A look at 73 years of royal wedding dresses

In honour of Princess Beatrice's big day

By Tegan Mouton

A look at 73 years of royal wedding dresses

Princess Beatrice Royal Wedding

Princess Beatrice looked beautiful in her recycled vintage wedding dress when she married her property tycoon partner Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a surprise ceremony last week.

In honour of the latest royal wedding, we decided to look back at royal wedding dresses over the last few decades (and we can all agree that the 80s was a seriously troublesome time for fashion).

Princess Beatrice

As mentioned above, Beatrice had her “something borrowed” sorted when she loaned a stunning Norman Hartnell gown from her grandmother, the queen. Though not designed as a wedding gown, a few small changes made the vintage dress look wedding chic. Plus, her stunning diamond tiara didn’t hurt, and is actually the same piece worn by the queen on her big day. 10/10 for sustainable fashion choices!

Princess Eugenie

For her 2018 wedding to longtime love Jack Brooksbank, Beatrice’s younger sister Princess Eugenie wore a beautiful gown designed by Peter Pilotto, which featured an open back to accentuate her scars from childhood scoliosis surgery.

For the evening reception, the bride changed into a blush pink creation by designer Zac Posen.

Meghan Markle

The Duchess of Sussex opted to wear a pure white, boat neck gown designed by Givenchy artistic director Clare Waight Keller for her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. She also added a five metre-long white silk veil with floral details representing the 53 countries of the Commonwealth and the California poppy to represent her home state. She topped it all off with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, loaned to her by the queen.

For her reception, Meghan changed into a halter-neck gown by designer Stella McCartney.

Kate Middleton

The Duchess of Cambridge gave us Grace Kelly vibes with the stunning long-sleeved lace gown she wore for her 2011 wedding to Prince William. Designed by English designer Sarah Burton, creative director of fashion house Alexander McQueen, the Victorian-inspired masterpiece had a two meter long train and featured stunning lacework handcrafted by the Royal School of Needlework.

Kate also borrowed the queen’s Cartier Halo tiara for her big day.

Kate’s second wedding dress was another gorgeous design by Sarah Burton.

Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, wed Prince Andrew, the queen’s third child, in July 1986.

Her wedding dress was designed by Lindka Cierach, and was made of ivory duchess satin, featuring symbolic embroidery and beading representing imagery from the Ferguson family crest. The bride’s five meter long train also featured the couple’s intertwined initials, A and S, in silver beads.

She also wore two headpieces, one being a classic diamond tiara (later gifted to her and called the “York” tiara) and another being the most extra flower crown of all time.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and the couple divorced in 1996.

Princess Diana

Without a doubt one of the most iconic (and puffiest) wedding dresses of all time, Diana’s dress was declared the “most closely guarded secret in fashion history,” ahead of her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981. It was such a big secret, the designers even had to install a safe in their studio to store sketches and fabric swatches.

Designed by husband-and-wife team David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the Alexander McQueen ivory and taffeta gown was full 80s, and featured everything from sequins to frilled lace and an estimated 10,000 pearls.

The young bride lost so much weight before her big day, she actually had to be stitched into the final version of her dress on the day of the wedding, after losing as much as 3 inches around the waist.

The couple divorced in 1996.

Princess Anne

Looking like she stepped straight out of a Star Wars movie (I mean that in a good way), Princess Anne wore a beautiful dress by Maureen Baker for her 1973 wedding to Mark Phillips.

The dress had a high neck, Tudor-style embroidery and medieval sleeves.

The couple divorced in 1992.

Princess Margaret

The queen’s younger sister looked perfectly glamorous in her silk organza Norman Hartnell gown when she married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. The dress was purposely simple, and boasted an amazing 30 metres of fabric in the skirt alone.

We hereby declare Princess Margaret winner in the tiara competition, and the Poltimore tiara was the perfect addition to her look. The head piece was her own, as opposed to being on loan from the queen, and was the tiara she famously wore in the bathtub in a photo taken by her husband, as fans of The Crown would know. Hilariously, she was rumoured to have worn it on her wedding day because she wanted to look taller.

The royal couple were the first in British history to have their big day broadcast on television, and an estimated 300 million viewers tuned in around the world to watch.

They made history a second time when they divorced in 1978, the first royals to do so since King Henry VIII in 1540.

Queen Elizabeth

The queen (then only a princess) also wore a Norman Hartnell gown for her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. Hartnell had visualised a gown with fine pearl embroidery and floral design, and was apparently inspired by Botticelli’s painting of Primavera.

Public interest in the dress was near hysteric, so Hartnell was forced to whitewash and curtain the windows of his studio to ensure secrecy.

Just two years after the end of World War II, then-Princess Elizabeth had to pay for her gown using ration coupons. She was granted 200 extra ration coupons for the celebration, and many members of the public sent her theirs through the mail, though they were all returned as it was illegal to transfer them.

Her tiara (the same one Beatrice wore) actually snapped in two as she was getting ready for the ceremony, and a royal jeweler was brought in to make the repairs.

Read more about the latest royal wedding here.