Princess Diana’s iconic tennis miniskirt is making a comeback

Few photos exist of the epic 1988 tennis match between Lady Diana and Steffi Graf, yet those that do capture an unforgettable moment. Lady Diana’s unbeatable miniskirt, a sporty choice for an amateur tennis player, stood out.

With training outfits ready and a desire to improve her backhand, Diana’s choice was both practical and stylish—a short skirt destined to cause royal discord. Queen Elizabeth II, a staunch advocate for below-the-knee lengths, had always disapproved of the couture whims of Court women, except for Princess Anne’s miniskirts in the Sixties.

Princess Diana’s legacy

The Queen, aware of the revolution sparked by Mary Quant and leading to the Y2K mini-skirts, had let it go with her daughter. But Lady Diana’s splendid, toned legs, shaped by her dedication to sports, were set to cause another royal headache.

Georges DE KEERLE//Getty Images

They held the match between Diana Spencer and Steffi Graf, then the most famous and beloved tennis player (a modern-day Jannik Sinner equivalent) behind closed doors to curb public curiosity. In the pre-social, pre-digital era, image sharing was limited, and photographers tried to capture the princess before she entered the Vanderbilt Racquet Club in London, where she would inaugurate the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) office.

Diana Spencer relished the rare freedom from paparazzi, energetically bouncing around the indoor court. Known for her competitiveness and love for tennis (and tennis players), she wore an original mini-dress printed with tiny checks and a double closure simulating a sports top over it. The skirt’s wide pleats followed her movements on the court.

The skirt’s minimal length defied Court protocol, but Diana, Princess of Wales, cleverly flaunted it under a long pink cardigan just before entering, and in a few official photos, she pretended to shield herself with the sweater. In reality, she was making another fashion statement, adding to her history of iconic looks.

Princess Diana’s tennis miniskirt legacy

Lady Diana’s fashion choices were more than just style statements; they reflected her personality and independence. This tennis match, and her outfit, symbolised her defiance of rigid royal protocols and her embrace of modern, sporty elegance.

For more stories about Princess Diana’s iconic moments and other royal fashion highlights, stay tuned to our blog.

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire Italy
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer


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