Famous Diana Sweater Fetches Way More Than Expected

Iconic sheep garment goes for more than $1M at Sotheby's
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2023 11:20 AM CDT
Updated Sep 14, 2023 2:00 PM CDT
UPDATE Sep 14, 2023 2:00 PM CDT

Sotheby's expected a sheep sweater made famous by Princess Diana to sell for $80,000 tops. Instead, it sold for a surprise $1.14 million in the auction that ended on Thursday, reports the BBC. The buyer's identity was not revealed. Bids in the two-week auction were under $200,000 until the final minutes of bidding. The sweater features a black sheep among white ones, which many thought was emblematic of the way Diana saw her place in the royal family. She was first photographed wearing it while engaged to Charles.

Jun 26, 2023 11:20 AM CDT

More than 40 years ago, a teen Diana Spencer wore a piece of clothing to her fiance Prince Charles' polo match that set the world abuzz. That item—a red sweater dotted with rows of white sheep, plus a lone black sheep—is now set to head to the auction block, with an expected final sale of between $50,000 and $80,000, reports CNN. An engaged Diana sported the eye-catching piece (see it here) in June 1981, a month before she married Charles, but she tore one of the cuffs soon after and sent it back to the luxury knitwear brand Warm & Wonderful to see if they could repair or replace it.

The company sent her a replacement, which she was seen wearing to at least one other polo match. Designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne completely forgot about the original sweater—until this past February, when Osborne stumbled upon an old wine box in the corner of the company's attic, inside of which was the long-missing sweater, per People. "I had a kind of Groundhog Day moment and thought, 'Could this be the one?'" Osborne says.

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The two called Sotheby's about their find, which has now revived speculation on the meaning behind Diana wearing it in the first place (some say she was trying to signal that she felt like the black sheep of the royal family). "Princess Diana's wardrobe often pushed the boundaries of societal norms at the time and had a unique way of transcending her personality through to the public," Sotheby's Cynthia Houlton tells Town & Country. "The second she was captured donning this sweater, it immediately sparked a conversation [between] both the media and the general public, speculating what message she was trying to send to the world." (More Princess Diana stories.)

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