Royal wedding dresses through the ages - which is your favourite?
PUBLISHED: 13:28 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:47 12 October 2018
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As Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress design is unveiled, Nicola Barrell takes a look at Royal wedding gowns through the ages
As Princess Eugenie walked up the steps of Windsor Chapel, she unveiled to the world a white portrait-neckline gown by Peter Piloto and Christopher de Vos The wedding dress featured a neckline which folded around her shoulders to a low back which draped into a full length train. The low back was specifically requested by Princess Eugenie who had surgery aged 12 to correct scoliosis.
The design also included symbols which were meaningful to Princess Eugenie including a thistle for Scotland acknowledging the couple’s fondness for Balmoral, a Shamrock for Ireland as a nod to the bride’s Ferguson family, and the York Rose and ivy representing the couple’s home.
Over the years, Royal brides have struck a fine balance in the design of their dress; encompassing tradition, whilst still embracing changing fashion,
Bridal boutiques across the country find that any dress designed for a Royal bride will boost an already growing trend,
Norfolk & Suffolk Brides and Marry in Norfolk Magazine editor Amanda Griffiths. “The dress was a very traditional shape for a Royal bride and I think the neckline was a cuffstyle neckline and the fact that she proudly showed off her scars from surgery is quite unexpected.”
“A lot of boutiques I have spoken to note that a Royal bride choses a trend, which has already started to become popular and then even more brides pick up on that trend.” “Meghan Markle’s dress earlier this year was very simple and in very plain fabric but there was already a shift in the industry towards smoother silouettes and then the trend grows because brides ask for that style.” “Kate Middleton’s dress fuelled the desire for lace again - lace was featuring in wedding dress designs before Kate’s dress and then it became even more popular.”
Amanda, who got married three years ago, said her favourite Royal wedding dress was Meghan’s evening dress rather than the day dress.
”When I got married I really didn’t want lace althoguh it is beautiful there was a lot of it around so it was really nice to see a royal wedding dress which was a little bit different.” We took a look at some Royal wedding dresses through the ages
1. Lady Elizabeth Bowes- Lyon to Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI) on April 26th, 1923 at Westminster Abbey. Designer Madame Handley Seymour. This gown reflected the modest fashion of the time. Inspired by the boyish ‘Flapper’ style dresses being designed by Coco Ch anel; made from deep ivory chiffon moire, it featured a drop waist, silver embroidery and seed pearls.
2. Princes Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster on November 20th, 1947. Abbey. Designer Norman Hartnell
With a post war wedding Princess Elizabeth saved her rationing coupons and received a modest gift of 200 coupons from the Government.The design, included ivory silk, duchesse satin, silver threads, crystals and 10,000 seed pearls. The dress featured full length sleeves, a fitted bodice, a heart shaped neckline, a floor length panelled skirt and a dramatic 15 foot (4.5 metre) train.
3. Princess Anne to Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey on November 14th, 1973. Designer: Maureen Baker.Princess Anne’s sartorial style was reflected in her dress which was a Tudor style dress made from silk and featured a high collar and dramatic medieval sleeves,
4. Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles on June 29th 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral. Designers: David and Elizabeth Emanuel Elizabeth Emanuel
Perhaps the most famous Royal wedding of the modern era, designed by husband and wife design team David and Elizabeth Emmanuel. The ivory silk taffeta design included a large crinoline, oversized puff sleeves, a meringue and a 25 foot train. The bodice was trimmed with antique handmade lace which had belonged to Queen Mary and the whole dress was embroidered with thousands of sequins and over 10,000 pearls.
5. Sarah Ferguson to Prince Andrew on July 23rd, 1986, Westminster Abbey. Designer: Lindka Cierac.Sarah Ferguson wore a wedding dress with motifs she had designed especially to honour Prince Andrew. On her 17 foot train there was an elaborate embroidered ‘A’ for Andrew, anchors, waves and hearts, symbolising his naval career and their enduring love for one another. The dress also included bumble bees and thistles which from her family crest, The wedding was broadcast to over 500 million people and the gown went on to be copied by wedding dress designers and high street stores all over the world, even with the personal embroidered details unique to Sarah and Andrew.
6. Kate Middleton to Prince William on April 29th, 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Designer: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.The wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William was estimated to have been watched by between 300 million and 2 billion viewers around the world. The wedding dress reportedly cost £250,000 This meant it was the first time a Royal wedding dress hadn’t been made by a British owned fashion house. The design incorporated lace sourced from France and England some of which was the same design that had been used on Grace Kelly’s Wedding dress in 1956. Side by side the two dresses bear a resemblance with the lace sleeves and lace detail on the décolletage.
7.Meghan Markle to Prince Harry on May 19th 2018 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Designer: Clare Waight Keller. In keeping with tradition the designer was British; Birmingham born Clare Waight Keller studied Fashion at Ravensbourne Collegebefore completing an MA at the Royal College of Art. She took over as director of Haute Couture at Givenchy in 2017. The smooth double bonded silk was almost sculptural, the seams were virtually invisible and the dress betrayed no signs of lace or embroidered details. By contrast the five metre veil was beautifully and sensitively embroidered with 53 flowers representing the Commonwealth nations.