Six of the Best Royal Wedding Dresses

Posted on May 14 2018

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge Alexander McQueen Wedding Dress


As the world eagerly waits for the first glimpse of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress on May 19th we look back at some of our favourite royal wedding dresses from the past. Royal wedding dresses capture the imagination like no others, because we know that they will be sumptuous works of art in which no expense nor labour has been spared.  With the best designers in the world vying to create a visually stunning creation that will be the dress of the bride’s dreams, and inspire future wedding dress fashion, Royal wedding dresses are in a league of their own.  The question on everyone’s lips is “Who will create Meghan’s dress?” Will she be inspired by her stylish predecessors?

HRH Duchess of Cambridge

The most recent memory of a royal wedding for most of us is the spectacular 2011 wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales to Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, making his new wife Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge. Speculation was fevered before the big day and fashion experts worldwide were delighted with the bride’s choice of designer. The lace dress was designed by Sarah Burton for British house Alexander McQueen and the lace detailing was hand stitched by the London School of Needlework. Catherine themed her wedding around the Victorian Language of flowers, and many symbolic petals and blooms were sewn into the lace embroidery.  The dress was modest in design, eschewing the strapless designs that many brides were wearing that year, and was also conservative in shape, avoiding ballgown meringue skirts and keeping the look elegant and understated, whilst featuring exquisite detailing as is fitting for the wedding of the heir to the throne. Her diamond earrings were a gift from her parents and the tiara was a loan from her new in laws.  Personal touches included the bride doing her own make up and matching her wedding’s floral theme by wearing a gardenia scent on the day.

Diana, Princess of Wales Wedding Dress Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel

Diana, The Princess of Wales

The young Lady Diana Spencer was just 19 when she began fittings for her elaborate wedding dress. It was designed by British designers David and Elizabeth Emmanuel and was very much of its time in 1981, in the era of New Romanticism. The dress was made of fine silk taffeta, and even the silkworms were British. The train was twenty-five-foot-long and elaborately detailed with beading and embroidery. The whole dress contained over 10,000 hand stitched pearls and a tiny blue bow was sewn in the waistband so that the bride could fit the traditional adage of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Diana’s aristocratic background was impeccable and thus she wore her own family’s tiara rather than borrowing one from the Royal family as other brides have done.  To avoid last minute disaster, a replica dress was made, and although it wasn’t used, there was a last-minute spillage of perfume down the neckline of Diana’s dress, which she managed to hide on the day.

HSH Princess Grace of Monaco Wedding Dress Designed by Helen Rose

HSH Princess Grace of Monaco

The day that actress Grace Kelly became Her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco, was the day that her iconic wedding dress became the last word in wedding day elegance. Many of the details of her dress are still copied by brides many decades later, and many fashion watchers even said that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge may have been inspired by the elegant lace sleeves and tailored bodice of Princess Grace’s wedding gown.

The world was in thrall to see what this famous glacial blonde would wear on her wedding day to His Serene Highness Prince Rainier of Monaco.  Carrying a simple prayer book, the new Princess’s dress was made from an astonishing amount of material. With three hundred yards of silk net, a hundred yards of lace, and fifty yards of taffeta, the fabrics alone would have covered a third of a mile. The dress was a gift from the Princess’s former film studio and was designed by Helen Rose. The veil was anchored to a delicate Juliet cap, adorned with lace, pearls and embroidered flowers.

Queen Rania of Jordan Wedding Dress Designed by Bruce Oldfield

Queen Rania of Jordan

When Kuwaiti born Rania Al-Hassin, now Queen Rania of Jordan, married Prince Abdullah of Jordan on June 10th 1993, she chose British designer Bruce Oldfield to design her wedding dress. The dress was designed for a Muslim marriage ceremony and was modestly cut with feature lapels, short sleeves, a jewelled belt, full ball gown style skirt and intricate gold trim. Her veil was full length and anchored to an elaborate high up-do. In the evening, she chose a less formal dress, also by Bruce Oldfield. The white sleeveless dress featured a tailored bejewelled bodice with a V shaped back and full silk skirt.

Princess Angela of Lichtenstein Wedding Dress

Princess Angela of Lichtenstein

Princess Angela of Lichtenstein is the first black European Princess, having married Prince Maximilian in the year 2000. The Panamanian born bride has a fashion background, having run her own fashion house prior to her marriage. Her stylish dress, which she designed herself, did not disappoint the fashion pundits, with its understated elegance, boat line neck and pared back styling. With the emphasis on the shape and cut, the dress remained plain and unadorned, following the old adage that the bride should wear the dress, not the other way around. Princess Angela accessorised simply with an elaborate Royal tiara and small diamond stud earrings, preferring elegance to spectacle.

Johor's Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim Wedding Dress

Johor's Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim

When Malaysian Princess Tunku Aminah married her Dutch fiancé, Muhammed Abdullah, at the Serene Hill Palace in Johor, her dress was both elegant and modest for the traditional Muslim ceremony. Muhammed Abdullah converted to Islam in order to marry the princess, who is the only daughter of Malaysia’s most powerful Sultan. Her wedding dress consisted of traditional and modest silk robes, with a flowing tulle veil and a breath-taking Royal tiara. The modest sheath style wedding dress was accessorised by glamorous stiletto wedding shoes in cream silk, with elaborate embellishments.

Over to You

Who wore your favourite Royal wedding dress? Will you be watching this year’s royal wedding on May 19th? Do let us know. We always love to hear from you.  Subscribe to Bustoire and be first to hear our exciting launch news.

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