Princess Diana's infamous black sheep sweater has finally been sold for eye-watering price

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The historic knit, which represented the Princess’ relationship with the royal family, recently became the most valuable sweater ever sold at auction.

Princess Diana, the beloved and enduring fashion icon, is widely regarded as one of the most famous and influential fashion icons of the 20th century. Her fashion statements, from the iconic wedding dress to the legendary 'Black Sheep' sweater, have cemented her status as a fashion trailblazer. Recently, this iconic sweater made history at auction, selling for a staggering prize never seen in history.

A symbol of individuality

In June 1981, Lady Diana Spencer, just 19 years old and newly engaged to then-Prince Charles, wore a bright red sweater adorned with rows of white sheep. As per InStyle, the sweater was worn by Diana at a polo match shortly after her engagement to the now King in June 1981.

What made this sweater stand out was the presence of a single black sheep among the white ones. Little did she know that this whimsical piece of clothing would come to symbolize her journey within the British royal family.

Princess Diana's infamous black sheep sweater has finally been sold for eye-watering price Tim Graham

The Guardian notes that Black Sheep sweater, featuring a single black sheep amidst a sea of white ones, beautifully encapsulates Diana's distinctive position within the royal family. She was adored by the public, known as 'the people's princess,' and often defied convention. However, the royal family never fully embraced her, and Diana herself once likened her early days in the monarchy to 'a lamb to the slaughter.'

Record-breaking moment

Years after her death, the iconic garment has set a new record, selling at auction for an astonishing $1.1 million. The winning bidder's identity remains undisclosed, however.

The auction, conducted by Sotheby's during New York Fashion Week, witnessed intense online bidding, ultimately fetching a staggering $1.1 million, surpassing the initial estimate of $50,000 to $80,000. The bidding frenzy prompted an extension of the auction, with the price skyrocketing in the final 15 minutes. Online bidding for the sweater commenced on August 31, marking the 26th anniversary of Diana's tragic death, notes Metro.

Princess Diana's 'Black Sheep' sweater not only outperformed the previous record for clothing items from her wardrobe but also established a new benchmark. It became the highest-priced garment ever sold at auction, surpassing her Victor Edelstein ball gown, which fetched $604,800 earlier in the year.

The sweater also holds the distinction of being the most valuable sweater ever sold at auction. It was designed by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, who were relatively unknown at the time. Their knitting company, Warm and Wonderful, gained fame when Diana wore their creation.

The auction lot included letters from Buckingham Palace requesting repair and a thank-you note from Diana's private secretary, Oliver Everett. Sotheby's authenticated the sweater through photo matching.

Princess Diana's infamous black sheep sweater has finally been sold for eye-watering price Tim Graham

Adding to the allure of the 'Black Sheep' sweater is its remarkable journey back into the limelight. After Diana reported a minor snag in one of the cuffs, the sweater was sent back to the designers for repair.

Unbeknownst to them, the original sweater found its way into an attic, where it lay nestled in a small box. This hidden treasure, along with a letter requesting repair and a thank-you note from Diana's private secretary, Oliver Everett, enhances the sweater's mystique. Joanna Osborne opened up about discovering the garment:

'I was in the attic in February searching for a pattern, and I just happened to notice this old wine box in a corner — and there was a red sheep jumper wrapped in a cotton bedspread. It was well preserved, and I had a kind of Groundhog Day moment and thought, 'Could this be the one?' I looked at the cuff, which had obviously been sewn back on, and I called Sal and said, 'I think I’ve found the actual real Diana jumper!’'

Read more:

Princess Diana's former butler issues warning to Royal Family

Charles Spencer has shared sad news about Princess Diana's childhood home

Princess Diana: A tribute by her close friend Sir Elton John

What to expect from the new Princess Diana documentary

© David Levenson