Battle of the Royal Wedding Gowns: Which One is Your Favorite?
May 19, 2018
As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding fast tonight, many have speculated on details of the big day. Will they go traditional? Will it be a modern affair? Most importantly, everyone is wondering: Who is making Maghan’s wedding gown? As we wait for more details on the highly-anticipated event we thought we’d ask: which royal wedding gown was your favorite?
Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Elizabeth (who would soon be Queen of England) wed Philip Mountbatten of the Greek Royal Family on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Due the Second World II, all clothing was being rationed at the time, and the Princess had to purchase all the material for her gown using ration coupons (the government gave her 200 extra ration coupons to purchase the dress). It was made by court designer Norman Hartnell using soft, luxurious fabrics such as tulle, chiffon, and silk. In addition, detailed embroidery of scattered flowers was sewn onto the silk. Hartnell claims it was the most beautiful dress he had ever made. The strapless, long-sleeved wedding gown had 13-foot train that symbolized the rebirth of England after the war and was inspired by Botichelli’s painting Primavera (c. 1482). The gown was finished with 10,000 seed pearls and crystals. Her diamond fringe tiara secured her veil onto her head.
Despite a famously tragic love life (best portrayed in the Netflix originally series The Crown), Princess Margaret finally wed at Westminster Abbey in May 6, 1960 to Antony Armstrong-Jones, a photographer and filmmaker. Just like her big sister (who was now the Queen of England), court designer Norman Hartnell was commissioned for the silk organza wedding gown. Margret and Hartnell opted for a simple silhouette to be able to show off her petite frame. Crystal embellishments and other adornments were kept to a minimum for that reason. Beautifully tailored, elegant and unpretentious, the dress won positive reviews from the public, Vogue, and Life magazine. Today, is it currently on display at Kensington Palace as part of the British Royal Collection.
Diana Spencer, Princess of Whales
In recent years, Princess Diana is most fondly remembered as being a fashion icon and royal rebel. For her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, the Queen’s oldest son and heir to the throne, she wore a puffed-sleeve gown with a full train that ran 25-feet. Valued at £9,000, the ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. She selected the pair due to her fondness for a chiffon top they previously made her for a royal photoshoot. It was embroidered with sequin and 10,000 pearls, with hand-made Carrickmacross lace that was owned by Queen Mary. The gown is often considered to be one of the most influential wedding dresses of all time. It set fashion trends soon after, with every new bride ordering copies of the gown for their big day.
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
It was a shock to many when Kate Middleton chose Alexander McQueen’s Creative Director Sarah Burton to design her wedding gown for her nuptials to Prince William. Alexander McQueen had just passed away the year before, and the rumor mill had been speculating on which English couturier house would dress the future Duchess. Diana’s designer David Emmanuel even noted that Alexander McQueen was owned by Gucci, stating that Kate is the first royal not to have a gown made by a local fashion house. Prince William wed Kate on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey. It was a highly-anticipated cultural event and one of the most watched televised program in history. Kate worked closely with Burton, making sure that the gown would combine modernity and tradition. It was made of ivory satin and narrowed at the waist, as homage to Victorian corsetry. Workers from the Royal School of Needlework also made silk net tulle for her sleeves, which was then embroidered with floral motifs. At the back, 58 buttons made of gazar and organza fastened the dress together. Kate also opted for a short three-meter train. The gown was positively received and became influential in the years to come.