Ten couture creations -- part of a group of gowns Princess Diana auctioned off for charity in 1997 -- are going back on the auction block. But not for a very noble cause.
Maureen Dunkel, a Tampa, Fla. socialite, bought 13 of Diana’s dresses at a Christie's auction in New York for £500,000 (around $800,000), months before her death in June 1997.
Now some her acquisitions have reportedly been flown to London where they are expected to be auctioned off at the Kerry Taylor auction house in South London on March 16. According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, unlike the '97 auction, the proceeds will go not to charity but to pay off Dunkel’s personal debt.
The dresses included Victor Edelstein’s blue silk velvet number worn by Diana in 1985 when she danced with John Travolta at a White House ball. There are also two Catherine Walker gowns; a red one worn to the premiere of Steel Magnolias and a metallic green one worn by Diana during a state visit to Vienna in 1986 and a 1993 film premiere.
Selling the gowns and donating the money to charity was Diana’s oldest son Prince William’s idea. The young Prince, then just 15, had told his mother to clean out her crowded closet for charity. In the Christie's catalog notes, Diana wrote: "The inspiration for this wonderful sale comes from just one person; our son William."
At the time, Diana told Vogue: "I hope the people who buy my dresses use them to bring succour and support to others." The auction raised the equivalent of £2.8 million (almost $4 million) for Diana’s favorite charities, including AIDS research and land mines.
The British press is now abuzz with the notion of Prince William buying back his mother's iconic dresses. What do you think of that idea?