The world is still fascinated with the late Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, 20 years after the deadly Paris car crash on August 31, 1997 that took her life at just 36 years old.
A dizzying array of television specials and magazine covers are memorializing “The People’s Princess” on the anniversary of her death, and those who knew her best are reminiscing.
On Princess Diana’s wedding day, July 29, 1981, India Hicks was just 13 years old and one of five of Diana’s bridesmaids.
A former fashion model and owner of her eponymous lifestyle brand, Hicks is no stranger to royalty. She is the goddaughter of Prince Charles, the granddaughter of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and daughter of David and Lady Pamela Hicks.
Hicks recalls that on the big day, Diana wore jeans and watched TV in Clarence House, when attendants placed the bejeweled tiara on her head. The tiara still belongs to the Spencer family and has not been worn in public since her death.
For Hicks, it’s a distinct “scent” that takes her right back to what was dubbed “The Wedding of the Century.”
Ever the devoted perfume aficionado, Princess Diana chose to wear Quelques Fleurs for her wedding day. It is described as a floral creation of tuberose, jasmine and rose from the classic Parisian perfume house Houbigant. Rumor has it that Diana spilled some of the perfume on her wedding dress as she put some on her wrists just before stepping out of her horse-drawn carriage at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
“[Diana] gave each of us bridesmaids a little vile of the perfume,” Hicks tells me in the video above. She still has that vile and says the color of the perfume has darkened over the years. “It hasn’t enjoyed the journey,” Hicks jokes.
She was so taken with the fragrance, that Hicks used it as inspiration for her own perfume, English Rose, which is part of the India Hicks Collection.
“She was an extraordinary woman who possessed a “star quality,” Hicks says of the Princess of Wales.
“When she walked into a room, you noticed her. When she reached out to touch people with indescribable difficulties or diseases, the world was enthralled and engaged.”
Hicks believes it was Princess Diana’s relatability, despite her royal status, that still captivates people two decades after her death. “I think we’re fascinated with the Royal Family because they’re untouchable and there’s nothing that compares to them. But they work bloody hard,” Hicks says. “It’s a very magical life on some terms, but imagine being born into that and not having a choice.”