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Princess Diana’s Iconic Black Sheep Sweater: A Record-Breaking Auction

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Princess Diana, known for her timeless style and fashion choices, continues to captivate the world even after her passing. Recently, one of her most iconic garments, the black sheep sweater, was sold at auction for a staggering $1.1 million. This record-breaking sale has reignited interest in Diana’s fashion legacy and the significance of this particular sweater. In this article, we will delve into the story behind this beloved piece of clothing, its symbolism, and the extraordinary journey it has taken over the years.

The Black Sheep Sweater’s Origin and Design

The black sheep sweater, lovingly referred to as the “Black Sheep” by fans, was created by the relatively unknown designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. They were the founders of Warm and Wonderful, a knitting company that would later skyrocket to fame thanks to this very sweater. Diana first wore the garment in June 1981, shortly before her wedding to Prince Charles, at a polo match. The sweater, featuring rows of fluffy white sheep with one black sheep standing out, instantly caught the public’s attention and became an instant sensation.

The Symbolism of the Black Sheep Sweater

The playful design of the black sheep sweater holds a deeper meaning that resonates with Diana’s own journey as a member of the British royal family. Many believe that the black sheep represents Diana herself, who often felt like an outsider within the royal family. The sweater’s pattern, with one black sheep among many white ones, symbolizes her unique position and the challenges she faced as she navigated her royal role. In hindsight, this sweater seems to have foreshadowed the struggles she would endure throughout her life.

The Auction: A Record-Breaking Sale

The recent auction of Princess Diana’s black sheep sweater was a historic event that attracted worldwide attention. Sotheby’s, the renowned auction house, hosted the sale as part of their Fashion Icons collection. The bidding frenzy lasted for two weeks and culminated in a dramatic 15-minute battle among online bidders. The final price reached an astonishing $1.1 million, surpassing Sotheby’s initial estimate by over tenfold. This remarkable sum not only set a new record for the highest price ever paid for a garment belonging to Princess Diana but also made it the most valuable sweater ever sold at auction.

The Legacy Lives On: From Fashion to Pop Culture

The black sheep sweater’s significance extends beyond its auction price. Its impact on fashion and pop culture is undeniable. Even after Warm and Wonderful halted production of the black sheep style in 1994, the garment remained highly sought after. In 2020, the New York-based brand Rowing Blazers collaborated with Muir and Osborne to reissue the sweater, introducing it to a new generation of fashion enthusiasts. The sweater’s popularity reached new heights when it made an appearance in the fourth season of the hit Netflix series “The Crown,” worn by actress Emma Corrin in her portrayal of Princess Diana.

The Discovery and Authentication of Diana’s Original Sweater

The story of how the original black sheep sweater resurfaced is as fascinating as the sweater itself. For years, Muir and Osborne believed they had repaired and sent the original sweater to a customer. However, in March 2023, Osborne stumbled upon a small box in her attic while searching for an old pattern. To her surprise, she found a vintage-looking model of the sweater, carefully folded inside. With the help of Sotheby’s, the sweater was eventually authenticated as Diana’s original, leading to its inclusion in the auction.

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The Emotional Connection: Warm & Wonderful’s Gratitude

As the black sheep sweater found its new home, Muir and Osborne, the founders of Warm and Wonderful, expressed their deep appreciation for its enduring legacy. They shared their fond memories of Princess Diana wearing their sweater, acknowledging the impact it had on their business. They also emphasized the unique connection Diana had to the black sheep design, which made the sweater even more cherished. The founders expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to be part of Princess Diana’s fashion story and the lasting impact it has had on their lives.

The Cultural Significance and Continued Fascination

The enduring fascination with Princess Diana and her fashion choices speaks volumes about her cultural significance. The black sheep sweater, in particular, continues to captivate people’s imaginations and serves as a symbol of Diana’s individuality and resilience. Its journey from a simple polo match to a record-breaking auction exemplifies the timeless appeal of Diana’s style and her enduring legacy. As we continue to admire and celebrate her life, the black sheep sweater will forever remain an iconic piece of fashion history.


Princess Diana’s black sheep sweater, with its playful design and powerful symbolism, has captured the hearts of people worldwide. The recent auction, where the sweater fetched an astonishing $1.1 million, solidified its status as a fashion icon. Its journey from obscurity to the limelight and its appearances in popular culture highlight the enduring fascination with Princess Diana and her unique place in history. The black sheep sweater stands as a testament to her individuality, resilience, and lasting impact on the world of fashion.


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