Princess Diana's Rare Behind the Scenes Met Gala Moments Go Viral on TikTok

Behind the scenes clips from Princess Diana's "iconic" appearance at the Met Gala in 1996 have gone viral on social media after they were uploaded to video sharing platform TikTok.

The clips filmed inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in December 1996 at the opening of the Christian Dior retrospective exhibition have been viewed over 190,000 times and received in excess of 33,000 likes since being uploaded to TikTok by user happymedison.

Commenters on the viral video have praised both the princess and her fashion choice with one user posting:

"Even A list celebrities were taking pictures of her. What a ICONIC person."

"She was the moment of this Met Gala. Truly an icon," wrote another.

Princess Diana and the Met Gala

Princess Diana attended the Met Gala only once, eight months before her untimely death at the age of 36 in a high speed Paris car crash that also killed her then-boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

The December 1996 event was held to launch the annual Costume Institute exhibition staged at the museum, a tradition that was started by renowned Vogue editor Diana Vreeland in the 1970s and which continues today.

The exhibition, a retrospective of French couturier Christian Dior's work in fashion, was chaired by Liz Tilberis, then-editor of Vanity Fair, who had previously been editor of British Vogue, where she formed a working relationship and then friendship with Princess Diana.

Princess Diana Met Gala 1996
Princess Diana photographed wearing Christian Dior at the Met Gala in December 1996. The footage has gone viral on TikTok. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images/Stephane Cardinale/Sygma via Getty Images

The royal was invited to the gala, regarded as one of the premiere social events in the U.S., by Tilberis, who became a powerful ally of the princess during her separation from Prince Charles.

In January 1995, Diana had made a special visit to New York to present Tilberis with a CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) award and she made increasing visits to the city in the final years of her life.

At the gala, Diana entered via the Metropolitan Museum of Art's famous staircase with her presence dominating press coverage of the event. It was also attended by fashion and society heavyweights, including the owner of Christian Dior, Bernard Arnault, and chief designer John Galliano.

Princess in Dior

Known for her use of fashion as a tool to pay tribute or to convey messages, Princess Diana didn't disappoint the eager crowds of fashion insiders at the Met Gala for her 1996 appearance.

For the event she selected a daring design from the first collection of British designer John Galliano at Dior.

The elegant, but revealing, midnight blue silk slip dress with black lace edging caused a near sensation, showing the newly divorced Diana in a risqué new light, unburdened by the staid traditions of royal dress.

The dress was so daring that the princess, according to the Daily Mail, nearly opted out of wearing it out of fear it would upset the sensitive and easily embarrassed teenage Prince William.

She also featured a staple Dior accessory, which was named in her honor—the Lady Dior handbag.

An exclusive early version of the bag was given to the princess in 1995 by then-first lady of France, Bernadette Chirac, during a visit to Paris. The box design with standing handles and gold hardwear quickly became one of the princess' favorite accessories, which she bought in multiple colors.

Princess Diana Met Gala 1996
Princess Diana photographed with Liz Tilberis (L) wearing Christian Dior at the Met Gala in December 1996. Footage has gone viral on TikTok. Stephane Cardinale/Sygma via Getty Images

The royal was a loyal Dior client following Galliano's appointment and, along with Chanel and Versace, it became one of the non-British fashion houses most associated with the princess as she moved away from the monarchy.

Following her death in 1997, Dior officially named the box style handbag frequently used by the princess the "Lady Dior" in reference to her maiden name of Lady Diana Spencer.

Legacy

To date, Princess Diana's attendance at the 1996 Met Gala remains one of the most memorable moments in the event's long history.

Only one other member of the British royal family has attended the gala, Diana's niece Princess Beatrice of York, in 2018.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Diana's death, stoking interest in the royal and her legacy, especially amid screen depictions of her in popular culture, such as in The Crown's highly anticipated fifth season.

In honor of this, Christian Dior has created a limited edition run of 200 Lady Dior handbags identical to the one carried by the princess on the night of the Met Gala.

The blue satin design with crystal embellishments hit stores in November. It is priced at €5,000 ($5,126).

Princess Diana "Lady Dior" Handbag
Princess Diana photographed in Argentina (L) on November 23, 1995, and in Liverpool on November 7, 1995, with her Lady Dior handbag. Footage of her at the Met Gala has gone viral on TikTok. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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