Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in November 2017 and are set to marry on May 19, 2018. As Britain prepares for another royal wedding and speculation swirls about the dress Markle might wear, we’re taking a look back at some of the most spectacular bridal gowns ever worn by royalty.
Take a look at these gorgeous gowns and click through the list to see where some royals like Harry’s sister-in-law, mother, and grandmother rank on our countdown of the most iconic royal wedding dresses.
15. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
The royal wedding of Prince Charles’ brother, Prince Andrew, and Sarah Ferguson took place on July 23, 1986. The two were married at Westminster Abbey as thousands lined the streets outside to catch a glimpse of Fergie’s dress.
The ivory satin gown was designed by Lindka Cierach. It had a scoop neckline, boned bodice, and boasted a unique feature of a large beaded “A” for “Andrew” at the bottom of a 17-foot train.
Next: Prince Harry’s great aunt had the first televised wedding to show off her dress.
14. Princess Margaret
Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister’s love story centered on the man she did not marry, Captain Peter Townsend. A few years after Princess Margaret reluctantly broke things off with him though, she married Antony Armstrong-Jones in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 1960.
Margaret’s brother-in-law, Prince Philip, walked her down the aisle as she looked stunning in a gown designed by Norman Hartnell, who also designed Elizabeth’s wedding dress. Beading and crystal embellishments on Margaret’s gown were kept to a minimum and was paired with a cathedral-length veil.
The dress has been called one of Hartnell’s most sophisticated pieces as well as the simplest gown in royal history. To the estimated 300 million viewers who watched the first-ever televised royal wedding, the dress was seen as a masterpiece.
Next: This princess married an American man in this Valentino number.
13. Princess Madeleine of Sweden
In 2013, Princess Madeleine of Sweden wed Christopher O’Neill wearing a gorgeous gown created by Italian designer Valentino Garavani.
The ivory dress was an off-the-shoulder number, with a lace hemline. It also featured a rose print throughout and was paired with an equally beautiful veil made from silk organza.
Next: She said “I do” in a dress by this royal family’s favorite designer.
12. Princess Claire of Luxembourg
Princess Claire of Luxembourg was a vision in a lovely gown by Elle Saab the day she tied the knot with Prince Felix in 2013.
The bride was accompanied down the aisle by her father, German telecoms millionaire Hartmut Lademacher, and wowed everyone with her long-sleeved, ivory gown, which featured Chantilly lace floral embroidery. She also donned a nine-foot veil with a floral design.
Next: This princess married her personal trainer in Pär Engsheden.
11. Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden
In what was described as the “biggest royal wedding since Charles and Diana,” Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, married Daniel Westling at the Stockholm Cathedral in 2010. The bride said “I do” to her personal trainer in a show-stopping gown by Swedish designer Pär Engsheden.
The dress was made with duchess satin and featured an off-the-shoulder boat neckline complete with a train measuring more than 16 feet.
Next: This bride also wore a dress designed by Valentino.
10. Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece
Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece looked like a true goddess on her wedding day in 1995 when she was decked out in one of the most spectacular dresses ever worn.
The ivory silk, pearl-encrusted Valentino gown was crafted by 25 seamstresses who used 12 different types of lace for the creation. The total cost for this work of art was $225,000.
Next: This dress reminded us of the one Prince Harry’s sister-in-law wore.
9. Princess Sofia of Sweden
In 2015, Sofia Hellqvist wed Prince Carl Philip of Sweden in an extraordinary dress that reminded everyone of the one the Duchess of Cambridge wore four years earlier.
The gown Princess Sofia donned on her wedding day was a silk crepe and organza gown by Swedish designer Ida Sjöstedt. The stunning creation featured a trio of white tones as well as hand-cut, hand-stitched lace.
Next: A former news anchor married a prince in this unique gown.
8. Queen Letizia of Spain
Letizia Ortiz had a fabulous dress designed by Manuel Pertegaz for her wedding to Prince Felipe de Borbon in 2014. The gown was unique in that it featured a high collar. It also had a 14-foot train and was paired with a silk veil.
Following the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I, Prince Felipe became King Felipe VI of Spain, and his bride became Queen Letizia.
Next: This Olympian wore an exquisite dress when she married this well-known prince.
7. Charlene, Princess of Monaco
In 2011, Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock became an instant fashion icon when she wed Prince Albert II of Monaco in an exquisite gown by Armani Privé.
The dress was carefully constructed from duchess silk with 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother-of-pearl teardrops, and 30,000 gold stones.
Next: The gown wore by this woman was breathtaking.
6. Queen Rania of Jordan
Talk about stunning. When Rania Yassin tied the knot with Prince Abdullah of Jordan in 1993, she wore an amazing dress like one we’ve never seen at a royal wedding before.
The short-sleeve number by Bruce Oldfield was embellished with rich gold embroidery. Her veil and shoes also had gold trim to match the dress.
Next: This dress was so iconic it’s now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
5. Wallis Simpson
Wallis Simpson was an American divorcee like Markle, and her marriage to Edward VIII changed the succession of the British throne forever. In fact, their union is the reason Queen Elizabeth II is in her position today. The two wed after Edward abdicated his throne, and Simpson wore one of the most iconic dresses ever.
For the occasion, the socialite donned a long, simple dress designed by Mainbocher. The piece became so famous that not only is it housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it was also the inspiration for the gown Stella McCartney designed for her father’s bride on their wedding day.
Next: Everyone remembers how stunning the duchess looked on her wedding day.
4. Kate Middleton
There aren’t too many brides who can look more stunning than Kate Middleton did when she wore that beautiful dress to marry Prince William in 2011. The Duchess of Cambridge’s gown was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and it’s long, lace sleeves were made to pay homage to other royal brides.
The dress reportedly cost more than $400,000 to create, and in the years since the royal wedding, it has become so iconic that many have attempted to duplicate the look for other women on their big day.
Next: This regal gown was fit for the most famous queen.
3. Queen Elizabeth II
In 1947, then-Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in an elegant dress she used ration coupons for; proving that even the royals were not exempt from the rationing of clothing in the aftermath of World War II.
The future Queen of England’s dress was by Norman Hartnell and featured 10,000 seed pearls. It took the help of 350 women to make the gown.
Next: An American actress, like Markle, married a prince in this timeless design.
2. Grace Kelly
One of the most iconic royal wedding dresses ever was the high-necked gown worn by American-actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly. The movie star wore a dress by Edith Head when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956.
The design was a combination of taffeta and lace and is a piece that has inspired the dresses of many other royals, and commoners, over the years.
Next: This is the dress we think of when we think of royal wedding gowns.
1. Princess Diana
Taking the No. 1 spot on our countdown is the dress Princess Diana wore the day she married Prince Charles. Either you joined the millions who watched the “wedding of the century” in 1981 or you weren’t old enough but have seen pictures of the extravagant dress Lady Diana donned that day.
Her dramatic ivory silk gown, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, featured puffed sleeves, a full skirt, and who could forget that 20-foot train. The dress became a staple in bridal fashion in the years following the royal event.
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