"When she came out of that carriage, it was the most wonderful vision I’d ever seen. She looked like a butterfly emerging from her chrysalis, unfurling her wings and about to fly."
It was the wedding that people across the world waited for with bated breath. The dress had to be perfect, the flowers had to be the right color, and every single detail had to be on point for the grand wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles. But one of the things that was most special was something that remained mostly hidden under Princess Diana's beautiful wedding dress—her specially designed shoes that paid a touching tribute to the man she was going to take as her husband.
Soon after the wedding was announced, Elizabeth Emanuel, who was part of the pair that designed Diana's wedding dress, called up Clive Shilton, a designer who was adored by fashion magazines for his shoes and handbags that were all handmade. When he went to meet the "special client", he found the soon-to-be princess standing on a stool so that her feet could be measured.
"She was a very shy, sweet, smiley-eyed young girl," Clive Shilton recalled, according to the Daily Mail. "Her main concern was that she wouldn’t appear taller than Prince Charles, and because she was very tall — 5ft 10in — the shoes would have to have a low heel."
It took six months to complete the shoes along with the effort of every single person in Clive Shilton's workshop, including the cleaner, to make the perfect shoes that would match what would be the most talked-about wedding dress of the century.
But it wasn't the 542 sequins or the 132 pearls of the shoes that made it special; it was the secret message that was painted on the arches. The design included the letters 'C' and 'D' with a heart in the middle, honoring the couple that was about to embark on a new journey together.
"No one even saw the bottom of the shoes, but it was important to us that they looked fantastic," said Clive Shilton. "You would have seen much more of them if she’d tripped!" But they also paid attention to the soles and made them of soft suede so that Lady Diana wouldn't slip.
Finally, when the big day arrived, thousands watched as Lady Diana, on her way to being the beloved people's princess, stepped out of the carriage for a picture-perfect moment. Elizabeth Emanuel recalled the picture-perfect moment and said, "When she came out of that carriage, it was the most wonderful vision I’d ever seen. She looked like a butterfly emerging from her chrysalis, unfurling her wings and about to fly. It was so romantic. Oddly, the imperfections seemed to make her even more beautiful."
Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed the dress along with David Emanuel, also added something special from their own side to add to the good wishes for the royal couple. A little horseshoe was also included in the label of the wedding dress. Even though the horseshoe, made of 18-carat Welsh gold and studded with white diamonds, couldn't be seen prominently, it was a meaningful gesture from the designers.
"Nobody could see our private gift when the dress was being worn," said Elizabeth Emanuel. "It was just there as a little token, a second good luck charm, from us to Diana."
Elizabeth Emanuel had seen her transform from a shy 19-year-old to a confident woman on her way to being an iconic princess. "It’s always been about a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, and that is her story, she was emerging into a new world and turning into a beautiful princess," she said, as quoted by Express. "Only when she came into our studio, we realized how young she was... She went from 26-27 inch, to a 23-inch waist. Her face had slimmed down - she looked like a model. She walked more confidently. She was just suddenly growing up, turning into woman."