Catherine Walker may have found a royal fan in Kate, the Princess of Wales, but she was also one of Princess Diana’s favourite fashion designers.
She provided Diana with many of her most iconic outfits, having first worked with her three months after her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981.
The Princess was even buried in a black dress designed by Walker that she had bought weeks earlier.
Walker died in 2010 aged 65, and her widower Said Cyrus now runs the business as head designer.
Here, we look back at the intriguing dramas behind each Catherine Walker outfit as reported by RICHARD KAY in 2000…
November 1992 – the end of the fairytale Her marriage to Charles was over in all but name, Diana was ordered by the Queen to make a last superhuman effort for the sake of the Royal Family and fulfill an official tour to South Korea.
It was a gesture too far. At a state banquet, the chasm between the royal couple was all too apparent. They could barely speak to one another.
The cool colours of this lilac crepe gown reflected the icy atmosphere as Diana attended the state banquet hosted by the South Korean President in Seoul in November 1992.
The tension between a then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana was all too obvious – as this picture shows
The pair’s body language said it all as they appeared distant – within weeks their separation was announced
The devastating revelations of Andrew Morton’s book had been followed by the damaging Squidgygate tape. Her affair with James Hewitt over, Diana’s private life was in turmoil.
The ‘fairytale’ marriage was over.
Now all her focus was on her sons, William and Harry. The cool colours of this lilac crepe gown – previously worn for a state visit to the UAE in 1989 – reflected the icy atmosphere.
Within weeks of her return to Britain, Prime Minister John Major announced the separation to a stunned House of Commons.
November 1994 – the wronged womanWeeks after Charles’s explosive confession of adultery with a then-Camilla Parker Bowles, Diana was emerging as the wronged woman in a marriage from hell.
She embarked on a series of high-profile overseas functions, beginning with a reception in aid of Barnardo’s at the Palace of Versailles in France.
Diana, Princess of Wales, in a black halter-neck evening gown designed by Catherine Walker in November 1994
She was attending a reception in aid of Barnardo’s at the Palace of Versailles in France
She wanted to make an entrance – and she did in this show-stopping backless gown
Diana was intent on making an entrance. She didn’t fail.
In this long black dress made from silk crepe, her first ‘sexy’ outfit, haute couture designer Pierre Cardin was moved to remark: ‘This is the home of the Sun King of France. Now we have the Sun Princess of Versailles.’
June 1995 – returning to scene of the ‘revenge dress’Diana looked stunning at the Serpentine Gallery in West London.
The year before, she had used her gallery visit to great effect on the night Charles went on television to admit he had been unfaithful during their marriage.
Princess Diana at the Serpentine Gallery In Hyde Park in the powder blue dress. She was single and enjoying it
Again, Diana opted for a dress that showed off her toned back and legs
Single again and enjoying it, Diana had formed a close friendship with the then England rugby captain, Will Carling. They met at the gym, where Carling introduced her to pumping iron.
Soon afterwards, Carling’s wife Julia was implicating the Princess in the subsequent breakdown of their marriage.
For Diana, it was no more than a diversion. Within weeks she had met the man who was said to be the last real love of her life, Dr Hasnat Khan.
October 1996 – keeping calm amid video scandalThe supposed business of the day was the launch of a £1.5million appeal at the London Lighthouse charity’s Aids centre in Notting Hill, West London.
But on Diana’s and everyone else’s mind was the publication of a secretly filmed tape which allegedly showed the Princess cavorting with her former lover, James Hewitt, at Highgrove.
The film was a fake and the Princess, ever a consummate performer, kept her cool.
A year into her secret relationship with Dr Khan, a Pakistan-born heart surgeon, her private life was calm.
Diana kept her cool, despite being victim of video hoax which was splashed on the front of a newspaper. She looked ever the professional in the red Catherine Walker suit
Despite the drama, she was all smiles and took time to speak to patients during the 1996 visit to London Lighthouse
But on the world stage she was getting bigger, honoured by statesman Dr Henry Kissinger for humanitarian work.
She had also broken off her friendship with the Duchess of York after Fergie’s unkind passages about her in her book.
March 1997 – fresh from her groundbreaking missionWith a new softer hairstyle, Diana looked trim and demure in a pastel pink suit reminiscent of those worn by Jackie Kennedy in the Sixties, with matching handbag and stiletto heels, as she arrived at London’s Savoy Hotel for an awards luncheon.
Her groundbreaking landmines mission to Angola a few weeks earlier had touched a chord around the world.
The Princess had a new haircut and looked demure in the pink Catherine Walker suit. Her groundbreaking landmines mission to Angola a few weeks earlier had touched a chord around the world
She was troubled, though, by the slow re-emergence of Camilla Parker Bowles in her ex-husband’s life
At home, she was planning the most significant break with the past – the clear out of her wardrobe to raise money for cancer and Aids charities.
She was troubled, though, by the slow re-emergence of Camilla Parker Bowles in her ex-husband’s life.
April 1997 – a new romance Diana is a stunning picture of understated elegance as she arrives at the Royal Brompton Hospital in West London to visit young cystic fibrosis sufferers.
In her off-duty hours she was a regular visitor to the hospital, with unannounced visits to patients.
But there was another reason to drop in – her romance with handsome registrar, Hasnat Khan, had gathered pace.
The following month she travelled to Pakistan to meet his family for tea on the lawn of their home in Lahore. Again there was a semi-official purpose for the trip – calling on former cricketer Imran Khan’s cancer hospital.
Diana arriving at The Royal Brompton Hospital in April 1997 in the pale blue outfit
Her romance with handsome registrar, Hasnat Khan, had gathered pace – but it wasn’t meant to be
Friends now believe the real purpose of that visit was to persuade Hasnat Khan’s family that she would be a suitable bride for their son.
If so, it was not successful.
June 1997 – the start of a summer of love Diana wore this elegant dress, made from blue silk crepe and embroidered with bugle beads and diamante, at the London launch of the auction of her gowns at Christie’s.
The New York sale a few days later raised £3.5 million.
Physically at her peak, with a perfect 36-26-36 figure, Diana’s hemlines had become gradually shorter over the years.
Diana wore this elegant dress, made from blue silk crepe and embroidered with bugle beads and diamante, at the London launch of the auction of her gowns at Christie’s
Her landmine campaign was continuing apace and, during this month, it took her to the White House and a meeting with Hillary Clinton.
But private happiness eluded her. Dr Khan refused to come out of the shadows and the couple broke up.
Diana made a spirited attempt at being a single girl by going on a date with a multimillionaire Indian businessman to Annabel’s, the Mayfair nightclub.
It was the start of her summer of love.
Diana accepted an invitation to join Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed at his family’s villa in the South of France.
July 1997 – her last weeks aliveA poignant image – Diana’s last daytime public engagement in Britain.
The simple shift dress with gold double belt was made for a visit to Chicago, but was not worn until the unveiling of a foundation stone at the casualty unit at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, Middlesex.
Diana – already smitten with Dodi Fayed after the son of the Harrods tycoon dumped his American fiancee – was beginning the helter-skelter of her last weeks.
The simple shift dress with gold double belt was made for a visit to Chicago, but was not worn until this event
Diana – already smitten with Dodi Fayed after the son of the Harrods tycoon dumped his American fiancee – was beginning the helter-skelter of her last weeks
She travelled to Milan for the funeral of her friend, the fashion designer Gianni Versace – where pop star Elton John sobbed in her arms – and then began a series of high-profile holidays with Dodi.
But at home she was troubled by the coming-out of Charles and Camilla – the Prince held a public 50th birthday party for his then-mistress.
Diana resolved to spend more time abroad.
A month later, she was dead.