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  • Princess Diana wearing one of the dresses up for auction in March.

    Princess Diana wearing one of the dresses up for auction in March.

    Ten of Princess Diana’s most iconic dresses, once owned by Florida socialite Maureen Dunkel, are up for auction to satisfy creditors in her bankruptcy case, creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of fashion history.

    Prince Diana was known for her style and was a fashion icon during her lifetime.

    She died in a tragic car crash in August 1997, the same year she put the dresses up for auction the first time to raise money for charity. “The inspiration for this wonderful sale comes from just one person; our son William,” who suggested selling the dresses in his mother’s crowded closets for charity, Diana noted in the sale catalog.

    The dresses have since become shrouded in controversy. This is Dunkel’s second attempt to auction them.

    Princess Diana’s Haute Couture Gowns

    She put up for sale all 14 dresses in her possession in Toronto, Canada in 2011, but only four sold. The rest failed to reach their reserve price, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    A Victor Edelstein velvet blue gown the princess wore in 1985 to a White House dinner where she danced with John Travolta, was considered the most valuable. It will be in the latest auction and has been valued at more than $350,000.

    Travolta said at the time that the dance was like a “fairytale.”

    Diana wore gown on severa major occasions, including state visits to Vienna and Bonn; to the Royal Opera House in 1991 when she met Vivienne Westwood and for an official portrait by artist Israel Zohar in 1990, according to London’s Daily Mail.

    Prices at the Canadian auction ranged from $110,000 to $800,000 for the “Travolta” gown, according to the Toronto Star newspaper. Dunkel was hoping to raise $4 million from the sale.

    Dunkel, 50, bought the Diana dresses as an investment when they were auctioned in New York. She reportedly paid $670,000 for the lot and tried to recoup some of the money by exhibiting them around the country. In all, Diana auctioned 79 dresses, raising $3.25 million.

    The Florida socialite got into financial trouble when she used the dresses as collateral to borrow more than $1.5 million for a real estate deal just as the Florida market collapsed, forcing her into bankruptcy in 2010.

    Diana’s Catherine Walker pink silk evening gown made for her state visit to India in 1992 has been reported to be in the auction by various publications, but the dress is not among them, according to auctioneer Kerry Taylor.

    A Bruce Oldfield black velvet gown and a Zandra Rhodes white chiffon cocktail dress are on the block.

    The Catherine Walker black velvet and beaded evening gown was featured in an iconic Vanity Fair photoshoot by renown fashion photographer Mario Testino at Kensington Palace the year she died.

    The auction will be held at Kerry Taylor auction in London on March 19th. Check out its website for more details, and follow TheImproper on Twitter for all the latest updates.