Royals are no strangers to donning head-turning pieces that make a statement and leave a lasting impression in the hearts of ordinary folks. Notably, their wedding dresses are not left out!
For some reason, we can’t stop obsessing over the royals, particularly the British royal family. To be fair, who could blame us? From their sparkly tiaras which seem straight out of our favorite Disney animations to having the luxury of living in castles with royal staff members at their beck and call.
Not to mention their exquisite wardrobe comprising the best collection of outfits from high-end designers and the over-the-top color coordination. Hence, it comes as no surprise that these royals go all out when it comes to picking out ensembles for a royal wedding.
The ideal wedding gown goes beyond a white spread of lace sewn into wonder by a high-end designer. Rather, a royal wedding dress needs to honor certain factions of the society, pay homage to idolized figures and make a resounding statement about the bride’s personality.
More importantly, it has to achieve all this and still manage to look straight out of a fairy tale. Here we look at eleven of the most exquisite wedding gowns worn by royal brides over the years.
1. Princess Diana’s Wedding Gown
Arguably one of the most fashionable royals to ever walk this earth, Princess Diana’s wedding dress sure did not disappoint. For her wedding to Prince Charles, the People’s princess donned a glamorous white gown featuring a record-breaking 25ft long train.
The glam outfit, designed by David Emmanuel featured hundreds of hand-embroidered pearls and sequins which made it appear more refined. Diana’s dress made such a strong statement that it set the standard for other royal brides after her.
Even non-royals tapped into the fashion innovation, emulating the iconic piece for decades to come. Although the design could not remain timeless, more modern versions are setting the trend in today’s world.
2. Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson’s Dress
Shoulder pads may not be a thing now, but it certainly was back in the day and Sarah Ferguson tapped into the fashion trend during her 1986 nuptials.
For the grand occasion, Ferguson wore an ivory-colored wedding dress designed in the eighties fashion with massive shoulder pads. The gown, made by African-born British designer Lindka Cierach came in ivory satin lined by beautiful beaded bumblebees and thistles, representing the duchess’ family crest.
Aside from the beadwork, the endless roll of satin and gigantic 17ft long train sported anchors and waves symbolic of her groom, Prince Andrew’s naval career.
Although their wedding eventually ended in divorce, the dress left an impact for several generations.
3. Princess Anne’s Second Wedding Dress
Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter Princess Anne proved royal wedding dresses did not have to be all glam and extravagant. The royal, who wed Sir Timothy Laurence in 1992 following her divorce from Mark Phillips opted for a simple outfit for a second wedding.
The ensemble comprised a white, knee-length turtleneck gown with a white jacket thrown over it. The only bridal embellishment was the white floral spread on her hair and her bouquet. Coupled with her black flats, the princess appeared less of a bride and more of a flight attendant. Guessing that was the whole point.
4. Queen Elizabeth II’s Wedding Dress
Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II has experienced some iconic fashion moments and her wedding to Prince Philip was one of them. For the occasion, the British monarch wore a Norman Hartnell-designed wedding dress inspired by the Primavera painting of Sandro Botticelli.
A series of embroidered silver floral patterns adorned the dress, while white seed pearls imported from the United States added some glitz to the ensemble. The then-princess finished off the look with a long silk tulle turtleneck attached at the shoulder and a pair of sparkly shoes embellished with seed pearls.
5. Camila Parker Bowles’ Wedding Dress
Prince Charles’ wife Camila Parker Bowles wore one of the most inspiring royal wedding dresses of all time during their 2005 nuptials. The duo, who couldn’t be more glad to finally legalize their union after decades of fighting for their love, let their joys reflect in their attires.
While Charles, formally married to Princess Diana, looked royal in his knee-length tux, the Duchess of Cornwall somewhat redefined royal wedding dresses with her one-of-a-kind outfit inspired by one of her late mother’s jewelry.
The outfit comprised a white chiffon gown paired with a light blue and gold damask dress coat completely covered by crafty gold embroidery. The color, which featured a more flamboyant design especially stood out. In the place of a veil, she opted for a gold feather headdress, which was a bold move in the history of royal brides.
6. Princess Margaret’s Timeless Dress
Norman Hartnell stepped in for the royals again in 1960, designing Queen Elizabeth’s sister Princess Margaret’s wedding dress. The outfit seemed straight out of a Disney fairytale.
Notably, the princess-gown is one of a few royal wedding dresses that has proven to be timeless and is still emulated across the globe to date.
It featured incorporated silk organza, a v-neck, long sleeves, and a gigantic skirt which reportedly consumed over 30 meters of fabric. She paired the timeless piece with a tiara once belonging to Lady Poltimore in the 1870s.
7. Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton introduced the world to a new era in the history of royal fashion adopting a more modern approach. That symbolic shift was evidenced by her royal wedding dress which combined traditional and contemporary fashion to create a masterpiece.
The Alexander McQueen gown featured a bodice inspired by the Victorian-era corset, and a silk tulle resembling a blooming flower. Taking some things from royal brides before her, Middleton also incorporated a 9ft long train, and long sleeves.
However, creating those sleeves solely from see-through lace was a history-making modern touch. Combined with the perfect statement-making jewelry, she was not found wanting in any way. No doubt only the duchess could pull that off.
8. Princess Beatrice’s Wedding Dress
For her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020, Sara Ferguson’s daughter Princess Beatrice opted for a simple vintage gown on loan from the Queen.
Norman Hartnell, who designed Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress in 1947, spared no detail when designing this less elaborate outfit made from Peau De Soie taffeta. It featured organza short sleeves, a spread of ivory duchess satin, geometric checkered bodice, and encrusted Diamantes.
9. Princess Eugenie’s Wedding Dress
Princess Eugenie spared no cost for her royal wedding in 2018, with the dress taking a huge fraction of it. Thankfully, the end product was certainly worth the expense.
The princess wed her prince-charming Jack Brooksbank in a satin wedding dress featuring a neckline that folded around the shoulders. The designers Peter Plotto and Christoper De Vos also incorporated a low back and long flowing train symbolic of royal wedding dresses.
As a finishing touch, the princess, famous for her hat collection, donned a Tiara embellished with diamonds and emeralds.
10. Lady Charlotte Wellesley’s Dress
The Duchess of Wellington, Princess Antonia’s daughter Lady Charlotte Wellesley turned heads during her 2016 marriage to Alejandro Santo Domingo. For the occasion, the bride kept it anything but simple in her extravagant structured gown with an off-the-shoulder folding neckline.
The Emilia Wickstead designed piece came with a long veil sporting embellished polka dots extending throughout the length of the flowing train. Certainly, an outfit fit for a royal.
11. Meghan Markle
The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle rocked one of the most iconic royal wedding dresses of all time for her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.
The actress-turned-royal, and mother of two looked elegant and timeless in her white A-line gown by Givenchy. The outfit came in a subtle off-the-shoulder design and had a 16ft silk tulle veil which required hours to produce.
Additionally, the dress featured a floral trim of hand-embroidered flowers from each of the 53 commonwealth countries. Designer Clare Waight Keller certainly did wonders to make Meghan Markle’s wedding dress a masterpiece that lived up to and even outdid some of its predecessors.