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From her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981 to her untimely death in 1997 at the age of 36, Princess Diana became one of the most recognizable women in the world, cultivating a sense of style that still inspires modern fashion trends today.

One of the fashion staples in Diana’s working wardrobe was the simple but classic skirt suit which she owned in a rainbow of colors in a wide range of textiles from silk to wool crepe.

Since marrying Diana’s son, Prince William, in 2011, Kate Middleton has adopted the stylish skirt suit for official royal engagements and she has been compared aesthetically to her late-mother-in-law time and again.

Princess Diana: Canterbury, May 20, 1995

After her separation from Prince Charles in 1992 and over 10 years spent in the public spotlight, Princess Diana had developed a taste for simpler, chicer clothes than had been the norm throughout the 1980s.

One of Diana’s favorite designers and friends during the early 1990s was Gianni Versace. Many of her later skirt suits were designed by Versace, inspired by the clean clipped chic style of former First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy.

Diana’s milliner, Philip Somerville, who created her famous pillbox hats, revealed after the princess’ death that she had once asked him: “Do you think, one day, people will think of me as the Jackie Kennedy of my day?”

Versace designed this ensemble, worn twice publicly in 1995, as a pastiche on Jackie Kennedy’s infamous pink suit that she wore on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and Diana wore it with a Somerville pink pillbox hat to complete the tribute.

Princess Diana Pink Versace Skirt Suit
Princess Diana wore a pink Versace skirt suit, designed as a pastiche of Jackie Kennedy’s famous ensemble, to a military engagement in Canterbury on May 20, 1995.JAYNE FINCHER/GETTY IMAGES/ANWAR HUSSEIN/GETTY IMAGES

Princess Diana: Liverpool, November 7, 1995

This orange wool skirt suit was also designed by Versace, and Diana wore it to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Merseyside in 1995.

The elegant suit was worn with contrasting black accessories including a Lady-Dior handbag and black leather belt.

To elongate the silhouette of the outfit, the princess wore a high-neck black sweater underneath the suit and black opaque tights.

Princess Diana Orange Versace Skirt Suit
Princess Diana wore an orange wool Versace skirt suit on an engagement to Liverpool, November 7, 1995.TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY VIA GETTY IMAGES

Princess Diana: Savoy Hotel, March 19, 1997

This delicate pink suit with mother of pearl buttons was designed by one of Princess Diana’s favorite couturiers, Catherine Walker.

The skirt and jacket combination was worn with neutral toned leather accessories to the Daily Star Gold Awards at London’s Savoy Hotel.

Princess Diana Catherine Walker Pink Skirt Suit
Princess Diana wore a pale pink skirt suit with mother of pearl buttons to an awards event at London’s Savoy Hotel, March 19, 1997.TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY VIA GETTY IMAGES

Princess Diana: British Lung Foundation, April 21, 1997

After the princess’ 1996 divorce from Prince Charles, she moved away from her established trend of buying the majority of her clothing from British designers. One of the fashion houses she began to patronize regularly at this time was Chanel.

One of the princess’ favorite Chanel pieces was bought in the last year of her life and worn on a number of occasions including a British Lung Foundation event and Prince William’s confirmation at Windsor Castle.

The blue boucle tweed suit from the house’s Spring/Summer 1997 collection follows the famous line of suits which were introduced by Coco Chanel in the 1950s when she re-opened her fashion house after World War II.

Princess Diana Blue Chanel Skirt Suit
Princess Diana wore a blue boucle tweed skirt suit from the fashion house of Chanel to the British Lung Foundation headquarters, April 21, 1997.TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY VIA GETTY IMAGES/ANWAR HUSSEIN/WIREIMAGE

Princess Diana: Washington, June 17, 1997

During one of the last overseas working visits of her life, Diana wore a number of Versace outfits, including this flatteringly simple suit made of purple crepe.

The princess wore this suit to make an anti-landmine speech on behalf of the American Red Cross in Washington.

Princess Diana Purple Versace Skirt Suit
Princess Diana wore an elegant purple Versace skirt suit on a visit to Washington, June 17, 1997.TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY VIA GETTY IMAGES

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