The Princess in her Dior ball gown at the Hertford Hospital Charity Ball in Paris, 22 November 1951.
Cover of Vivre et S’habiller, 5 December 1951
On 21 November 1951, at a quarter to eleven in the evening, Princess Margaret ascended the grand staircase of the Hôtel Perrinet de Jars, an 18th century townhouse in the centre of Paris, accompanied by an orchestral rendering of God Save the King. The daughter of King George VI, and sister of the future Queen Elizabeth II, was just 21 years old.
The Princess was the guest of honour at a charity ball organised by the Cercle de L’Union Interallié, the club owning the magnificent premises, in aid of the Paris-based Hertford British Hospital. According to André Lacaze’s article in Paris Match, published on 2 December 1951, the 1,500 invited guests included ‘tous les Anglais de Paris’ and the grandest names of the French aristocracy.
The Princess would have been aware that she was going to be the centre of attention and that her appearance would come under scrutiny. Luckily, she already owned the perfect dress for the occasion. The ‘little white Princess with her diadem and doe-eyes’, as Paris Match described Her Royal Highness, wore a beautiful ball gown made by Dior. Its sweeping lines recall the dress worn by the hero of Disney's Cinderella, released in 1950.