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Wedding Dresses of The Royal Family

Updated on April 26, 2015

Royal Wedding Dress from 1816

Princess Charlotte's Wedding Dress

Princess Charlotte wore this masterpiece- on the left in 1816. No photography can possibly do this dress justice. It is from a time where extreme, detail and extravagance were expected, and simply blows away anything that modern dressmaking can produce. It sparkles and dazzles like nothing we, of the 21st century, can imagine. This gown has more than 500 hours of fine, delicate detailed hand stitching, with pure silver threads, that are practically invisible to the naked eye. One wonders how the seamstresses completed this gown without going blind. The dress is silver lame on net, spun silk on top of a silver chiffon type material. Silver tissue is lined with white satin, and intricate embroidery around the basque, fastening in front with a diamond.

This was indeed a time of extravagance. When Royals were wearing precious materials in their attire, not just as pieces of jewelry. This dress is considered to be the last survivor of a centuries old tradition; that of integrating real silver throughout the cloth. Even if anyone could afford this, and if there were seamstresses who could accomplish it, there is no way that a royal would wear it due to photography. This gown is spectacular in person but because it is highly reflective, it would be impossible to photograph, and as photography is now one the most important aspects of any modern wedding, a precious metal dress would simply not fly.

Princess Charlotte's Dress

Source

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria posing in the 1860s wearing the wedding dress that she wore in 1840
Queen Victoria posing in the 1860s wearing the wedding dress that she wore in 1840

Royal Wedding Dresses

Queen Victoria started a huge trend for brides when sketches of her were seen in local newspapers wearing a white lace dress.

Victoria's dress featured a very full skirt and yards upon yards of Horniton lace, thus boosting Devon lace makers. This full dress is often considered to be the one that started the wedding dress as we know it today. In the 1840s brides were wearing colors, and and a variety of textures. Although the white dress was not hugely popular immediately, it gradually grew on the young brides of the 1860s, and the public accepted the Victoria dress as an ideal wedding gown.

In 1840 when Victoria wore her white dress she was largely criticized for being too plain because she wore a boring color without a crown or jewels. This was the plain Jane of royalty.

Princess Alice in 1867

Princess Alice carries on the White Tradition

Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Alice solidified the tradition of a bride wearing white when she also wore a white gown with yards of white lace, similar in shape to the one her mother wore.

Stunning Victorian Wedding Dress of Princess Mary

Princess Mary's Victorian 1893 Dress
Princess Mary's Victorian 1893 Dress

Victorian Royal Wedding

When Princess Mary married Prince George, Duke of York (later King George V) in 1893, gold and silver textiles were popular in formal gowns. These details added pure 19th century charm and elegance to Princess Mary's gown. The "V" waistline was classic Victorian style, along with the tiny sleeves,and flounces. She also added some of her mother's Horton lace around the neckline.

This gown is white silk satin brocade with a sliver thread intertwined, three flounces of lace,and several diamond pins. The standout of this dress design is the Irish flowers, Shamrocks, thistles, lilies, and orange blossoms tied together with a lovers knot.

Dresses had become even more fitted in the late 19th century than they had ever been, and the cinched in waist with plunging neckline gave a curvy silhouette to this stunning satin gown.

Queen Mother's Flapper Wedding Dress

Queen Mother 1923
Queen Mother 1923

Queen Mother Elizabeth

When the Queen mother (Duchess of york) married the Duke of York in 1923, her dress was probably the dowdiest of all royal wedding dresses. It was fashionable in the 20's to wear shapeless dresses. Times had come full circle since the 1900s Victorian gowns, where shapeliness was exaggerated to the hilt.

Also, the fact that the photos of her wedding were all in black and white further makes this dress seem dull. Black and white enhances shapes, and since there is no shape here, it is easy to just see a white shapeless mass, and dismiss the dress and a nightmare entirely. However, this gown has many beautiful intricate details, and medieval decorations, such as silver threaded embroidery and brick rack all over the bodice. To see the dress in color, and in person, the details are a sight to behold, it just that could only work on a thin model who knows how to stand and pose. On an average woman, it looks like a sack of potatoes.

The dress simply hangs. And to make matters worse, her veil has no oomph! It also just lies flat across her head and hangs all the way down. The whole over all look is a long shapeless nightgown.

Queen Elizabeth's Classic 1950s style

The Queen's Contemporary Dress

This stunning and timeless dress was worn by Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 when she married Prince Philip. This beautiful ivory silk dress is embroidered with 10,000 crystals, and pearls. The gown features a 13 food train. Grace Kelly would wear a more tailored, yet similarly shaped dress in her royal wedding just seven years later.

Of all the Royal wedding dresses that are displayed to the public, this is the one that gets the most overall admiration for both being beautifully proportioned, as typical of the 1940s -50's style dresses were, for having royal opulence, while at the same time coming across as a dress that just about any woman would like to wear for her wedding. If there is a "classic" or over all "best royal wedding dress, it would be Queen Elizabeth's 1947 gown.

Princess Diana's Huge 1980s Dress

Lady Di

I will never forget the day that I watched the royal wedding on television in my Aunts house in Liverpool England. The country was excitedly awaiting the next big royal wedding, and we were planning to all be together in front of our sets to see what Lady Di would be wearing.

I was disappointed in the off white color. I thought that she, being a fair skinned blond, did not suit beige, and her hair was not even fixed. It was just slightly outgrown, and stringy, not at all effective with this big monstrous dress she wore.

I was happy and excited about the train. When she stepped out of the carriage, she just kept unraveling. It was later said that her 25 foot train took up most of the space in her carriage. After Princess Diana wore this huge beast, any future royal wedding dress will have a sense of anti climax by comparison. The rest of the dress, with its huge 1980s sleeves, and bodice that seemed to be two sizes too big for the Princess, was a wrinkled mess.

From the Queen's 1947 elegant gown to this jumbled heap, many of the viewers were making negative comments about this dress. I don't recall hearing anything positive outside of my own childish mind thinking that I liked the ridiculously long train.

Most of the complaints were about the excess fabric on this seemingly shy girl, coupled with the flat, un kept hair, and the bulky, hanging veil.

There are a lot of negative things that can be said for this dress, as of Queen Elizabeth I's. It seems to have gone down in history as the monstrosity.

The Royal Weddind of Charles & Diana

Lady Diana's drain
Lady Diana's drain | Source

Royal Wedding of William & Kate

Source

Kate Middleton

Back to simple elegance. Kate Middleton's dress is very basic, and simple, with the fit of the 1950s.

Many fans have compared this gown to Princess grace, and Queen Elizabeth's dress. It does have similarities, however, it is much more of a plain dress that an average woman would wear. It had less detail, as far as sewn in beading, or excess yards of fabric for a flare skirt. It did contain a tremendous amount of Chantilly lace, and traditional English bulky lace, long sleeves and a "V" neck, and did not try to make any statements.

Her train was about 9 feet in length.

Royal Wedding Dresses

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    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR

      Skarlet 

      6 years ago from California

      Thank you Teaches.

      I love Princess Mary's dress too. The design is stunning!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      This was quite interesing to read. I loved the Princess Mary's victorian dress with the yellow and green floral design. Dianna made such a beautiful bride, but Kate's striking character does make any dress look amazing. Well done!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      $$$$$$$$$ = Major cause of Common Sense!!

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR

      Skarlet 

      6 years ago from California

      Thank you fpherj48.

      I can not imagine spending thousands for a gown. My dress was $1000, which was not the cheapest. I was actually thinking about that while writing this hub. As a child I thought I would have a crazy, expensive wedding, but as I grew up, the idea went away. ....Reality!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Skarlet........WoW.......Queen Liz's Groom, Prince Philip was a dashing and handsome young man!! He' now 91!! The gowns are all exquisite, to say the least......but I admit I was terribly disappointed in Diana's Wedding Gown....I couldn't force myself to like it.....even her headpiece was lame.

      If William and Kate are not the PERFECT Royal couple....no one is!!!

      Can you even imagine paying in the high thousands for a GOWN???

      46 years ago.........I hate to say it, but my Gown, headpiece and veil were $95.00 total and it was one of the more expensive ones!!! lol

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