The appearances of Britain’s Princess Diana and Princess Beatrice at the prestigious Met Gala in New York have been widely shared online as preparations for this year’s star-studded event are set in motion.

The gala is well-known for it’s exclusive guest list, overseen by Vogue‘s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, with the event being held each May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to raise funds for the Costume Institute.

Though there have been many notable guests in the eight decades that the gala has been held, including Bianca Jagger, Cher, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Dua Lipa, some of the most elusive and exclusive guests have been members of the world’s royal families—in particular the British royal family.

Princess Diana And Princess Beatrice Met Gala
Main image, Princess Diana is photographed at the Met Gala in New York 1996. Inset, Princess Beatrice is pictured at the gala in 2018. A video of the royals at the society event has gone viral on TikTok.
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images/Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

In its whole history, only two British princesses have attended the Met Gala, Princess Diana in 1996 and then her niece, Princess Beatrice (daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson) in 2018.

A video showing clips and images of the royals at the event—which also serves as the opening of the Met’s annual fashion exhibition—has gone viral on the social media platform TikTok, racking up nearly half a million views in just 12 hours.

The video has had royal fans swooning, receiving in excess of 39,000 likes.

Princess Diana’s 1996 attendance at the event came just eight months before her untimely death at the age of 36 in a 1997 Paris car crash that also killed her then-boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.

The event came at a time where the princess was in a period of enormous change when it came to her personal and public life. Her divorce from Prince Charles had been finalized just six months earlier and the royal was on a mission aesthetically and professionally to re-brand herself from the public figure she was while inside the institution of the monarchy.

For the gala, Diana was dressed by the young designer John Galliano, who had recently taken over as creative director of the house of Christian Dior in Paris. The dress chosen was a daring silk negligee-inspired garment with delicate lace trim and straps. It was reported that the princess almost considered wearing a different dress for fear the midnight blue slip would embarrass the teenage Prince William.

Princess Diana 1996 Met Gala
Princess Diana is photographed wearing Christian Dior to the 1996 Met Gala in New York.
Stephane Cardinale/Sygma via Getty Images/Steve Eichner/WireImage

With her Dior ensemble the princess carried a Lady Dior handbag, one which became synonymous with the royal and was named in her honor (her maiden name being Lady Diana Spencer). She also accessorized with the large sapphire and diamond, pearl choker necklace nicknamed the “revenge necklace” after she wore it with her 1994 “revenge dress.

The princess attended the event with her friend, the then-editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Liz Tilberis. Diana and Tilberis formed a close connection during the 1980s when the editor was heading British Vogue, helping the fledgling royal with style advice for her public engagements.

A British royal wouldn’t attend the Met Gala again after Diana for over 20 years. The next, Princess Beatrice, attended the event in 2018 when the theme for the evening was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”

The granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II was working in New York at the time and wore a Grecian inspired royal purple gown with braided headdress by Alberta Ferretti.

Also included in the viral video is a non-British royal, Charlotte Casiraghi, who is the granddaughter of Princess Grace of Monaco aka Grace Kelly.

Casiraghi is no stranger to the world of high fashion, being a brand ambassador for the house of Chanel, as well as being close to it’s previous creative director, Karl Lagerfeld.

The model has attended the gala on three separate occasions, in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Princess Beatrice and Charlotte Casiraghi Met Gala
In this combined image Princess Beatrice, left, is pictured wearing Alberta Ferretti at the Met Gala in New York in 2018. Charlotte Casiraghi, right, is photographed wearing Saint Laurent at the Met Gala in 2019.
Karwai Tang/Karwai Tang/Getty Images/Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

This year the Costume Institute’s exhibition and the theme of the gala is paying tribute to the work of Lagerfeld during his lifetime, the fashion heavyweight having died in 2019.

Whether members of the world’s royal families who he was close friends with will attend remains to be seen. As for Anna Wintour, in 2019 she revealed that two guests she’d love to add to her exclusive invitation list would be Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.

“I would love to have the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge together,” she told Today show host Jenna Bush Hager. “That would be my dream couple. They could leave their husbands at home. It’s the two of them I want.”

The likelihood of the royal sisters-in-law making the trip to New York for the 2023 event is slim, not only because of their reportedly strained relationship, but also because the the gala is to be held in the same week as King Charles’ coronation, planned for May 6.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.

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