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100 YEARS OF ICONIC ROYAL WEDDING DRESSES

ELIZABETH

26.04.1923 | UNITED KINGDOM

  • Designer: Madame Handley Seymour
  • Fabric: Silk crepe moire
  • Embellishments: Pearls and silver embroidery
  • Finishing touches: Veil anchored with myrtle and york roses - flowers symbolising love and her new role as Duchess of York.
Did you know? Choosing her dress only a month before her wedding, this beautiful 1920s design followed classic trends of the era, including a dropped waist and straight silhouette. One trend Elizabeth didn't follow was the superstition that wearing green to a wedding brings bad luck - she chose to adorn her dress with beautiful green tulle.

INGRID

24.05.1935 | DENMARK

  • Designer: Fr. V. Tunborg & Co.
  • Fabric: Silk and crepe satin
  • Embellishments: Lace trimmed train
  • Finishing touches: Crown of myrtle (common tradition for Swedish brides)
  • The train: 6.09m
Did you know? Her daisy diamond brooch was specially commissioned by her father in honour of her mother, Margaretha, whose nickname was Daisy. This and her point de venise veil are now much-loved heirlooms of the Danish royal family, adding a sentimental touch to future royal bridal outfits.

JULIANA

07.01.1937 | THE NETHERLANDS

  • Designer: Maison Kühne of The Hague
  • Fabric: Ivory satin
  • Embellishments: Five diamond rose brooches connected with small pearls
  • Finishing touches: Veil made of white tulle with silver embroidery, adorned with roses and orange blossoms, finished with a diamond diadem
Did you know? Inspiration for Juliana's dress came from the simple draped robe designs from Ancient Greece.

ELIZABETH

20.11.1947 | UNITED KINGDOM

  • Designer: Norman Hartnell
  • Fabric: Ivory silk bodice and rich duchess satin train
  • Embellishments: 10,000 seed pearls and crystals formed a beautiful, patterned train
  • Finishing touches: Tulle veil and a diamond fringe tiara
  • The train: 3.9 m
Did you know? Just like every other post-war bride in Britain, Elizabeth had to use clothing ration coupons to pay for her dress. Hundreds of brides-to-be up and down the country donated their ration tokens to her but it was illegal for her to accept them. Unlike every other 1947 bride, however, she was permitted 200 additional coupons from the government.

GRACE

19.04.1956 | MONACO

  • Designer: Helen Rose for MGM Studios
  • Fabric: Antique pearl-encrusted rose point & valenciennes lace, silk peau de soie, silk taffeta and tulle
  • Embellishments: Seed pearls & tiny 'something blue' bows hidden on each petticoat layer
  • Finishing touches: Bows of taffeta and lace
Did you know? Often cited as the most iconic wedding dress of all time, Grace Kelly's stunning creation was designed by MGM studio's costume designer, Helen Rose, as was customary for leading ladies at the time. More than half a century later, her dress still inspires royal and non-royal brides alike.

PAOLA

02.07.1959 | BELGIUM

  • Designer: Unknown
  • Fabric: Woven satin
  • Embellishments: Bow at the waist, accented with a small brooch
  • Finishing touches: Brussels lace family heirloom veil adorned with a cluster of orange blossoms instead of a tiara
  • The train: 5 m
Did you know? Her Brussels lace veil is a family heirloom that has since been passed down to other royal brides.

FABIOLA

15.12.1960 | BELGIUM

  • Designer: Cristóbal Balenciaga
  • Fabric: White silk and tulle
  • Embellishments: Fur trim
  • Finishing touches: White silk gloves, drop pearl earrings and the Nine Provinces Tiara, which was a gift from the Belgian people.
  • The train: 7 m.
Did you know? The designer, Balenciaga, created the dress by hand in utmost secrecy at his own apartment so as to avoid details of the dress being leaked before the big day.

SOFÍA

14.05.1962 | SPAIN

  • Designer: Jean Dessés
  • Fabric: Silver white lamé, tulle and Bruges lace
  • Embellishments: Jewelled neckline
  • Finishing touches: 4.5m lace heirloom veil
  • The train: 6 m
Did you know? Proudly worn by many generations of Greek & Spanish royal brides, the Prussian Diamond Tiara worn by Sofía was handed down to her by her grandmother

BEATRIX

10.03.1966 | THE NETHERLANDS

  • Designer: Caroline Bergé-Farwick for Maison Linette
  • Embellishments: Heirloom pearl and diamond leaf brooch
  • Finishing touches: Long gloves, a waist-length tulle veil and the impressive diamond and pearl Württemberg Tiara
  • The train: 4.8 m
Did you know? Unusual for royal brides of the time, many of the design ideas for the dress came from the bride herself. Made to meet her wishes, Beatrix's dress was made from specially comissioned fabrics that were imported from France.

MARGRETHE

10.06.1967 | DENMARK

  • Designer: Jørgen Bender
  • Fabric: Silk and lace
  • Embellishments: Daisy brooch
  • Finishing touches: Inherited veil made of Irish lace and the inherited Khedive of Egypt Tiara
  • The train: 6 m
Did you know? The focal point of her outfit, a daisy brooch, was passed on from her mother Queen Ingrid, in honour of Margrethe's grandmother, Margareta. Margrethe and Margareta shared the affectionate nickname Daisy.

SONJA

29.08.1968 | NORWAY

  • Designer: Molstad
  • Fabric: Silk
  • Embellishments: Pearl embellishments on the cuffs and neckline
  • Finishing touches: Tulle veil and a white artificial floral ornament instead of a tiara
Did you know? Sonja's non-royal heritage caused some controversy within her future family but it was rumoured that her fiancé (and sole heir to the crown) Harald said that if he couldn't marry Sonja, he wouldn't marry at all.

ANNE

14.11.1973 | UNITED KINGDOM

  • Designer: Maureen Baker for Susan Small
  • Fabric: White silk with a pin tucked bodice and dramatic trumpet sleeves
  • Embellishments: Cuffs and collar edged in pearls, train and back embroidered with silver orange blossom patterns
  • Finishing touches: Tiara on loan from The Queen Mother
  • The train: 2.1 m
Did you know? Though the details of her wedding dress were kept top secret until the big day, Anne's love of designer Maureen Baker's designs was much less of a secret; she went on to design a further 250 outfits for Princess Anne over her career.

SILVIA

19.06.1976 | SWEDEN

  • Designer: Marc Bohan for Christian Dior
  • Fabric: Silk
  • Embellishments: Lace
  • Finishing touches: Family heirloom veil and the showpiece Cameo tiara
Did you know? Obviously anticipating an emotional day… Silvia accessorised her outfit with the more unusual addition of an emergency tissue - secured to her wrist with a rubber band!

NOOR

15.06.1978 | JORDAN

  • Designer: Christian Dior
  • Fabric: White silk crepe
  • Embellishments: Simple & delicate cut-outs on the bodice and sleeves
  • Finishing touches: A long veil made of tulle and held in place with a headdress of leaves and lilies, platinum and diamond bracelet and diamond earrings
Did you know? Born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in Washington, D.C, Lisa converted to Islam on the morning of her wedding and adopted the name that King Hussein had chosen for her: Noor Al Hussein meaning 'Light of Hussein'

CAROLINE

29.06.1978 | MONACO

  • Designer: Marc Bohan for Christian Dior
  • Fabric: Sheer bodice and lacework
  • Embellishments: Floral and lace embellishments on the cuffs and skirt
  • Finishing touches: No tiara but ringlets of flowers in her hair
Did you know? Dior designer, Bohan, had to make last minute changes to the dress after details of its design were leaked. Thankfully, he managed it just in time for Caroline's star-studded wedding, which was attended by several Hollywood legends, including Ava Gardner, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra.

MARÍA TERESA

14.02.1981 | LUXEMBOURG

  • Designer: Balmain
  • Fabric: White embossed silk
  • Embellishments: Intricately embossed patterns, a jewelled neckline and fur trim
  • Finishing touches: Lace-trimmed veil and the beautiful Congo Diamond Tiara, gifted to her mother-in-law by the people of Congo.
  • The train: 2m
Did you know? After meeting at the University of Geneva, María Teresa and Henri, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, announced their surprise engagement (the public knew nothing of their relationship) three weeks after finishing university. They married just three months later in a romantic ceremony on Valentine's Day 1981.

DIANA

29.07.1981 | UNITED KINGDOM

  • Designer: David & Elizabeth Emanuel
  • Fabric: Ivory silk taffeta and antique lace - over 40 meters were used in total!
  • Embellishments: Hand embroidery, lace, bows, sequins, and 10,000 tiny pearls
  • Finishing touches: A family heirloom diamond tiara and lace trimmed train
  • The train: 7.62 m - the longest in royal history
Did you know? Diana's record-breakingly long train was a tight fit inside the glass coach which transported her to her wedding - even her father had difficulty squeezing in alongside all 7.62 m of it. It could have been a very different picture, though, if details of the dress had leaked - a back-up dress was made just in case!

SARAH "FERGIE"

23.07.1986 | UNITED KINGDOM

  • Designer: Lindka Cierach
  • Fabric: Ivory duchesse satin
  • Embellishments: Bows, silk flowers, padded shoulders, silver beads and embroidery
  • Finishing touches: A crown of flowers kept a diamond diadem hidden until the end of the ceremony
  • The train: 5.18 m
Did you know? Sarah's dress was designed as the ultimate piece to showcase her love for husband, Prince Andrew: the beadwork and embroidery encorporated hearts, anchors (representing his love of sailing), bumblebees and thistles (taken from her own family crest) and a huge intertwined A and S motif (for Andrew and Sarah).

RANIA

10.06.1993 | JORDAN

  • Designer: Bruce Oldfield
  • Embellishments: Lavish gold embroidery
  • Finishing touches: A towering headband instead of a tiara, gloves and an ornate belt
Did you know? The designer drew inspiration from the beautifully lavish historic formal dresses of Syria, adding distinctive gold detailing to the gown, matching gloves and towering hair band - which was so high, she had trouble getting in and out of cars!

STÉPHANIE

01.07.1995 | MONACO

  • Designer: Unknown
  • Fabric: White lace
  • Embellishments: Small layered bustle
  • Finishing touches: Pearl necklace
  • The train: Non-existent!
Did you know? One of the shortest dresses (and marriages!) in royal history - Stéphanie and husband, the former royal bodyguard, Daniel Ducruet's 1995 marriage lasted just over a year.

MATHILDE

04.12.1999 | BELGIUM

  • Designer: Édouard Vermeulen for Natan
  • Fabric: Silk crepe
  • Embellishments: Covered buttons and a statement collar
  • Finishing touches: Heirloom veil and tiara, also worn by Queen Paola
  • The train: 5 m
Did you know? The first ever Belgian-born Queen, Mathilde's dress was inspired by those of medieval princesses; it consisted of a simple sheath dress and a button-up coat with a statement collar.

METTE-MARIT

25.08.2001 | NORWAY

  • Designer: Ove Harder Finseth
  • Fabric: Silke tulle and silk crepe
  • Finishing touches: 6 m long veil & simple jewellery
  • The train: 2 m (but a 6m long veil!)
Did you know? Minimalist and classic, Mette-Marit accessorised her simple yet elegant gown with a 100-year-old heirloom tiara given to her by the King and Queen of Norway.

MÁXIMA

02.02.2002 | THE NETHERLANDS

  • Designer: Valentino
  • Fabric: Ivory Mikado silk and lace
  • Embellishments: Hand-embroidered floral lace panels inserted into the train
  • Finishing touches: Star-embellished tiara and a silk tulle veil, embroidered by hand with floral motifs
  • The train: 5 m
Did you know? Argentinian Maxima's unusual star-embellished tiara was made specially for the occasion and combined the base of the heirloom Dutch Pearl Button Tiara with beautiful, vintage-style stars encrusted with diamonds.The tiara was passed down through the family from Queen Emma, King Willem-Alexander's great-great-grandmother.

MÄRTHA LOUISE

24.05.2002 | NORWAY

  • Designer: Wenche Lyche
  • Fabric: Off-white duchesse satin
  • Embellishments: Swarovski crystal-embellished coat and a brooch made of cultured pearls, diamonds and gold
  • Finishing touches: Silk chiffon veil and her great-grandmother Queen Maud's pearl and diamond tiara
  • The train: 3 m
Did you know? Märtha Louise's dress was inspired by the lily flower and the gothic arches of the Nidaros Cathedral where her and Ari's ceremony took place. In honour of their love for one another, the letters A & M were woven into the design of the dress.

MABEL

24.04.2004 | THE NETHERLANDS

  • Designer: Viktor & Rolf
  • Fabric: Snow white double-faced duchesse satin and crepe georgette
  • Embellishments: 248 crepe georgette bows
  • Finishing touches: Short veil and diamond tiara
  • The train: 3.15m
Did you know? A team of four spent more than 600 hours creating this unique and unforgettable gown, including all of its 248 bows!

MARY

14.05.2004 | DENMARK

  • Designer: Uffe Frank
  • Fabric: Ivory duchess satin with a mother-of-pearl sheen, silk organza and tulle
  • Embellishments: Heirloom Irish & French Chantilly lace
  • Finishing touches: The famous heirloom lace veil, diamond tiara and earrings
  • The train: 6 m
Did you know? Australian-born Mary is the only non-royal to have been granted the honour of wearing Denmark's famous heirloom veil. Adding her own sentimental touch, she is also said to have had her late mother's wedding ring stitched into her dress so that it remained close to her heart throughout the ceremony.

LETIZIA

22.05.2004 | SPAIN

  • Designer: Manuel Pertegaz
  • Fabric: Silk
  • Embellishments: Intricate silver & gold embroidery in the shape of fleur-de-lis (a symbol of the Prince of Asturias, a title held at the time by her husband, Felipe), clovers, strawberry tree fruits and ears of wheat
  • Finishing touches: Prussian Diamond Tiara (the same that her Mother-in-law, Queen Sofia, wore at her wedding)
  • The train: 4.5 m
Did you know? Letizia chose 86 year old designer, Manuel Pertegaz, on the advice of her future mother-in-law, Queen Sofia of Spain.

MARIE

24.05.2008 | DENMARK

  • Designer: David Arasa and Claudio Morelli for Arasa Morelli Couture
  • Fabric: Lace, off-white ivory silk faille and tulle
  • Embellishments: Floral Calais lace
  • Finishing touches: Tulle and lace veil with a floral tiara
  • The train: 3 m
Did you know? Paris-born Marie encorprated her French heritage into the design of her dress, with beautiful Calais lace from French lacemaker Buche.

VICTORIA

19.06.2010 | SWEDEN

  • Designer: Pär Engsheden
  • Fabric: Cream duchess silk satin
  • Embellishments: Sash at the waist, rounded collar and embellishments on the train
  • Finishing touches: Family heirloom veil and the showpiece Cameo tiara
  • The train: 5 m
Did you know? The Bernadotte veil and Cameo tiara are treasured family heirlooms and regular features at Swedish royal weddings. The Cameo Tiara dates back over 200 years to Empress Joséphine, who most likely received it as a gift from her husband, Napoleon Bonaparte.

CATHERINE "KATE"

29.04.2011 | UNITED KINGDOM

  • Designer: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen
  • Fabric: Ivory satin gazar, organza & silk tulle
  • Embellishments: English and French Chantilly Lace appliqué
  • Finishing touches: Ivory silk tulle veil, hand-embroidered flowers and the Cartier 'halo' tiara, lent to Kate by Queen Elizabeth II
  • The train: 2.7 m
Did you know? After months of speculation, Kate's Alexander McQueen creation did not disappoint. A tribute to the UK, Kate's dress featured handmade lace & the UK's floral emblems: the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock. It's no wonder Prince William, told her "You look beautiful"!

CHARLENE

02.07.2011 | MONACO

  • Designer: Giorgio Armani
  • Fabric: White silk duchess & silk organza
  • Embellishments: 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother of pearl tear drops
  • Finishing touches: 20m long white silk tulle veil
  • The train: 5 m
Did you know? Charlene's stunning Armani creation encorporated 50m of silk and 80m of organza as well as 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother of pearl tear drops. It's no wonder that the dress took an amazing 2,500 hours to create!

STÉPHANIE

20.10.2012 | LUXEMBOURG

  • Designer: Elie Saab
  • Fabric: 70m silk crepe and tulle, 30m satin organza, 50m Chantilly lace and 40m Calais lace
  • Embellishments: 50,000 pearls, 80,000 crystals, 10,000 meters of silver embroidery thread
  • Finishing touches: Silk tulle veil & the Lannoy family platinum and diamond tiara
  • The train: 3.96 m
Did you know? One of the most expensive royal wedding dresses in history, Stéphanie's beautiful bespoke Elie Saab creation took a total of 3,900 hours to make - 3,200 hours of which were spent creating the exquisite embroidery design.

MADELEINE

08.06.2013 | SWEDEN

  • Designer: Valentino
  • Fabric: Silk organza and ivory Chantilly lace
  • Embellishments: Point d'esprit dots and small Chantilly lace orange blossom
  • Finishing touches: 5 m long silk organza veil and tiara decorated with orange blossoms
  • The train: 4 m
Did you know? Traditional wedding flower, myrtle, was a key piece in Madeleine's bouquet... and in every bridal bouquet of the Swedish and Danish royal family for the last 80 years. Since 1935, it's been tradition to include this flower, symbolising love and marriage, from the same plant Madeleine's great grandmother brought with her from Britain.

TATIANA

31.08.2013 | MONACO

  • Designer: Missoni
  • Fabric: Silk organza
  • Embellishments: Bodice embroidered with raffia and silk thread
  • Finishing touches: Boho-inspired floral headpiece
Did you know? Ever the modern bride, Tatiana ditched the heels in favour of flat silver sandals and posed for photos with new husband Andrea Casiraghi and their Boston terrier, Daphne. She opted for a Missoni gown in honour of her friend, Margherita Missoni, for the civil ceremony; the dress she wore to the religious ceremony is still a closely guarded secret to this day...

SOFIA

13.06.2015 | SWEDEN

  • Designer: Ida Sjöstedt
  • Fabric: Silk crepe, Italian silk organza & handmade couture lace by José María Ruiz
  • Embellishments: Couture lace
  • Finishing touches: Hand embroidered tulle veil, teardrop earrings, an emerald & diamond tiara
Did you know? Former reality TV star & bikini model Sofia met Prince Carl Philip of Sweden in a club back in 2009 but it was on 13th June 2015 that she also stole the nation's hearts in a beautiful lace creation by Swedish designer Ida Sjöstedt. Drawing obvious comparisons to Grace and Kate's iconic gowns, Sofia added her own twist with an emerald & diamond tiara, given to her by the King and Queen of Sweden.


A history of royal wedding dresses

Dresses are often the hot topic when it comes to weddings, especially when that wedding is a Royal affair. Royal wedding dresses certainly have the ability to capture a nation, inspiring style movements through designs that echo both the occasion and the era they were crafted in. From Grace Kelly to Kate Middleton, the last century has brought us some unforgettable regal brides, many of whom have become style icons. We take a look back at some of the most memorable royal wedding dresses of the last 100 years.


When the Duke of York announced his engagement to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in March 1923, the world was saying goodbye to the restraints of the corset and welcoming a relaxed silhouette with unstructured dresses and dropped waistlines inspired by the likes of Coco Chanel and Jeanne Lanvin. As predicted, The Queen Mother's wedding dress followed suit and married her groom in a straight-cut silk moiré gown designed by British couturier Madame Handley Seymour.


As Queen Elizabeth II walked down the aisle in 1947, Britain was facing austerity in the wake of war. Although she was subject to the same clothing rationing of the rest of the UK, The Queen's wedding dress symbolised the hopes of a country in recovery. Inspired by a Botticelli painting, designer Norman Hartnell focused on using sumptuous materials, fashioning an ivory silk bodice and opulently embellished train, giving the future Queen's wedding gown the feminine silhouette that the 40s became known for.


Princess Anne looked to the Medieval era for inspiration when it came to her royal wedding in 1973, but it was some eight years later that Princess Diana's wedding dress would wow the world with a Victorian-inspired look. Designed by British couple Elizabeth and David Emanuel, Princess Di's wedding dress embraced the 80s love for extravagance with big shoulders and a record-breaking train that - at over seven metres long - was a struggle to squeeze into the glass carriage she would arrive in. Just a few years later and Sarah Ferguson looked to Princess Diana for inspiration, walking down the aisle in a Lindka Cierach creation, which was adorned with motifs that represented her and her groom, Prince Andrew. Fergie's wedding dress also echoed the silhouette of the 1980s, with puff sleeves, a full skirt and a nipped-in waist.


Fast forward to 2011 and the world waited with baited breath to witness William and Kate's big day. One of the most closely guarded secrets in the fashion world, the designer of the dress was only revealed once Kate Middleton stepped out onto the pavements of Westminster Abbey. Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen was given the job of creating the Kate Middleton's wedding dress, and she crafted a contemporary but classic royal wedding dress, with elegant lace sleeves that signified an end to the trend for sleeveless wedding dresses. The world certainly agreed as Prince William mouthed 'you look beautiful' to the Duchess of Cambridge, a true fairytale moment.