For most people, their wedding day is one of the most important days of their lifetime. There’s always a sense of anticipation for the bride’s wedding dress shopping. However, most people don’t have the world watching them when it comes to every single detail of their wedding. That is not the case when it comes to the royal family.
The gorgeous dresses that Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana wore became international topics of discussion, so we decided to break them down in list. However, these are only a few of the royal women who made this list. Check out the best Royal Wedding dresses in history right here.
17. Queen Victoria – 1840s
When most people in the United States think of the mid-1800s, they imagine two worlds – the poor and the elite. Of course, the royal family was elite. But when it comes to the wedding dress Queen Victoria had, it fit more into the future than the 1840s. It was not only made of Spitalfields silk and Honiton lace, but it was also a dress that broke the royal code, which launched the royal wedding into the 1840 version of a media frenzy. Not only did the dress have an open neckline, but the sleeves sat a bit off of the shoulders.
When Queen Victoria walked down the aisle with her cousin and soon-to-be husband Prince Albert, she needed a total of 12 attendees to help carry her satin train, which was over six yards long. The skirt was also measured 139 inches in circumference and 37-40 inches in depth. People usually remember Queen Victoria’s wedding because she married her cousin. However, this was pretty normal of the time, and the actually historic piece of the nuptials is the wedding dress.
Queen Elizabeth II is a household name in many countries. She is well-known as the longest-reigning queen in United Kingdom’s history, becoming Queen in June 1953. However, she also married the love of her life in 1947. Her relationship became viewed as a role model marriage because Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip always remained in the spotlight due to their royal status. Of course, we wouldn’t have Queen Elizabeth on this list if she didn’t have a fabulous dress for her big day.
The infamous pair married on November 20, 1947, and while many people today would note that her train was a bit short for a royal, the rest of the wedding dress made up for it. Elizabeth wore a Norman Hartnell long-sleeve dress with a high neckline and a tailored bodice. The dress was made with satin material and had a star-patterned fan-shaped bridal train that was 13 feet. This gown also held crystals and 10,000 pearls.
It might be hard to top a wedding dress with at least 10,000 pearls and tons of crystals, but many people feel Queen Soraya did that a few years after Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wedding. In 1951, Soraya, the queen consort of Iran, became the second wife of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. As a royal in his land, Shah made sure that his new wife received everything she wanted for their special day, including a dress with about 6,000 diamonds and over 20,000 feathers.
It’s no secret that this Christian Dior dress went down in history from the moment the design hit the paper. Along with the diamonds and feathers, the dress design included about 37 yards of silver lamé studded with pearls and weighed a total of 44 pounds. You also need to include the jacket and matching veil. Then, once the ceremony became an evening wedding reception, the veil and jacket switched to an emerald and diamond parure from the crown jewels.
Princess Anne Marie of Denmark, Greece, met her future husband, Constantine, Crown Prince of Greece, and her third cousin in 1959. Anne Marie and Constantine would not see each other except a couple of times during family marriages until 1964. It was then that Constantine became King of the Hellenes in March. Fast forward to July of that year, and Constantine was getting ready to wed his cousin.
While the thought of the pair being third cousins might get some people talking, what got individuals talking about the couple during their wedding was Princess Anne Marie’s dress. While it was seen as plain, it was also beautiful and one-of-a-kind. It was a high-waist gown with a delicate lace skirt detail. Danish Jørgen Bender designed this gown. The lace veil was worn by her maternal grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, for her wedding in 1905 and anchored by a Cartier diamond tiara given to Princess Margaret by the Khedive of Egypt.
Sally Croker-Poole is better known as Princess Salimah Aga Khan following her marriage to Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, also known as Aga Khan IV, in 1969. After her marriage, she also gained the official title of Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan. However, Her Highness still requested people to call her by her first name, Sally. Even though the couple divorced in 1995, making her lose the title of Her Highness, she would keep the title of princess.
This was Poole’s second marriage; thus, it was something most people frowned upon during the 1960s. Nevertheless, she graces the list of most beautiful royal wedding gowns in history. Sahe was covered from head to toe in a white gown with a delicate pattern. She wore very little jewelry, only showing a bracelet on her wrist. The dress had an elegant flow, letting the back trail behind her slightly. Poole’s wedding dress is an excellent combination of simple-yet-royal between the length, silky fabric, and pattern.
The last few years have seen many royal weddings, some on television while others are quieter. While many people heard about Lady Gabriella Windsor’s marriage to Thomas Kingston in May 2019, it was not televised other weddings on this list. However, this doesn’t mean that Lady Gabriella didn’t have an elegant gown. In fact, many people searched for images of her wedding dress after the ceremony. Italian designer Luisa Beccaria ensured that this dress was one of a kind and custom ordered by Gabriella herself.
The only exception for the custom-made dress was the tiara, which her grandmother, Princess Marina of Greece, wore. Due to the layers, it had more of a blush color than white. It also had transparent sleeves and lace throughout the gown. Another specialized request from Gabriella was that the front of the dress was a bit more plain while the back of the dress held the dramatic designs.
In 1976, Sweden came together to celebrate one of the biggest days of Silvia Renate Sommerlath and King Carl Gustaf’s lives, the day they become united in marriage. On this date, Silvia gained the title of Queen Consort of Sweden, which she still holds at the age of 77. The couple announced their engagement three months before they tied the knot. That was also the first time since 1797 that Sweden saw the wedding of a reigning Swedish monarch.
Many people feel that one of the best features of Queen Silvia’s wedding dress was that it looked like one anyone would wear on their wedding day. While she wore a beautiful crown attached to her veil, the queen’s dress was white with long sleeves and flowed down to the floor. Also, the Cameo Tiara worn by the queen was a gift from French Emperor Napoleon to his wife Josephine during the early 19th century.
On September 23, 2012, Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah of Brunei and Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini were presented by the royal court in a beautiful wedding ceremony in the sultan’s palace. It’s no surprise that the princess had a wedding dress covered in crystals and dripping with diamonds. After all, she did marry one of the richest men in the world. The marriage also lasted several days, which meant that more than one wedding dress was needed. The princess styled each dress uniquely and they were all different colors. Most of the dresses featured diamonds, crystals, and emeralds.
The princess’ gown was one of two primary colors, silver and white, along with a star-studded tiara veil. Of course, other accessories, such as the emerald necklace, closely matched the tiara. Furthermore, it’s important to note that this wasn’t the princess’ only wedding dress. For instance, she also had one that was beige and another that took on a more purplish glow, essentially because of the crystals that were beaded into the dress.
In 1893, Mary of Teck married the future King George V, who was grandson to Queen Victoria. Years after her marriage, Mary became Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions. Once her husband became King George V, she also became Empress of India. Of course, the wedding happened before all the titles began changing in their lifetime. It was a that designed the wedding dress for Mary.
London-based company Lingon and Curtis knew that they had to make a wedding dress that would be remembered for centuries – and they did. The long, flowing gown was trimmed in orange blossoms and ostrich feathers. White satin filled the front of the dress and fastened lace that was a part of her mother’s wedding dress. Queen Victoria also assisted in the wedding dress by giving Mary the diamond pins that held the lace. Of course, the wedding dress was completed with a diamond tiara, also a gift from Queen Victoria.
You might have been one of the millions of viewers that watched Kate Middleton marry Prince William in their 2011 ceremony. Catherine was always one to show elegance with clothing, and her wedding dress was no different. It’s been a decade, and people are still talking about it. Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen designed the dress and listened to Kate’s every word about the type of wedding dress she desired. The wedding dress looks a bit simple for a royal according to some. However, the detail that went into the dress is anything but simple.
The train of the dress was nearly nine feet long and the inspiration for it came from the Victorian era. The Royal School of Needlework took the time to hand-stitch the lace using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique. The piece of Kate’s dress that was borrowed was Queen Elizabeth II’s Cartier Scroll tiara. King George VI, Elizabeth’s father, purchased the tiara in 1936 for the Queen Mother.
Not too long ago, you often heard the word “commoner” on TV, like when Prince Harry married Meghan Markel. This wasn’t the only royal wedding where you heard the word “commoner.” There are several, and this next wedding dress was made for one of them. Letizia was raised in a middle-class family, went to college to become a journalist, and then became a news anchor for CNN+ before she gained the title of Queen after marrying King Felipe VI in 2004, who was then Prince of Asturias and heir apparent to the Spanish throne.
Spanish couturier Manuel Pertegaz was given the task of designing the gorgeous dress for the future queen. While the dress looks plain white from afar, it held many details within the long train and long sleeves. In total, the dress cost eigh million dollars, making it one of the most expensive wedding dresses in history. The dress had a one-of-a-kind structured collar with floral motifs embroidered onto the silk gown in silver and gold thread. Fans also couldn’t forget about the tiara attached to the veil and its flower design.
Princess Diana, also known as the Princess of Wales, one of the most compassionate women to join the royal family. Even though she tragically passed away nearly 25 years ago, she is still a household name worldwide. She married Charles, Prince of Wales, on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. While she would go on to affect the world in extraordinary ways, she caught the eye of nearly everyone on her wedding day as people watched to see what her wedding dress looked like.
After all, before the ceremony, the dress was known as one of the most closely guarded fashion secrets globally – and now it holds this name in history. Even though the word iconic is used often, Princess Diana’s dress is truly iconic and now owned by her two sons, Prince William and Harry. Fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel worked closely with Princess Diana to create this historical bridal dress. Not only did it have a 153-yard tulle veil, but it also had a 25-foot train. This taffeta-ruffled white gown was then adorned with 10,000 pearls, silk, and lace.
In today’s world, it’s normal for people to constantly follow celebrities and royal family members. With social media and the news, it’s easy to learn who is getting married, having children, working where, and more. That wasn’t as easy back in the 1950s, making the media-frenzy wedding ceremony of Grace Kelly unique for that time. People wanted to know what her wedding dress looked like, how long the ceremony would last, and so much more. However, none of this is surprising, especially when you see the beautiful wedding dress Grace Kelly wore.
On April 19, 1956, one of the most popular actresses, Grace Kelly, became a princess. She married Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and had the wedding ceremony of the decade or even century. In fact, Kelly’s wedding dress is still an inspiration for women everywhere. Designed by Helen Rose, it had a 10-and-a-half-foot-long train made from 125-year-old Brussels lace, thousands of pearls that were hand-sewn, and taffeta. Along with a billowing skirt, the wedding gown had long lace sleeves and a high neck. There is no wonder why this is one of the most remembered bridal gowns of all time.
Princess Grace Kelly isn’t the only actress to marry into the royal family. Recently, Meghan Markle followed in similar footsteps when she wed Prince Harry. While the two decided to take a step back from royal duties and move to Los Angeles, this doesn’t take away the fact that Meghan holds a spot on this list due to her excellent wedding gown. Clare Waight Keller designed the main dress on the wedding day, a Givenchy ceremony dress. Meghan changed into her reception dress, a Stella McCartney high neck, halter gown following the ceremony.
One of the biggest centerpieces of Meghan’s dress was the silk tulle veil which held a length of 16.5 feet. This veil was adorned with embroidered flowers which represented the 53 Commonwealth countries. Of course, a beautiful diamond tiara was attached to the veil, giving it a more elegant look. Historically, the tiara went back to Mary of Teck’s 1893 wedding as the center brooch boasts 10 diamonds that were a wedding gift from the County of Lincoln. After the beautiful ceremony, Meghan stated that she always had a clear vision of the wedding gown she wanted, and that was to keep it minimalistic and simple.
3. Countess Olympia von und zu Arco-Zinneberg – 2019
Countess Olympia not only wore a beautiful wedding dress for her big day, but she also had a unique design for such a ceremony. The Countess married Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon Bonaparte on October 19, 2019. This day went down in history other than the gorgeous wedding gown because it marked a union between the former Imperial House of France and the Austrian House of Habsburg. Furthermore, it had not happened since 1810.
Aside from the historical significance, the wedding dress worn by Countess Olympia was a cut-out fern motif. It was a graphic Oscar de la Renta wedding dress which also had a matching capelet. However, this piece was removed before the couple made it to the reception. A bejeweled tiara matched the gown. It also had a trailing veil trimmed with matching lace. One of the most amazing facts about the gown is that it took more than 1,440 hours to make and was embroidered by 10 dressmakers
2. Princess Ariana Austin Makonnen Of Ethiopia – 2017
Along with American actresses, American writer, arts manager, and philanthropist Ariana Austin married into the royal family in 2017 with a lavish ceremony. The couple met at Washington D.C.’s Pearl nightclub in late 2005. Nine years later, they announced their engagement. On September 9, 2017, Ariana Austin married Prince Joel Dawit Makonnen, a great-grandson of the last Emperor of Ethiopia. Not only did Ariana have one of the most lavish wedding gowns in history, but the wedding event also went on for five days and included more than one gown. However, the primary wedding dress caught everyone’s attention.
Following tradition, the couple was crowned during the ceremony, which 13 priests officiated. It helped launch their special day into international attention. Lazaro made the wedding dress. It was a poofy tulle gown with the back featuring beautiful criss-cross details, while the front of it had a mesh overlay lace bodice. The veil to the dress matched the sparkles of the gown and had additional glitter embellishments. Of course, like most royals before her, Ariana included a long train that added an elegant but dramatic entrance to her wedding day.
Princess Beatrice shocked people when she and her husband-to-be decided to cancel their May 2020 wedding ceremony without any word about the date. However, people soon found out why when the couple married in a secret ceremony on July 17, 2020. The princess wed Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and not only borrowed something from Queen Elizabeth. That was a gown that the Queen wore at the 1962 premiere of Lawrence of Arabia.
However, Princess Beatrice also made sure to change her grandmother’s wedding gown by adding features that would make it special and unique to her wedding day. Norman Hartnell designed the dress in the 1960s. Princess Beatrice’s changes were altering the hem to make it a bit shorter and adding voluminous organza sleeves. Other features of the dress included a diamond fringe tiara from Queen Mary, which also was borrowed from Beatrice’s grandmother as she wore the same one at her 1947 wedding.