When Prince Charles proposed to Diana Spencer in 1981, his soon-to-be bride took the world by storm. Demure, beautiful, and capable of pulling off any look, Princess Diana soon became a fashion and social icon.
The late Princess of Wales was particularly fond of chic Chanel suits and accessories. But after her contentious divorce, the mother of two couldn’t bring herself to wear anything from the French fashion house.
For years it was unknown why Lady Di refused to wear Chanel after the divorce until a recent interview resurfaced.
Happily Ever After Turned Hellacious
At first, the public gobbled up Charles and Diana’s love story. It seemed like a classic fairy tale—a noble prince falling for a shy aristocrat far removed from regimented royal life.
After their televised marriage in July 1981, photos of Princess Diana flooded the media. Every outfit for every occasion was on display for the world to see. From casual to formal, she cemented her place among style icons like Jackie O and Jane Birkin.
Meanwhile, Princess Diana was living through a torturous marriage behind closed doors. Five years after the wedding, Prince Charles began an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, had been a long-time friend of Prince Charles.
At this point, the Prince and Princess of Wales led separate lives. They officially separated in 1992. When asked about Bowles’s role in her divorce in a 1995 interview with BBC1, Princess Diana replied sadly, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage. So, it was a bit crowded.”
After Prince Charles admitted to his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles in 1994, Princess Diana stunned the world in what would later be called her “revenge dress.” But when it came to her signature tailored Chanel suits, she couldn’t bear to pull them out of the closet.
An Unwanted Reminder
Australian designer Jayson Brunsdon shone a light on why the late princess could no longer wear Chanel in a 2018 interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
Brunsdon recalled helping Lady Di get ready for a hospital photo op. She was wearing a cream Versace skirt suit and couldn’t decide on which shoes to wear.
“She went back to her bedroom and came out holding handfuls of shoes and bags and just dumped them all down on the couch,” Brunsdon said. “Then she said, ‘What do you think?’ So, I went through them all, and I found a pair of Chanel shoes.”
“I said, ‘Well, these would look great with the Versace.’ And she said, ‘No, I can’t wear linked Cs–the double C.” The interlinked C’s, the princess explained, reminded her too much of her ex-husband and his new lover (aka Charles and Camilla).
While Princess Diana eventually began incorporating Chanel back into her wardrobe, she always opted for pieces without the classic linked C logo. And sadly, this is where her style evolution would stay.