife with Queen Consort Camilla.

In a new interview, "Diana: A Life in Dresses" author Claudia Joseph shared the story behind what has since become one of the most iconic fashion moments of all time.

"The story behind her wearing the 'Revenge Dress' is quite interesting," she told Us Weekly. "She'd gone into [the] Christina Stambolian dress shop with her brother Charlie Spencer, and he sat there while she tried on clothes."

The royal writer said Prince William and Prince Harry's mom ordered the off-the-shoulder dress but originally "wanted it in white." However, Greek designer Christina Stambolian suggested going for black instead.

"But Christina said, 'No, no I think it would look better in black,'" Joseph said. "[Diana] was [groaning] about it, but Christina insisted, 'This looks fabulous on you.'"

Princess Diana ended up ordering the piece in black. On the day of the Serpentine Gallery event, the British press leaked that the royal would be wearing Valentino, which made her "quite angry," according to the royal author.

"[Diana] went into her closet and her butler suggested she wear the [Stambolian], and it of course got dubbed the 'Revenge Dress,'" Joseph claimed.

According to the author, Princess Diana's wardrobe wasn't expansive when she first married then-Prince Charles.

"When she married [Charles], she was 20 years old. She said she only had one long dress, one silk skirt and a pair of shoes," Joseph told the outlet. "She obviously went shopping for her wedding, but she gradually needed more and more. At that age, you haven't really discovered your style."

While Princess Diana was "very much influenced by the 1980s and the Romantics" during her early days as a royal, she "took risks and wore slightly shorter skirts" after she and Charles separated in 1992, according to Joseph.

The former couple divorced in August 1996 after 15 years of marriage. Princess Diana died at age 36 in August 1997. King Charles then wed Camilla in 2005.

Last year, fashion news and features director Bethan Holt also spoke about the "Revenge Dress" on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana's death.

Holt told The Telegraph that Princess Diana picked it because it was a "perfect statement of the freedom, confidence and sexiness she wanted to project."

British fashion journalist and "Lady Di Look Book" author Eloise Moran also approved of Princess Diana's look that night.

"I think Diana is an embodiment of the movement. She was truly a feminist, and had a reputation for being rebellious – but at the same time held herself with so much grace," Moran said.

She continued, "She's an icon for women and represents the power that comes from being 'alone.' I can't imagine a time when that idea would ever become out of date."

Actress Naomi Watts to Princess Diana
Diana, the Princess of Wales meets invited guests at the Serpentine gallery in Hyde Park, in London June 29, 1994. The Princess attended a gala hosted by Lord Palumbo and toured an exhibition of 24 years of British painting. Reuters