So the gloriously refurbished Kensington Palace will soon be home to the Duchess of Cambridge (aka: Kate Middleton) and her royal beau Prince Wills. But it also currently houses a stunning archive of royal ceremonial dress - that means hundreds of years of majestic fashion history, from traditional court attire to military costume, superswishy '50s debutante frocks, all matters of fabulous items from the Queen's wardrobe and some of Princess Diana's most iconic gowns. But get this - the archive isn’t just in the same vicinity as Kate and Will’s new pad, it’s located in the exact space where their awesome new apartment will be.
Princess Diana in Zandra Rhodes, 1986. A close-up shot of the hem taken at the Royal Ceremonial Dress Archive, Kensington Palace.
So imagine our excitement at receiving exclusive access to this most intriguing place. We spent HOURS (royals guards and horses couldn't have dragged us away) in the immaculately catalogued and curated archive, guided by the very cool Acne-clad Dierdre Murphy, Collections Curator at the Royal Ceremonial Dress Archive. We managed to see (not touch!) some exciting and rare objects – including statement pieces like Diana’s pink beaded Zandra Rhodes gown that she wore in 1986 for a State Banquet in Kyoto, Japan, plus random things like a carefully preserved box of Princess Margaret’s hangers and even an original Lanvin flapper-girl dress that's so delicate and heavy with beading you can't lift it up. Fascinating! Scroll through the gallery above to see some of our favourites from the day.