Royal wedding gowns of the modern age, minus Kate and Meghan
If you haven’t picked up on this already – and I’m pretty sure it’s impossible not to have – in addition to the Royal Family, I love weddings and I love fashion. That said, today’s post makes me giddy because it combines all three of those loves – Royal wedding day fashions.
We have done an extensive look at Kate and Meghan’s wedding looks, but what about the other women of the Royal family? Here is what they wore on one of the most special days of their lives.
All photos are by Getty except for Princess Anne’s, which is from PA.
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother
The Queen’s mother, also named Elizabeth, married future king – though no one knew it yet – Prince Albert on April 26, 1923. The dress, inspired by Coco Chanel, was designed by Madame Handley Seymour – Queen Mary’s dressmaker – and, in true 1920s flapper fashion, is a dress of the times.
When the then Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip on November 20, 1947, she commissioned Norman Hartnell to design her dress. (He also designed her sister Margaret’s gown when she married 13 years later; sadly, he seems to have been lost to history.) Hartnell embroidered jasmine, lilac, and other flowers on the dress – his signature touch was his embroidery – and the dress’ material had to be purchased with ration coupons, as clothing was still being rationed from World War II days. Her train was only 13 feet – considered short by Royal standards – and said to have been inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera.
Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960 wearing a dress by Norman Hartnell, who also designed her sister’s gown. The silk organza gown was called “the simplest Royal wedding gown in history” by Life; where Kate turned to Elizabeth for her gown’s inspiration, it can be said that Meghan turned to Margaret, whose simpler style she coveted.
For her first wedding to Captain Mark Phillips on November 14, 1973, Anne wore a dress designed by Maureen Baker for Susan Small. The Tudor-style dress had a high collar and draped sleeves, and Anne designed most of the dress herself, keeping with contemporary fashions of the 1970s.
I think everyone by now knows how I feel about this dress, but for its time, it was everything and, after the ceremony, copycat dresses were seen on brides all over the world. Diana commissioned David and Elizabeth Emanuel to design her silk taffeta wedding gown, worn on July 29, 1981 as she married Prince Charles. If you’ll remember from above, Queen Elizabeth’s train was 13 feet – Diana’s was 25 feet and her veil was 153 yards long. Because Diana was struggling with bulimia leading up to her wedding, the fitting was off because she dropped four dress sizes in the months leading up to the big day.
Still keeping in the 1980s more is more style, Sarah married Prince Andrew on July 23, 1986 in a gown designed by Lindka Cierach. The duchesse satin dress was heavily beaded with heart and anchor symbols, symbolic of romance and her husband’s sailing background, respectively. Sarah was incredibly influenced by Diana’s gown when designing her own, and her 17-foot long train intertwined an “A” and an “S” – the couple’s initials – in silver beads. Like Diana’s, Sarah’s dress was a huge hit and brides of the latter 1980s copied her style in droves.
Sophie married the Queen’s youngest child, Prince Edward, on June 19, 1999 wearing a dress by Samantha Shaw. The dress is made of hand-dyed silk organza and hand-dyed silk crepe, with rows of pearls and crystal beading around the neck, sleeves, and train; further beading goes down the back and front of the dress-coat, which Sophie removed for the evening reception. There are 325,000 cut-glass and pearl beads sewn on the V-neck dress. Her husband designed her black and white pearl drop earrings by Asprey and Garrard.
When Camilla married Prince Charles on April 9, 2005, she wore an oyster silk basket weave overcoat and cream silk chiffon dress by Antonia Robinson and Anna Valentine. For the blessing afterward, she wore a floor-length embroidered pale blue and gold coat over a matching chiffon dress by the same designers.
The Queen’s oldest grandchild, Peter Phillips (son of Princess Anne), married Autumn Kelly on May 17, 2008; the bride wore Sassi Holford. The gown is made of duchesse satin with Chantilly lace, featuring a fitted waist, a statement sash, and a full skirt which fanned out into a train. Autumn wore a lace bolero jacket with short sleeves and her veil also featured lace borders.
Zara’s wedding to rugby player Mike Tindall – just three months after William and Kate’s on July 30, 2011 – attracted much less fanfare than her cousins’. Her Stewart Parvin gown, made of duchesse satin and faille, featured small cap sleeves.
When Eugenie married longtime love, businessman Jack Brooksbank, last October 12, she wore a gown by Peter Pilotto designed to show off the scar down her back from back surgery she underwent as a 12-year-old to cure her scoliosis.