Peggy Umpleby Secretly Hand-Embroidered Princess Diana’s Veil

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When Princess Diana married King Charles (who was a Prince at the time) on July 29, 1981, tons of people in London and 750 million people on TV watched. Lady Di’s huge ’80s ball gown, made by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, was impressive, and, as with most wedding days, all eyes were on the bride! But what nailed her look? Here’s the story!

Princess Diana Had a Beautiful Veil

Peggy Umpleby, a highly skilled embroiderer with 35 years of experience, had the secret job of hand embroidering the veil. Only a couple of people, like the Emanuels and Umpleby herself, even knew about it. So, Elizabeth, the one who came up with the whole idea for the outfit of Princess Diana, told Umpleby exactly what she wanted.

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Elizabeth wanted tiny sequins to look like they were scattered on the veil as if it were made of fairy dust. They used the same sequins on the gown so Princess Diana would sparkle as she walked down the aisle. Umpleby had to keep it all hush-hush, so she worked on it at home late into the night. The story goes she used no fewer than 10,000 micro-pearls on her secret project!

A Veil Made in Secret

Umpleby even faked a vacation to get it all done in time. She sat at her kitchen table, embroidering for two whole weeks, even though she told everyone she was on holiday. Historian Robert McCaffrey said it took a while, and Umpleby tricked her colleagues into thinking she was on vacation. But the veil got done, sent to the Emanuels, and Umpleby returned to work looking lacking the expected sun-kissed tan from her “holiday.”

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Elizabeth said Umpleby did this huge task calmly and gracefully. She and David were sure Umpleby would nail their vision, and she did. They only saw the whole dress and veil at the final fitting in Buckingham Palace because Diana’s train was too long to check out at their showroom. Elizabeth said it was like magic, and Diana looked like a real-life fairy-tale princess bride. We feel it could have been shortened by about an inch, though!