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Princess Diana's dresses go on display in London, 20 years after her death

Gowns worn by Princess Diana for everything from meeting diplomats to dancing with movie stars feature in an exhibition celebrating the fashion of one of Britain's favourite royals, which opens in London this week.

Diana: Her Fashion Story opens Friday at Kensington Palace

An exhibition of gowns, elegant suits and other garments worn by Princess Diana, shown holding Prince Harry in 1988, opens at Kensington Palace in London Friday. (Hugh Peralta/Reuters)
Gowns worn by Princess Diana for everything from meeting diplomats to dancing with movie stars feature in an exhibition celebrating the fashion of one of Britain's favourite royals, which opens in London this week.
Diana wore this pink Catherine Walker gown for an official portrait with Prince Charles in 1987. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

The collection of 25 dresses will be displayed from Friday for the rest of the year in Kensington Palace, where she lived for over 15 years. The exhibition coincides with the 20th anniversary of her death.

The new exhibition includes the midnight blue velvet Victor Edelstein gown worn by Diana for a 1985 State Dinner at the White House, at which she danced with actor John Travolta. (Getty Images/Reuters)

It features an ink-blue velvet gown worn by Diana when she danced with actor John Travolta at the White House in 1985, as well as her "Elvis" dress - high-collared and encrusted with pearls.

Catherine Walker's so-called 'Elvis Dress' was worn by Diana in Hong Kong in 1989 (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

The collection also shows Diana's "understanding of how to deploy fashion as a diplomatic tool," organizers said, including one dress that incorporates the national bird of Saudia Arabia, the falcon.

"Our exhibition explores the story of a young woman who had to quickly learn the rules of royal and diplomatic dressing, who in the process put the spotlight on the British fashion industry and designers," said Eleri Lynn, curator of Diana: Her Fashion Story.

The exhibit features more than two dozen garments, which trace her evolution from demure English rose to sleek, glamorous icon. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

Diana, mother to Princes William and Harry, was married to heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles between 1981 and 1996, when the couple divorced. She died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

A staffer adjusts a 1981 Emanuel pale pink chiffon blouse with a satin neck-ribbon worn during Diana's first official portrait in 1981. The exhibit Diana: Her Fashion Story opens to the public at Kensington Palace on Friday. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

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