The fifth season of the popular Netflix drama focuses attention on the tumultuous marriage – and eventual divorce – of the Princess of Wales and now-King Charles III. One of the real-life moments depicted in the series shows Princess Diana stepping out in what was later dubbed her “revenge dress.”
The off-the-shoulder black gown, designed by Christina Stambolia, was made famous by the princess when she wore the number to a Vanity Fair party at the Serpentine Gallery in 1994 – the same night her ex-husband publicly confessed to having an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles in a TV interview.
Perhaps equally iconic as Diana’s “revenge dress” was the diamond and sapphire pearl choker necklace she wore to the event. However, the replica of the necklace worn by Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown has failed to impress viewers, as many fans have called the necklace copy “cheap”.
It all began when Rebecca Kilbey, jewellery expert and founder of Paris-based Jewellery Box d’un Petit Cœur, posted a close-up of the recreated necklace’s clasp on TikTok. “When The Crown wants you to believe that Princess Diana’s clasp for her ‘revenge necklace’ would ever be like this,” she wrote in the video posted earlier this week.
In the scene, the choker necklace replica featured a long chain with a lobster clasp at the back of the neck. “As a jewellery specialist, I’m not sure if it was the lobster clasp or the multiple option chain that did it for me,” Kilbey said.
She pointed out how the actual necklace worn by Princess Diana “went seamlessly around her neck” and her assumption that the clasp would have been at the front of the necklace, behind the oval-cut sapphire.
“When I saw this I think I actually made a noise,” Kelby captioned the TikTok. “I’m not usually one to poke holes in TV costumes. I think overall The Crown does a great job, but it was just the fact that they featured it in such depth that made me chuckle. I couldn’t help myself but to share!”
The TikTok received 2.3m views on the app, where many viewers seemingly agreed that the iconic necklace looked more like a piece of inexpensive costume jewellery.
“I thought the same thing!” one TikToker commented. “I was like, did they buy this at Claire’s? Party City?!”
“Thank you! That was driving me crazy!” said someone else. “Really? A lobster clasp on Diana’s iconic family necklace?”
One user agreed: “Looks cheap. Lady D was class,” while another person said: “Thank god I wasn’t crazy for thinking that it made the necklace look cheap.”
The true story behind Princess Diana’s “revenge necklace” reveals that the choker wasn’t initially a necklace at all. The sapphire stone originally came from a brooch given to Diana as a wedding gift from the Queen Mother. The brooch previously belonged to Queen Mary and had been passed down through generations.
Princess Diana went on to redesign the sapphire and diamond brooch into a seven-strand pearl necklace. In addition to the Serpentine Gallery dinner in 1994, the royal wore the iconic choker on many occasions, including when she danced with John Travolta at the White House in 1985. The last time the choker was publicly seen was when Diana attended the Met Gala in December 1996.