Diana Princess of Wales ‚Travolta‘ dress by Victor Edelstein, 1985

Shortly before her death in August 1997, Diana requested that the dress be sold in a charity auction. Florida-based businesswoman Maureen Dunkel bought it for £100,000 in New York in June 1997, along with nine other dresses formerly owned by the Princess.

The Travolta dress was the most expensive one sold at the auction. When she went bankrupt in 2011, Dunkel was forced to put them up for auction, but the Travolta dress was one of six that were not sold It was finally auctioned off by Kerry Taylor in London on 19 March 2013, fetching £240,000 ($362,424) and again being the most expensive auctioned dress. It was bought by „a British gentleman as a surprise to cheer up his wife“.

In 2019, it sold for £264,000 ($325,317) to Historic Royal Palaces a charity which looks after royal memorabilia including clothing and artifacts. The dress has joined the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection and belongs to the palace.

Diana Princess of Wales| Sapphire Brooch Necklace Pearl Choker Collier
Diana Princess of Wales| Sapphire Brooch Necklace Pearl Choker Collier

Designed for the Princess by fashion designer Victor Edelstein, this striking midnight blue dress is now on public display at Kensington Palace to celebrate the reopening of the palace this summer.

The midnight blue velvet gown became legendary when the Princess wore it to a White House Gala in 1985 and took to the dancefloor with John Travolta.  Images of the Princess and the Hollywood actor dancing together made headlines around the world, securing a place in fashion history for the stunning gown

Following over four months of closure during lockdown, Kensington Palace will be reopening its doors once more to welcome visitors from Thursday, 30 July. To celebrate the re-opening, the famous ‘Travolta dress’, worn by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, will go on display at the palace for the first time since it was acquired by Historic Royal Palaces at auction in 2019.

The midnight blue velvet gown, designed by Victor Edelstein, became legendary when the Princess wore it to a White House Gala in 1985 and took to the dance floor with John Travolta.  Images of the Princess and the Hollywood actor dancing together made headlines around the world, securing a place in fashion history for the stunning gown.  In 2019, it was acquired by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces and has somewhat fittingly been in conservation ‘quarantine’ ever since, to protect it for posterity.  Like Kensington Palace itself, the dress is now coming out of isolation, and will be on display at the Princess’s former home this Summer for visitors to enjoy.

Famously the birthplace of Queen Victoria, Kensington Palace has been a royal residence for over 300 years.  Lavish Georgian parties were held within its spectacular state apartments in the eighteenth century.  A hundred years later, in 1837, a young Princess Victoria woke up at the palace to the news of her accession to the throne.  In recent years the palace has been home to Princess Margaret – sister of HM Queen Elizabeth II – and Diana, Princess of Wales.  It is currently the London home of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The palace closed in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and has since been quiet, with the shutters of its famous galleries closed to protect the remarkable collections on display.  Palaces staff have returned to Kensington this week to gradually ‘reawaken’ the palace and install and array of new measures to ensure returning visitors feel safe.  Hand sanitiser dispensers and social distancing signage have been installed across the site.  Visitors are asked to book in advance, to help Historic Royal Palaces manage capacity, so visitors can enjoy their time at court with plenty of space.  The State Apartments and the rooms Queen Victoria grew up in will both be open, with visitors asked to follow a one-way route through the palace.

Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for Kensington Palace, is hoping visitors will show their support for its national treasures by returning for a visit this Summer.  The charity is dependent on visitor income and facing a £98 million shortfall in its finances following the pandemic.  The return of visitors will make a vital contribution to the charity’s work caring for Kensington Palace and sharing its stories with the public.

Sam Owen, Head of Kensington Palace, said,

‘We are delighted to be welcoming visitors back to the palace again this Thursday.  Kensington Palace was built to be enjoyed by hundreds of people and it’s been sad to see it so quiet over the past couple of months.  Myself and the team can’t wait to welcome visitors back again and give them a suitably royal welcome.  We’ve never needed their support more – each visit is an important contribution to help us maintain this wonderful building for generations to come.’

Diana Princess of Wales Sapphire and Diamond Cluster Brooch Choker| Royal Jewels History

Diana Princess of Wales Sapphire and Diamond Choker | Russian Cluster Brooch | Gift of Elizabeth the Queen Mother to Diana Spencer

Countess of Bathurst | Royal Gifts and Wedding Prestents | Nobel Diamonds & Royal Jewel History

Countess of Bathurst | Royal Gifts and Wedding Prestents | Nobel und Royal Jewel History
Countess of Bathurst | Royal Gifts and Wedding Presents | Nobel and Royal Jewel History


The trousseau of Miss Lilias Borthwick, of which we had a glimpse yesterday, is the perfection of dainty simplicity| November 1893

The gown both for day and evening wear depend on for their effect their perfect cut, rather than on costliness of material. The trousseau includes several useful tailor-built gowns, one of navy serge with open jacket worn over a fawn-coloured Tattersall vest; another of gendarme blue home-spun, and third of brown-fleoked Scotch tweed, which is being made near the bride’s Highland home by a lady who enjoys the patronage of Royalty, was specially charmed with Cuttle Russian coat of gendarme blue cloth, with big square collar and revers sable and quaint strap fastenings on the bodice. The basque was attached to a ribbon belt fastened with buckle of oxidized silver. Cozy wrap of fawnooloured serge was lined through with gray squirrel fur and bordered with soft brown bear fur. The high collar was cut in one with the cloak.

Quaint Spanish buttons of old silver were used on the bodice of useful little gown black diagonal with bands of crimson velvet the skirt and a crimson velvet vest.

For her wedding journey tho Isle of Wight the future Lady Bathurst has selected dress and coat of brown hopsack tweed. The skirt has border of mink and a band petunia-coloured mirror velvet covered with brown passementerie. The bodice has square yoke back and front of the petunia velvet, edged with passementerie. Both coat and skirt are lined with petunia-red shot silk. A large picture hat of brown velvet with plumes of ostrich tips on the left side is to be worn with the dress. Most the future Countess Bathurst’s evening gowns are guiltless of trains, these appendages not being much approved by the sensible and practical young lady.

Among these gowns is a charming dinner dress of white silk, powdered with tiny pink flowers. The hem flounce is run on green and pink baby ribbon, which is knotted here and there, and the bodice and Empire sash are trimmed with gold enamel trimming. A dainty gown of blue moiré has the skirt trimmed with donkey ear bows blue velvet and bands of velvet covered with passementerie of white and colored pearls, the bands forming deep point in front. Another evening dress of de Nil armor silk, with a double flounce of embroidered chiffon arranged pagoda-wise the skirt.

A very pretty Whatteau tea gown in light yellow, has points caught with a rosette on the train and the slight train falls from 8 rosettes between the shoulders. A charming little tea gown in rise pink Lilac silk has full front the silk circled with a quaint chain girdle and clasps of oxidized silver. Dainty dressing gowns, heaps of pretty lingerie, and a variety of headgear were among the wedding finer v displayed in the young bride’s pretty sitting room near the top of Sir Algernon’s high house in Piccadilly, the windows which command magnificent view over the green park.


Above in the picture: Lilias, Countess Bathurst

The most valuable piece from the collection of Countess Bathurst, is an early 20th Century Diamond Tiara, commissioned from Cartier by Lilias, Countess Bathurst (1871-1965).

Made from  old and rose-cut diamonds, silver and gold, (circa 1910) the stones were taken from two tiaras,  Countess Bathurst inherited from her mother Lady Glenesk.

The tiara and the preceding corsage brooch, is the epitome of aristocratic splendor and the delicate Belle Époque scrolling motifs were inspired by 18th century architectural details.

Compared to many Victorian tiaras with their often heavy style of mounting and high surmounts this early 20th century example must have felt comparatively ethereal, and it is not surprising that Gloria Bathurst clearly enjoyed wearing it and was photographed wearing this beautiful head ornament on various grand occasions.


Lilias Countess of Bathurst | Cartier Diamond Stomacher and Cartier Diamonds Tiara | Nobel Diamonds & Royal Jewel History

Countess of Bathurst | Gloria Bathurst |Royal Gifts | Nobel Heirlooms Diamonds & Royal Jewel History

Lilias Countess of Bathurst | Natural Pearl and Diamond Tiara | Important Pearls, Diamonds & Royal Jewel History

Lilias Countess of Bathurst | Queen Anne Pearl Necklace | Historic Natural Pearl | Nobel Diamonds & Royal Jewel History

Lilias Countess of Bathurst | Diamond Brooch of large Diamonds| Nobel Diamonds & Royal Jewel History