The Best Royal Wedding Dress
There has been many phenomenal royal wedding dresses, but which is the best? Vote in our poll below to choose your favourite.
OCTOBER 22nd, 2020 (UPDATE: NOVEMBER 4th, 2020)
n 2011, The Duchess of Cambridge caused a global fashion meltdown with her stunning Alexander McQueen Wedding Dress designed by Sarah Burton. Though alongside Catherine’s iconic gown, there have been many other royal wedding dresses. From the Queen’s reworked Norman Hartnell dress worn by Princess Eugenie, to Princess Diana’s 80s inspired historic gown, which one is the best?
We’ve compiled all the results – where 2090 of you voted – to find out what Royal wedding dress you believe is the best. Take a look at our list and see what position your favourite dress came in at.
11. Countess of Wessex's Samantha Keswick Wedding Dress – 3 votes (0.33%)
The Countess of Wessex subtle, classic and elegant wedding dress perfectly matched Sophie’s style. Being the final royal bridal dress of the 20th century, the coat dress was a beautiful addition to a long history of royal gowns.
Made more ivory silk organza with hand dyed crepe and tulle, the bodice featured a deep V neck with full-length sleeves. Following a “middle ages” style, the bodice flared outwards into a long train.
325,000 pearls and crystal beads featured on the coat dress, train and veil and although Sophie’s dress is not the most publicly discussed, its discreet and unassuming elegance still resonates today.
10. Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother's Madame Handley-Seymour Wedding Dress – 7 votes (0.40%)
What is regarded as the first “showstopping” royal wedding dress, the Queen Mother’s gown was reportedly based on a dress created by Jeanne Lanvin and designed by Madame Handley-Seymour – the dressmaker to Queen Mary.
Elizabeth bucked tradition by choosing not to wear a tiara and instead chose a chaplet of leaves secured in the veil. Unlike more modern royal dresses, the details of the design were revealed in advance to the public.
In 2011 a prototype for the historic dress sold at auction for £3,500.
9. Sarah, Duchess of York's Lindka Cierach Wedding Dress – 10 votes (0.60%)
After the wedding of Charles and Diana, the nuptials of the Duke and Duchess of York were a similarly lavish affair. The Duchess’ wedding dress continued the theme of the 80s though was less dramatic than her sister-in-law’s.
Throughout the design of the dress there were numerous examples of beadwork incorporated into the dress. Designed by Lindka Cierach, hearts represented romance, anchors and waves represented Prince Andrew’s sailing background and thistles and bumblebees were taken from Sarah’s family heraldry.
Sarah was pleased with the dress and wrote in her memoir: “It was amazingly boned, like a corset.”
8. Princess Margaret's Norman Hartnell Wedding Dress – 44 votes (1.20%)
Princess Margaret’s continues to inspire modern royal wedding dresses even today, confirming her position as the original royal style icon. Designed by Norman Hartnell, the dress was perfectly suited to the Queen’s sister.
The Princess asked for an “unfussy” dress that wouldn’t overwhelm her petite frame. With a small train, the dress was labelled “the simplest royal wedding gown in history”.
Made with plain silk organza, the dress was admired for its refreshingly modern design and was an instant hit amongst the fashion elite.
7. The Duchess of Sussex's Clare Waight Keller (Givenchy) Wedding Dress – 57 votes (1.40%)
There was much speculation around who would design the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress. Rumours swirled that Australian designers Ralph & Russo had bagged the job, yet as Meghan arrived at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, it became clear that Clare Waight Keller – artistic director at Givenchy – had won the role.
The stylish dress was designed to achieve “timeless minimal elegance” and “convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts”. The veil was the showstopper and measured 16-feet. A variety of flowers representing all 53 countries of the Commonwealth where embroidered into the veil, as well as wintersweet flowers and the California Poppy.
Whilst some of the fashion industries biggest praised the dress, some of the public weren’t as keen. Calling it “ill-fitting”, “dull” and “too big” were just some of the comments reacting to the dress’ unveiling. Others were much more positive claiming the dress was perfect for the Duchess’ understated style.
The dress subsequently went on display alongside Prince Harry’s uniform at Windsor Castle.
6. Her Majesty The Queen's Norman Hartnell Wedding Dress – 58 votes (1.45%)
The Queen has consistently been recognised for her impeccable fashion, and her Norman Hartnell wedding dress was no different. Inspired by Botticelli’s painting of Primavera, the gown has become one of the Royal Collection’s most treasured items.
As Elizabeth was the next monarch, interest in the dress was unprecedented with Hartnell being forced to whitewash and curtain the windows of the workroom at his Bruton Street premises to ensure secrecy.
The dress was made from ivory silk and decorated with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls. Incredibly, the dress was purchased using clothing coupons due to the Britain still subject to rationing.
5. Princess Anne's Maureen Baker Wedding Dress – 60 votes (2.00%)
Many fans are always surprised that Princess Anne is regarded as a royal trendsetter, yet one look at her wonderful wedding dress, and you can see why. The “Tudor-style” gown with a high collar and “medieval sleeves” was designed by Maureen Baker.
Purposefully simplistic in its design, the dress became a sensation in the 1970s with many wedding dress designers copying Anne’s regal style. The Princess was claimed to have designed many aspects of the gown herself, refusing to bow to a more dramatic and fashion-forward design.
4. Princess Diana's David and Elizabeth Emanuel Wedding Dress – 63 votes (2.10%)
It is perhaps one of the most famous royal wedding dresses in history – Princess Diana’s Emmanuel dress. With its 25-foot train and 153-yard tulle vail, the dramatic and typically 80s gown was considered one of the most closely guarded secrets in fashion history.
Made from ivory silk taffeta and antique lace, the dress was valued at £151,000. While the dress has since become historic, not everyone was as keen on the “dramatic style”.
Since Diana’s untimely death, the dress has taken on more significance and has spent many years touring the world. Recently in 2014, the dress was transferred to the ownership of her sons Princes William and Harry, as she requested that her belongings be handed back to them when they both turned 30.
In 2018, Time magazine declared Diana’s wedding dress as one of the “Most Influential British Royal Wedding Dresses of All Time.”
3. Princess Beatrice's Norman Hartnell Wedding Dress (Previously worn by The Queen) – 164 votes (4.00%)
For Princess Beatrice, she took the “something borrowed” element of a wedding to new heights after deciding on re-wearing a Norman Hartnell dress previously worn by her grandmother, The Queen. Due to a private service being adopted because of the coronavirus pandemic, the dress seemed like a perfect choice.
The exquisite dress was slightly altered to fit Beatrice by making small adjustments, including the addition of cap sleeves. The dress was originally worn by the Queen at the state dinner for the Italian Prime Minister in 1961, and then at the premiere of Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara accompanied the dress though didn’t join the gown on display at Windsor Castle.
The dress was a major hit, with many fans praising Beatrice for choosing to wear the Hartnell creation. They also noted how sweet of a tribute the choice was to her grandmother The Queen.
2. Princess Eugenie's Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos Wedding Dress – 177 votes (5.00%)
Princess Eugenie’s autumn themed wedding dress was designed around one powerful message – acceptance. The Queen’s granddaughter had specifically stated that she wished the design of the dress to have a low back in order to show her scar from surgery she underwent aged 12 to correct scoliosis.
Designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos, the dress was a universal hit with many falling in love with the design, pattern – which included the White Rose of York interwoven with ivy – and the gorgeous Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara.
The dress was later exhibited at Windsor Castle alongside her husband, Jack Brooksbank’s wedding outfit.
1. The Duchess of Cambridge's Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen) Wedding Dress – 1505 votes (83.00%)
It was the dress the world was waiting to see. In the runup to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, for most royal fans and fashion experts, the question of who would design the future Duchess’ wedding dress was feverish. Numerous names were touted, though on the day of the wedding, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen was gifted the coveted job of designing a dress, which would not only define modern royal weddings, but become an historic artifact.
The stunning McQueen dress was praised universally and was noted for its traditional design inspired by the style of the 1950s. Many recognised the similarity to Princess Grace of Monaco’s wedding dress and the gown was purposely designed to represent a blossoming flower.
The address was exhibited at Buckingham Palace and attracted record numbers of visitors in the summer months of 2011. It was also claimed that the popularity of the dress helped raise around £10 million towards Catherine’s own charity endeavours as well as the Royal Collection.
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