Dress worn by Princess Diana sells for nearly £500,000 at auction

A dress worn by Diana, Princess of Wales has been sold for nearly half a million pounds in an auction at Sotheby’s New York salesroom.

The strapless purple evening gown, by Victor Edelstein, was bought on Friday for $604,800 (£488,15) at the curated auction The One.

Sotheby’s said the final bid was five times the pre-auction estimate of $80,000 to 120,000 (£66,153-99,230).

Diana first wore the dress for an official royal portrait in 1991, by photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, the first Earl of Snowdon, who was the former husband of Princess Margaret.

Cynthia Houlton, Sotheby’s global head of fashion and accessories, said: “Diana has long been renowned and celebrated for her timeless sense of style, and this sleek and sophisticated bespoke ball gown, designed by Victor Edelstein, encapsulates Princess Diana’s effortless elegance.

“Today’s sale of this historic dress is a reminder of Princess Diana’s enduring legacy that continues to inspire people all over the world.”

Diana would wear the dress again for a 1997 Vanity Fair spread, shot by photographer Mario Testino.

That same year, the dress, which is made of deep aubergine silk velvet, with a tulip-shaped stiffened skirt, augmented by three paste buttons at the back, was sold as part of a charity event.

It formed part of an auction of 80 dresses to raise money for the charities’ Aids Crisis Trust and the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund.

The dress, designed for Edelstein’s Autumn 1989 collection, was sold 26 years ago for $24,150 (£19,492).

Edelstein, who would design other dresses worn by Diana in the 1980s and 1990s, also made the midnight blue, off-the-shoulder, velvet gown she wore at a state banquet at the White House given by US president Ronald Reagan.

During the event in 1985, Diana famously danced with Hollywood actor John Travolta.

A jersey worn by American basketball player LeBron James during an NBA victory in 2013 was also sold at Friday’s auction, for 3.7 million dollars (£3 million).