A piece of royal history broke records at auction last week when the late Princess Diana’s beloved sheep sweater sold for over $1 million.
The Warm & Wonderful brand sweater that the then-19-year-old infamously wore to see her soon-to-be husband (now King Charles III) play polo in 1981 fetched $1.1 million when bidding closed on September 14.
The pullover red “black sheep” sweater is adorned with little white sheep silhouettes all over it except for one very bold black sheep hidden in the rows of white sheep.
Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing ‘Black sheep’ wool jumper by Warm and Wonderful to Windsor Polo, June 1981 (Getty Images)
The symbolism was thought to be purposeful, as Diana was often seen as the “black sheep” with her outspoken candor and rebellious fashion choices.
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Diana wore the sweater for a second time two years later once she was married to Charles, this time with a long black bow near the collar of a white shirt she wore underneath.
The sweater was sent back to Warm & Wonder designers Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir for repair but the two decided to just knit Diana a new one altogether. The original was simply forgotten about and left in Osborne’s attic, where it was found 40 years later.
Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Charles and Sarah Ferguson attend a polo match at Smith’s Lawn, Guards Polo Club, in Windsor, June 1983 (Getty Images)
“When you’re a royal, you have access to any fashion you possibly want,” Cynthia Houlton, SVP and global head of fashion and accessories at Sotheby’s said in a release. “She didn’t need that sweater; she didn’t need to replace it. It’s not Chanel; it’s not custom. Not only did she want it replaced, but two years later she actually wore it.”
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According to ArtNews, the sweater was expected to sell for roughly $80,000.
The sheep sweater beat out Kurt Cobain’s green cardigan for the most expensive sweater sold via auction. Cobain’s cardigan fetched an estimated $334,000 in 2019.