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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Royal Wedding Wednesdays ~ A History of Wedding Dresses ~ Part II

I received several emails in reference to last week’s post “A History of Wedding Dresses ~Part I” . Thoughts ranged from “How could I not include Sarah Ferguson?”  Or “Why was the loveliest Royal bride of all ~ Princess Grace ~ not included?”  As to the first question, I only covered the brides (with the exception of Diana) who were or later became the Queen of England. As to Princess Grace ~ several of you have expressed sadness that R.W.W. will end in April. Really? Darn. I had planned on writing several posts covering Monaco and the upcoming nuptials of Prince Albert on July 22, 2011 ~ as well as the wedding of Queen Elizabeth’s eldest granddaughter, Zara Phillips, on July 30, 2011.

Zara Phillips spends a moment Tuesday with grandmother Queen Elizabeth II in the Parade Ring.

Zara’s mother, Princess Royal Anne married Capt. Mark Phillips on November 14, 1973. I have to say I absolutely loved the dreamy ethereal quality of their official engagement portrait and her embossed organza dress.

Princess Anne’s wedding dress was a medieval Tudor style designed by  Maureen Baker. The dress was made of white silk and featured a high collar and large trumpet sleeves.

Princess Anne of Great Britain wears a modest high-neck wedding dress

The neckline and shoulders were embroidered with pearls and silver thread. The long silk gauze train featured a design of flowers also enhanced with silver thread. Her veil was held in place by the Fringe tiara~ which was the tiara her mother, Queen Elizabeth, wore at her own wedding. 

Her page boy was her younger brother, Prince Edward. Her bridesmaid was Lady Sarah Armstrong ~ Jones, the daughter of Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s sister.

Princess Anne's son, Peter Phillips, married Autumn Kelly on May 17, 2008 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The bride wore a ivory duchesse satin wedding gown designed by Sassi Holford. The strapless dress was topped with a lace bolero jacket. 

Her dress had a train that was a bit over two meters (6 feet) long and topped by a bow and a row of covered buttons. The tulle veil was held in place by a tiara on loan from her mother in law, Princess Anne.

Princess Margaret wed Lord Snowdon on May 6, 1963. It was the first Royal wedding to ever be televised. She wore a dress made of white silk organza. It was designed by Norman Hartnell who had also created her sister, Queen Elizabeth’s, bridal gown. It featured an elegantly high neckline and a fitted bodice.

The dress was free of any beading or embroidery and the full skirt incorporated a short train.

Her veil was made by Claude St Cyr of Paris.  It featured satin trim to match the dress and was held in place by the Poltimore Tiara.

Princess Margaret’s son, David Armstrong~Jones, Viscount Linley married Serena Stanhope on October 8, 1993 at St. Margaret’s church. The bride’s dress was designed by Bruce Robbins and reminiscent of her mother in law’s dress. It  featured a fitted satin “V” necked coat that buttoned down the front and split at the waist. The tulle skirt was topped with a large bow on the back of the jacket.  The train was about two meters (6 feet) long.

Serena borrowed the Papyrus Tiara from her mother in law. The tiara was originally purchased at Garrad’s by Queen Mary who then gave it to the Queen Mum, Elizabeth, who passed it on to Princess Margaret.

Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah, is actually one of my favorite Royal brides. Many remember her as Lady Diana’s eldest bridesmaid. For her wedding to Daniel Chatto, Lady Sarah chose a gown by Jasper Conran. It had long sleeves, a low square neckline and a crushed bodice.

The tulle veil was held in place by a diamond floral tiara. The tiara can also be broken into smaller broaches. It was a wedding gift to Lady Sarah’s mother, Princess Margaret, from her groom (and Lady Sarah’s father) Lord Snowdon.


When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew, Duke of York on July 23, 1986 she chose Lindka Cierach to create her wedding gown. The dress was made of ivory duchesse satin and featured a scoop neck, a fitted bodice, full skirt and padded shoulders accented with bows. The 17 foot long train fell from the skirt from a large bow and was lavishly detailed with intricate embroidery. The design had very personal meaning as it included Sarah's personal coat of arms, an “A” for Andrew, as well as an anchor to represent the groom’s naval career.

In one of my most favorite Royal Wedding details, upon entering the church, the bride's silk tulle veil was attached to a perfumed coronet of roses, gardenias and lilies of the valley.


At the end of the ceremony the floral wreath was removed to reveal a diamond tiara symbolizing her transformation from commoner to royal bride.

Sophie Rhys-Jones wore a sleek ivory silk and organza dress topped with a matching coat to her wedding to Prince Andrew on June 19, 1999.  The dress, designed by Samantha Shaw, featured 325,000 cut glass and pearl beads.

The bride’s hand dyed, silk tulle veil was one inch longer than her train.  It was hand finished with crystals. It was held in place by a diamond tiara on loan from the Queen.

Her jewelry include a black and white pearl necklace, interspersed with white gold rondelle’s and matching earrings. The set was designed by Prince Edward as a gift to his bride and made by Asprey and Garrard.

I imagine that if one is to write a history of Royal wedding dresses, the “Wallis blue” confection that Mrs. Simpson wore on June 3, 1937 to marry King David, a man who abdicated the throne of England for her, must be included. She of course became the Duchess of Windsor but was forever denied HRH (Her Royal Highness) status.

The full length gown and long sleeved jacket was constructed of silk crepe. It featured a tightly cinched waist enhanced with covered buttons.  A jeweled brooch was worn at her neck and a hat adorned with pink and blue feathers was the only crown she ever wore.

The Duke of Windsor had three younger brothers ~ Albert, Queen Elizabeth’s father, who became King George VI,  Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, Prince George, Duke of Kent and  Prince John  who passed away at the age of 13. On November 29, 1934 at Westminster Abbey Prince George married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark . She wore a cowl necked gown made of silver and white lamé with a raised "Rose of England" pattern. Her necklace was a gift from the groom and featured 36 large diamonds.

One of her bridesmaids (lower left) was then Princess Elizabeth. It was said that Princess Marina was the true beauty of the Royal family.

I have my own favorite true beauty and thus saved her for last. Lady Alice Christabel Montagu Douglas Scott married Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester on November 6, 1935  in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace. A much more elaborate affair had been planned, but was scaled back due to the recent passing of the bride’s father and ill health of the groom’s father, King George V. Her dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, who also created Queen Elizabeth’s and Princess Margaret’s wedding gowns.

The dress was made of silk crepe in a blush color. Her stunning bouquet was created by Constance Spry who also did the arrangements for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s wedding.  Her cathedral length veil (exact measurements unknown) was held in place by an elegant tiara.

Princess Alice remained dedicated to public service her entire life. During WW II she worked with the Red Cross and became head of the Women’s Auxiliary Force in 1940. She passed away at the age of 102 becoming the longest living person in the history of the British Royal Family. Beautiful.

What shall we talk about next~ bouquets, cakes, or wedding receptions?


Please join me here on Friday for an auction featuring vintage and antique linens.


LindaSonia said...

I have soooo enjoyed your History of Weddings blog posts. Thanks so much for sharing... love everything wedding!! :)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Laura, Reading you post while enjoying my morning coffee was so much fun. Great information, and so interesting.
I wish you lived closer! We could watch the royal wedding together! Wouldn't that be fun?

The research and work that went into this piece must have been immense! Thank you so much!

Debbie said...

I vote bouquets! Then, next, you can go to cakes.

I love both.

This has been just as wonderful as the first one. My favorite tiara/crown/veil look of all is the Princess Margaret one that her daughter-in-law wore too. It's just perfectly Cinderella-ish to me.

I can't pick a most beautiful bride, though. I keep changing my mind.

Perhaps when my daughter marries Prince Harry, the choice will be obvious.

ImagiMeri said...

Good Morning Laura,

Beautiful, Beautiful dresses. Thank you for sharing such beautiful dress history with us. Since I used to decorate wedding cakes for about 13 years.....I'd love to hear about cakes next! Best of luck with your tea this coming weekend, I shall so miss it.

Big hugs,

kim23 said...

Lady Sarah is also my favorite royal bride. I love her wedding dress because it's simple, beautiful and elegant. That diamond floral tiara is really amazing! Princess Margaret’s daughter looks like a princess from a fairytale!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Laura, that was so much fun to see all of this beautiful wedding attire! Thank you for the research and for an incredible post. I received my package filled with lovely gifts. I shared my queenly status on my most recent blog post! Thank you for crowning me queen, and for the fun box of gifts. laurie

Deanna said...

Blessings Laura!
You have a variety of things you could blog about concerning Royalty...their wedding cakes....where the Royal Couple Honeymooned...this could run for awhile!

Have a sweet day,
d from homehaven

very merry vintage style said...

What a fun post to read! Love all the history and details--

The Fajdich Times said...

Great history! Thanks for doing this:)

Jen said...

Oh so lovely! I remember watching the weddings of Sarah & Andrew and Sohpie to Edward on television and thinking how absolutely breathtaking their dresses were. These are the dresses every little girl looks at and dreams of for their own wedding day. You shared some fabulous looks. The vintage one are definitely my favorite!

I think you ought to tackle the cake subject next ... I am rather partial to cakes.

Mom in High Heels said...

Yay! More dresses!!!! I could look at dresses all day (probably because my undergrad degree encompasses theatrical costume design). I really love Serena Stanhope's dress (at least the top part-it's a bit much on the tulle).
Lady Alice was lovely! I wish we could see more of the front of the dress though. The bouquet it pretty, but awfully HUGE.
Do you think Wallis Simpson ever ate? She was one skinny lady!
Did you see they revealed what Kate would arrive and leave the church in yesterday???? Squee!
Can't wait for next week! I vote for cakes!!!! Maybe because my birthday is coming up and I have cake on the brain. ;)

Kristina said...

Perhaps if school history lessons included more of this kind of thing, more students (at least the girls) would pay more attention. :0) Beautiful, again. And since I love flowers so much, I vote for bouquets.

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said... you know what I would like....a geneology chart. i am so confused as to who is who. I love about all the dresses and can hardly wait to see what Cate's is like!

Jane said...

Oh, such beautiful gowns and brides - sigh! I do hope you'll continue this series :) Any of the topics you mentioned - cakes, bouquets, receptions - just keep going, please!


Stitchfork said...

There's something reassuring in the traditions carried through by the generations. Cake next?
xo Cathy

Vicki said...

I vote for bouquets next...
Thank you for all of the time and effort you're putting into RWW. They are awesome!

The Pennington Point said...

Ahhh, just looking at these dresses takes me back to the days when I dreamed of being a princess. So lovely, so royal. I can't help now but wonder what the actual marriages are like (quite a few ended in divorce). Isn't it sad, that the wedding is so huge, but the marriage doesn't work?

I am so enjoying your royal wedding posts. I don't care what you cover's all interesting. Lisa~

Antiques And Teacups said...

Absolutely beautiful! Let's hope the wedding dress Kate chooses will be as lovely. Have done a post on the Charles & Diana wedding cake with recipe.
Thanks so much for hosting!

Sweet Ruthie said...

Absolutely beautiful!!! I recently started reading your blog and I love this series!

I think you have the dates wrong though, for Prince Albert's wedding and Zara Phillips' wedding. It's only the year really.

Marydon said...

Another fabulous LAURA share! You have such a flair for the beauty & story, Laura. Love reading them all ...

Thank you for that darling creamer ... when I saw that & the MH I was tempted ... tho now I know WHY the temptation passed. It is lovely & sits on the kitchen table where it will hold many a floral bouquet ... & I will think of you daily.

Hugs ~
Have a great day ~

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I loveeeeeeeeeeeee learning the history of the dresses and would love to hear about the bouquets! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Shelia said...

Hi Laura! Oh, this was wonderful. I've so enjoyed reading about all the Royals. You've done lots of research to share the is us. Thank you!
Hope you're doing well.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Craftymoose Crafts said...

You certainly did save the best till last--she is just gorgeous! I will "soak" up whatever subject you decide on next!

Kristina said...

I just had my 9th and 10th grade girls gather around my desk (I'm a teacher) and showed them your blog, and in particular the RWW posts. They were enchanted, and are looking forward to next Wednesday's post.

The Boston Lady said...

Cakes! Please! I must say I wish Princess Anne had worn her engagement dress as her wedding dress, I like it so much. I am impressed with "naughty" Princess Margaret's gown and veil. I think she looks so lovely. Thank you again Laura for all the work and time this series has taken. It's been so interesting and fun. Ann

TRay said...

Hey! I loved, loved, LOVED this post!! There were some very beautiful royal brides that I had never before seen! Awesome!

Also, I have to add that Sarah Ferguson's train was also embroidered with one of my favorite symbols--the bee. There was a lot going on on that train!


Your Royal PEAculiar

Janis said...

Every week I am learning so much more about the royals! Yes, cakes & bouquets, please! Thanks for all the time you have put in to this post....

Nancy said...

Flowers, flowers, flowers! It is finally spring!

Karena said...


So, so wonderful to see all of the fabulous details the gowns, veils, tiaras and jewel!!

Art by Karena

French said...

Oops I did it again! Look forward to more posts on bouquets and cakes! Thanks for all the work that has gone into these posts!

xinex said...

What a treat to see all those gorgeous wedding gowns without having to leave a page. Thanks for the treat, Laura. I truly enjoyed admiring them all...Christine

Jeannine said...

I too have been enjoying the wedding dresses and other fascinating information. Never knew about the bridesmaids all being so young. Keep posting great information. Ckaes would be fun

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh, that was soooo fun! It seems as if they were al timeless and elegant except Diana's. I really was not crazy about her dress, even when I turned on the TV in the wee hours of the morning to watch the wedding. Oh, I am crazy with excitement for the up coming wedding, I am just not so sure if I want to get up at 4am???


languageofcolorandtexture said...

Seeing all these is so amazing! Bouquets and cakes next for sure!Also, I get mixed up on the flow chart of who is who and who is who's daughter etc. Is there a current genealogy flow chart? That might be of interest? Keep up the good work.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I can just look at those tiara's and dresses forever!still love Fergies dress

Privet and Holly said...

Scrumptious post,
from beginning
to end....!!!
Wonder if you are
in France, yet??
Where ever you are,
happy day to you!!
xx Suzanne

Nutbird said...

What a lovely post! What is the thing with the blue bow in the last picture of Princess Alice? A dog? Do you think her tiara was made of lace, not jewels? I'd love to see a close up. You would think with all the interest in royal weddings that Americans would realize that tuxedos are only worn at night, not during the daytime. Ann

Nezzy said...

I have to say I was lost in all the gowns and the beauties who wore them.

Thanks for 'takin' me away for a little bit.

God bless and have a marvelous day sweetie!!!

Terri said...

I am having such a good time coming to your blog to read about your research. It is wonderfully fascinating!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Laura, When we visted London a number of years ago there was a special exhibit on the history of royal weddings. It was really interesting to see the dresses and the diamond tiaras were beautiful.

Sewing Siren said...

The ethereal dress that Princess Anne is wearing in her engagement
photograph was designed by Zandra Rhodes.