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Princess' Gown Sale Off to $1-Million Start

June 26, 1997|Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — A charity auction of 79 of Princess Diana's ballroom gowns and dresses got off to a brisk start Wednesday, with more than $1 million spent for the first 20 dresses.

The first gown, a wrap-around white silk chiffon evening dress by Gina Fratini, sold for $75,000.

Lot No. 2, known in Britain as the "Up Yours" dress, sold for $65,000 to an unidentified man in the audience. Diana wore the short, form-fitting dress to a 1994 British Red Cross reception, her first high-profile appearance after Prince Charles acknowledged in a televised interview that he had been unfaithful. The black silk crepe was designed by Christina Stambolian.

The auction is the first such sale of royal discards. Used dresses usually are passed on quietly to discreet upper-crust friends. The princess, divorced from Prince Charles, reportedly decided to auction the gowns for charity at the suggestion of her 14-year-old son, Prince William.

Proceeds from sale of the dresses, including some Diana wore on state visits to the United States, Thailand and Australia, will benefit English and American AIDS and cancer research charities.

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