Fashion News

The secret life of royal wedding dresses

We all love a beautiful wedding dress. So let's take a trip down memory lane and have a gander at the best royal wedding dresses of all time.

By: The Weekly

Before Queen Victoria's wedding, royal brides traditionally wore gold or silver to display their wealth. To prove her marriage was a union of love, she opted for white and in doing so started a trend that would become a significant, symbolic element of modern weddings.

The pattern used to create the lace used in Queen Victoria's wedding gown was destroyed after the dress was completed so the design could never be copied.

As a post-war bride marrying when rationing was still in place, Queen Elizabeth II needed clothing coupons to purchase her wedding gown. Due to her rank, she was granted 200 additional coupons by the government.

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Queen Elizabeth II, as Princess Elizabeth, and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, styled Prince Philip in 1957, on their wedding day. She became queen on her father King George VI's death in 1952. Image: Getty

It took 350 women seven weeks to make the gown the Queen wore to wed Prince Philip in 1947.

The gown was embellished with 10,000 seed pearls, which were hand sewn onto the silk.

Royal courtier Norman Hartnell was commissioned to design her dress. Included in the pattern is a secret, lucky clover on the left side of the skirt.

When Princess Margaret married 13 years after her sister, she chose a simple dress and made her tiara and beehive hairdo the focal point of her bridal ensemble. The sparkling Politmore tiara is so large it can be converted into a necklace and eleven brooches.

Princess Margaret's wedding dress was made of silk organza and designed by Norman Hartnell. Image: Getty

For film star Grace Kelly's marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, she wore a dress given to her by film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The iconic gown was created by Academy Award-winning costume designer Helen Rose who had designed outfits for Grace Kelly in four of her films.

For her wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Grace Kelly wore an iconic gown created by Helen Rose. Image: Getty

And the bride wore… paper? Instead of a tiara, Grace Kelly held her veil in place with a Juliet cap adorned with pearls, lace and paper orange blossoms.

The dress Lady Diana Spencer, wore when she married Prince Charles, was such a monumental secret, designers Elizabeth and David Emanuel brought in a safe to protect the dress at night. It was guarded by two guards.

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, who wore an ivory silk taffeta and antique lace bridal gown with a 7.62m train. Image: Getty

A second dress was made for Diana in case the design of the first dress was leaked. It was never needed, and has mysteriously disappeared.

Embroidered flowers and pearls are common embellishments for royal bride gowns. When The Duchess of York married Prince Andrew, her dress and train were adorned with waves, thistles bumblebees, an anchor and a giant, beaded 'A' for Andrew.

Sarah Ferguson wore an ivory-silk wedding grown designed by Lindka Cierach with a tiara she chose from jeweller, Gerrards, that was purchased by the Queen. Image: Getty

The most precious thing Mary Donaldson wore on her wedding day was the wedding ring that had belonged to her own mother, who died in 1997. The symbol of Mary's parents' union was reportedly stitched discretely onto the inside dress, close to the Crown Princess bride's heart.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark's ivory satin gown was created by Danish designer, Uffe Frank. Image: Getty

The Royal School of Needlework seamstresses who made the lace for Kate Middleton's dress washed their hands every half hour to ensure the thread remained a pure, pristine white.

The motif used in the lace of the Alexander McQueen dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore was made up of fine roses, thistles, daffodils and shamrocks.

On her 2011 wedding, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.