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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Royal Wedding Wednesdays~ Always A Bridesmaid

Have you received your invitation to the wedding yet? I am sure that my postman is just a bit behind in deliveries. Any day now I should be retrieving mine from my mail box. I’ll keep you “posted”.


All of the details are coming together. It has been reported that Prince William has selected Prince Harry as his chief supporter (what the English title the role of best man). It is of course the perfect choice as Royal grooms normally select their brothers or a very close family member to stand beside them. Prince Harry will be in charge of the rings, as well as the bachelor party. I am sure that the groom will be quite entertained.

Catherine has selected her younger sister Philipa “Pippa” Charlotte Middleton. While this surprised some, as the custom in England is generally for the bride to select younger family members, it is said that the sisters are quite close and I think it is wonderful that Pippa will be by her sisters side.

But Catherine has also selected a few younger bridesmaids to be in her wedding party. They include Lady Louise Windsor, age seven, the daughter of The Earl and Countess of Wessex. She is Prince William’s cousin.

Also selected was the darling Margarita Armstrong-Jones, eight, the daughter of  Viscount and Viscountess Linley.  Viscount Linley is the son of the late Princess Margaret and of course H.M. Queen Elizabeth’s nephew.

The sweet Eliza Lopes, now age three, is the granddaughter of  Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, the  Duchess of Cornwall. 

The darling Grace van Cutsem, also three, is a godchild of William's and the granddaughter of the Duke of Westminster. Her father, Edward, served as a page boy at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Prince William has selected two page boys for the wedding. They are William Lowther ~ Pinkerton, age 10. He is the son of William's private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton. Also selected is Tom Pettifer, age 8.  Tom is the son of Prince William’s former nanny and another one of William's godchildren. Although I could not locate a photo for either of the boys, I am sure they will be as darling as Prince William was when he served as a page boy at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York.

Now while the choices of the wedding party seem to overwhelmingly come from Prince William’s side of the family this is not at all unusual for a Royal Wedding. It was a similar story at the wedding of his mother and father.

Prince Charles’ supporters were his two brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. His page boys included Lord Nicholas Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Edward van Cutsem. Both boys were godsons of Prince Charles.

Lady Diana’s bridesmaids included Lady Sarah Armstrong ~ Jones, the daughter of the Earl of Snowdon and Princess Margaret, India Hicks, granddaughter of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma and daughter of David (of interior design fame) and Lady Pamela Hicks,  Catherine Cameron, daughter of Donald and Lady Cecil Cameron, granddaughter of the Marquess of Lothian, Sarah-Jane Gaselee, daughter of Nick Gaselee and his wife, and Clementine Hambro, a former student of Diana’s and daughter of Rupert Hambro and the Hon. Mrs. Hambro (now The Countess Peel). Clementine is also the granddaughter of Lord and Lady Soames and great-granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill.

When Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947 she had a total of eight bridesmaids. They included her sister,  Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten (who later married designer David Hicks), The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone and The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon. Prince Philip’s supporter was the Marquess Milford-Haven (also spelled as Marquis Milfordhaven) and the two page boys were Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent, sons of the Duke of Glouchester.

When the Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes~ Lyon in 1923 he was merely the younger brother of the man who would be King David VIII. Fast forward thirteen years later and the Duke of York became King George VI after his brother abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson. The Duchess of course eventually became the beloved Queen Mum. While their wedding was lovely in all its flapper fashion, it was a ceremony fitting a Prince versus a future King. There were a total of eight bridesmaids: The Lady Mary Cambridge, daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cambridge, she was a great-niece of Queen Mary and the grooms cousin. The Lady May Cambridge, daughter of Princess Alice and the Earl of Athlone, also a niece of Queen Mary. The Lady Mary Thynn, daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Bath, The Lady Katharine Hamilton, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn, The Hon Diamond Hardinge, daughter of Lord and Lady Hardinge; The Hon Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, daughter of Lord and Lady Glamis, and a niece of the bride; The Hon Elizabeth Elphinstone, daughter of Lord and Lady Elphinstone,  niece of the bride; and Miss Betty Cator (who later became the brides sister-in-law when she married the bride’s brother, Hon. Michael Bowes-Lyon).

The Duke of York’s parents, the future King George V and Queen Mary had ten bridesmaids who were all princesses~ as they were sisters and cousins of the groom. They included the future Queen Maud of Norway (standing on the far right) and the Duke of Edinburgh's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg (seated on the far left). Of an interesting note, Queen Mary had at one time been engaged to Prince Albert, George’s older brother, who was expected to be King. When Prince Albert died of pneumonia during his engagement to Princess May (later Queen Mary), Prince George not only inherited his place of succession to the throne, but also his fiancée. 

When the Prince of Wales (Later King Edward VII) married Princess Alexandra of Denmark there were a total of eight bridesmaid on hand to carry the long silver moire train. The attendants were all daughters of Peers of the Realm, and included Ladies Diana Beauclerk, Victoria Scott, Georgina Hamilton, Victoria Howard, Elma Bruce, Agneta Yorke, Eleanor Hare and Feodore Wellesley.

When Queen Victoria married her beloved Prince Albert, she had a total of twelve bridesmaids. They included Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, The Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Mary, and the Princess Augusta of Cambridge, and the Duchess Gloucester among others.

Here is a description of what each of the attendants wore, please note they were not, “matchy, matchy”.

The dress worn by her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Kent, was of white satin splendidly brocaded with silver and trimmed with three flounces of blonde. It was trimmed with net and silver. The train was of sky-blue velvet lined with white satin and trimmed with ermine. The body and sleeves were tastefully ornamented with ermine and silver with blonde ruffles. The head dress was of diamonds and feathers with a necklace and earrings en suite. The articles in the dress were wholly of British manufacture.

H.R.H. Princess Augusta wore a corsage and train of rich blue velvet trimmed with Brussels point lace and tastefully ornamented with aigrettes of diamonds. There was a rich white satin petticoat with volants and heading of Brussels point lace. The head dress was of Brussels point lace with superb lappets to correspond and a magnificent spray of diamonds.

The Duchess of Sutherland wore a dress of white satin trimmed with barbs of Spanish point lace and white roses. Included was a stomacher of brilliants, point ruffles and berthé; plus a train of white moiré magnificently embroidered in coral and gold. The head dress was of feathers and point lappets with splendid diamonds.

The Countess of Carlisle had a dress of sapphire blue velvet with a Brussels point tucker and ruffles. Her head dress was a toque of velvet and Brussels point lappets.

I have to say that the Royals know how to dress their attendants. All of the gowns above are truly works of couture art. But let’s see what is in your closet. While you may not have “27 Dresses” you may have a dress that fits the title of “Perfect Princess or Perfectly Putrid”.

Maybe you have a Queen’s ransom of jewelry. Pile it on and take a picture for “Best British Baubles”.

Perhaps you have headwear that qualifies for a “Hat’s Off” entry.

I for one am going to dump all of the above on for your hilarious viewing pleasure.


The first esteemed expert of fashion who will be judging potential winners was announced this past Monday. Joining Jenny is my daughter, the ever lovely Fashionista, who holds a degree in Fashion Design and writes for the Urban Outfitters Blog. With her wonderful sense of style I think she too is a perfect pick.

So let’s have some fashion fun ladies!



Blondie's Journal said... have done your homework, Laura. Very interesting. You can always count on children for a few good chuckles, like the pictures of Harry and William you shared! lol! I think it is great that Kate has chosen Pippa to be the bridesmaid...shows who is in charge!


Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

A facinating and fun royal history lesson!
What a great visit.

Mom in High Heels said...

WHAT AN AWESOME POST! Oh, I'm sorry, was I yelling? How unpolite of me. I got a wee bit excited. I can't WAIT to see what Kate's bridesmaids will be wearing. I wish I still had some of my old bridesmaids dresses, but they went to Goodwill years ago. Not that they would fit my pregnant self anyway. :)
I think QEII's wedding is an example of the perfect royal wedding. Everyone looks so...well royal. Diana's wedding, while iconic, is a bit too frou-frou for my tastes.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

That was fun! Is there some sort of "History of English Royal Weddings" book out there with all this information you keep giving us? If not, I think you should write one for sure. I get completely engrossed in it all.
I had to chuckle at Victoria's bridesmaids all wearing different colors, I remember recently when that started becoming the trend and we all thought it was "new" - ha.

ImagiMeri said...

Hi Laura,

I wish I had all kinds of goodies to play dress-up with....but I don't. I have one faux fur hat I bought in York, but I don't think it qualifies. Very excited to see you again at your tea, and I think we're gonna' have a grand time at my luncheon.....I've got so many goodies to share!

Love ya'

Auntie Em said...

One interesting thing I noted while looking at all the wedding photos was the changing styles from tight fitted and corsetted to loose and unstructured and back to fitting again. It's so interesting to see how the women's fashions were a constant change while the men might have all pretty much worn the same uniform the whole way through! (Maybe times were tight and they had to make do with hand-me-downs for the occasion???!? :D

Thanks for sharing!:)

Bloggymom said...

Love your post. The upcoming party should be fun. I need to decide which category I am going to participating in.

Amy said...

I love all these neat old photos and pictures! It's so interesting how different the English customs with weddings are like with the MUCH younger bridesmaids and that the bridesmaids wear white, too! Can't wait to see Kate & William's wedding photos!

Deanna said...

A very hardy Wednesday to you.
Like the hats for adorning their heads.
Such care went into the hair.

Enjoying your post!

Ruth...Time Was Antiques said...

Wonderful again....I have just posted photos from the wedding of Queen Victoria's son Edward from the Illustrated Times of March 21, 1863. Huzzah for a great royal post!

Mimi said...

I again loved this post, but since I am sick with the REAL FLU, I have not been to active here!!
I am suppose to be in Calif the week of your wedding attire day, so I may miss it, unless I feel up too getting all dressed up for the day!!
Have a Great week Laura
I LOVE all this Royal Wedding Wednesdays, I MUST one day POST all my ROYAL clippings I inherited from my Grandmother, they go WAY back to the 50's!!!
Some of these newspaper clippings are quite fragile!!!
I cherish them more then she will ever know!!
Hugs 2 U,

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Thank you for yet another very in depth look at the Royal Weddings. I think the young children are just adorable!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Oh I love to see all the wedding pictures. Maybe you posted this but I thought of this am when I saw there is now an offical wedding website.


Shirley said...

Lovely Laura, I must admit, I truly love Queen Victoria..she is my favorite of all the Queens. I sure hope one day when Kate takes her place as Queen Chatherine she takes top Queen of all times..
p.s. your daughter is beautiful.

The Pennington Point said...

Oh I love the pictures! You must spend so much time finding all of this. I am so glad you are doing the research for me! :) Loved your Oscar party too. I really need to live closer so I can get invited to one of your fabulous parties! Lisa~

Privet and Holly said...

The history here
is just amazing,
Laura! Such a
sense of continuity
over the years!
Love it. And I know
you'll rock that
royal wedding look!
xx Suzanne

magalimadeleine said...

I loved how you went through the history of Royal weddings... I remember visiting an exhibit on Royal Weddings a few years ago, I guess in Windsor, not sure though... I was so excited I danced from items to items: invitations, boxes for wedding cake slices...
Last weekend I found in a antique shop a "Daily Telegraph" dating from 1937 about the Queen's parents coronation... I have no idea how it was here, but I couldn't leave it there, so I bought it. It's fascinating to see the Queen as a child at the ceremony. Would you like pictures of it for your blog?
Magali@The Little White House

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I always enjoy these Wednesday posts!

I apologize for missing the tea party last week. I went into the hospital (emergency) see tonight's post.


Liz said...

ANOTHER VERY informative post! I have to say that Kate and William's will probably be one of the more attractive wedding parties .... don't you think?


Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

This is just so interesting!!!! thanks for this post. Love the dresses from the 1800s and prior. wow!