The Real Reason Princess Diana Was Criticized For Wearing Black

When it comes to royal dressing, princes and princesses have more to contend with than what colors suit their skin tones. According to Cosmopolitan, there are as many as 36 style protocols that you'd never expect the royals have to take into consideration. Princess Diana is remembered as one of the most fashion-forward and trendsetting members of the royal family. However here's the reason why Lady Di was criticized for wearing black after her engagement to Prince Charles, according to the biography Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words.

British journalist Andrew Morton's biography about the Princess of Wales gained No. 1 bestseller status; it gave insights into the royal household that fans could only dream of. The first formal outing for Princess Diana after getting engaged was at the Goldsmith's Hall in 1981. She wore a black dress which Marie Claire said, "made headlines around the world and firmly established Diana as a global style icon."

Morton spent a lot of time with the royals while writing his biography, and in interviews for the book (per Insider), he said Princess Diana told him that Prince Charles had said she couldn't wear the dress and the reason may shock you.

Why Prince Charles didn't like the idea of the dress

Marie Claire outlines that Princess Diana's black, floor-length gown was designed by the Emanuels who would go on to design her wedding dress. According to Morton, before the couple attended a fundraiser which would mark their first public appearance since their engagement, Princess Diana said, "I remember walking into my husband-to-be's study, and him saying: 'You're not going in that dress, are you?' I replied: 'Yes, I am.' And he said: 'It's black! But only people in mourning wear black" (per Insider).

Cosmopolitan explains that along with carrying your bag on a certain side and not wearing nail polish, royal etiquette considers black to be too sober so you'll rarely see the royal women wearing it during the day. Morton went on to say that in his conversation with Princess Diana, she said, "I thought it was OK because girls my age wore this dress. I hadn't appreciated."

The dress marked the 'birth of a fashion icon'

Andrew Morton's book would suggest that Prince Charles wasn't too impressed with Princess Diana's choice of dress. However, when reflecting back on that night in 1981, designer Elizabeth Emanuel told British Vogue, "We witnessed the birth of a fashion icon before our very eyes."

Princess Diana went on to pave the way for fashionable princesses and duchesses. According to the Evening Standard, royal protocol usually favors skirts (ideally on the knee) and dresses. However, Princess Diana was often seen wearing tuxedo pants to events, suggesting trousers weren't completely off-limits. Similarly, Meghan Markle has been known for wearing a suit to royal engagements.

Vanity Fair has outlined how Princess Diana's style went on to influence fashion lines for years and Kent Gavin, the royal photographer for the Daily Mirror told the publication, "even if everyone thought it'd be a dull engagement, we would turn up to see what she was wearing."