Princess Diana dresses sell for $276,000 at auction

LOS ANGELES Mon May 9, 2011 1:10pm BST

A dress worn by Princess Diana is seen in this undated handout picture. REUTERS/Courtesy of Juliens Auctions/Handout

A dress worn by Princess Diana is seen in this undated handout picture.

Credit: Reuters/Courtesy of Juliens Auctions/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A pair of dresses worn by Princess Diana sold at a pop culture auction in Beverly Hills for a total of $276,000 (168,500 pounds), a spokesman for the auction house said on Sunday.

The two dresses, which have been held in climate-controlled storage since her death in August 1997, were auctioned to a prominent museum for $144,000 and $132,000, respectively, said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions.

"We did have bidders from all over the world participating, and it's great to have them go to a museum where they are going to be on display and appreciated by the public," Julien said.

Julien said he could not name the museum without permission from officials there.

The dress that sold for $144,000 was described by the auction house as a black crepe evening gown that Diana wore during a state visit in 1992.

The princess wore the second dress, which is silk chiffon and strapless, to the Cannes Film Festival in 1987 as well as in a portrait sitting that year and to a 1989 performance of "Miss Saigon" at Theatre Royal in London.

The two dresses had been auctioned by Diana for charity three months before her death, Julien said.

The owners, WeTV and Wedding Central, decided the time was right to auction them again to coincide with the April 29 wedding of Britain's Prince William to Kate Middleton.

He said a portion of the proceeds would be donated to one of Diana's charities.

Diana, who married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, died after a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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