By Poulami Bhandari Last Updated:
Diana, the Princess of Wales, was one of the most-loved personalities of her time. Her kind nature, humanitarian work, and individuality was the reason behind her immense popularity. On July 29, 1981, Princess Diana tied the knot with Charles III, the present king of the United Kingdom. Their wedding was like a fairytale, but unfortunately, their married life was full of turmoil and ended in divorce in 1992.
Along with her tumultuous royal life, Princess Diana used to grab the media’s attention with her sartorial choices. She had a sophisticated yet relatable style that was a mixture of high-end designer pieces with more affordable clothing. This approach helped her become a prominent figure in mainstream media. Her influence cemented her status as a fashion icon in history. Recently, one of her iconic clothes went under the hammer at Sotheby’s Fashion Icons auction in New York.
This iconic red and white sheep sweater that once belonged to Princess Diana was sold for a whopping USD 1.14 million, which is approximately INR 9.47 crores, at an auction in New York, setting a previously unheard record. Lady Diana Spencer wore the red jumper with a whimsical black and white sheep motif in 1981 before joining the royal household. The princess wore the sweater to a polo match she attended with now-king Charles when she was just 19 years old.
During Sotheby's inaugural Fashion Icons auction on September 14, 2023, an anonymous bidder managed to secure the sweater, now called the ‘black sheep jumper’ in the British media. The bidding war for Diana's sweater lasted for 15 minutes and involved 44 bids from 12 countries. The bidding had far surpassed the pre-auction estimates of USD 80,000.
In a recent statement, Sotheby's announced that a new auction record had been set for clothing the late Princess Diana wore. The sweater was also declared the most valuable sweater ever sold at an auction. This title was previously held by a green cardigan owned by Kurt Cobain, which was sold for USD 334,000 in 2019.
In the auction lot, there were two letters from Buckingham Palace written in 1981 that were addressed to Warm and Wonderful, a small London design company. The letters explained that Princess Diana’s jumper had a damaged cuff, and asked if it could be repaired or replaced. The company knitted a new jumper for the princess and in return, received a thank you letter from the Princess. In 1983, Princess Diana wore the new jumper to another polo match, pairing it with white jeans, a large white collar, and a thin black ribbon tie.
Recently, Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, Warm and Wonderful’s co-founders, found the original sweater in a small wine box in an attic, which was found to be damaged. After further inspection, it was confirmed that it was the original sheep jumper that Princess Diana wore over 40 years ago. They mentioned in a joint statement:
"Since stumbling upon the sweater in March of this year (2023), we have been reliving the fond memories of Princess Diana. We are thrilled that this cherished sweater has now found a new home, carrying with it the enduring legacy of Princess Diana."
The Princess of Wales did something that no one in the British monarchy ever did before. Amidst all the royal rules and regulations, Princess Diana always chose to maintain her individuality. The decision to wear a design that defied traditional royal standards conveyed her desire to embrace her identity, portraying herself as a modern and relatable royal figure who refused to conform.
Do you guys like Princess Diana’s iconic ‘black sheep jumper’? Let us know.