As soon as anyone mentions an engagement, most people’s first thoughts go straight to the dress.
What length, material, and general design will it be? Well, when it comes to a royal wedding, the pressure is seriously ramped up. There is the designer to take into consideration, and the effect it could then have among brides and future trends.
Royal dresses almost always go on to be iconic in their country of origin, and they are all completely stunning.
With Meghan Markle marrying Prince Harry and becoming the Duchess of Sussex, we look back at the most amazing wedding dresses of royal weddings.
Here are 20 of the most incredible and inspiring gowns worn by queens and princesses on their special day.
Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle
Markle opted for a 1960s-style, off the shoulder gown by the first female artistic director of the French fashion house, Givenchy. Markle looked stunning in her white gown with a clean classic high bateau neckline.
Princess Claire of Luxembourg
Princess Claire of Luxembourg, previously Claire Lademacher before her marriage to Prince Felix, actually had two royal wedding ceremonies: a civil one and a religious one. She wore this beautiful Elie Saab silk gown for the religious ceremony, which took place in France on September 21, 2013.
Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece, Princess of Denmark
The nuptials between Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, and Marie-Chantal Miller were a million-dollar affair which saw multiple monarchs gather in London on July 1, 1995. This, of course, meant that the wedding dress had to match the expensive theme. Miller’s Valentino gown was worth $225,000 and took a team of 25 people a staggering four months to make.
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Princess Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in May 1960, but the couple were divorced by 1978. Margaret wore a simple but stunning silk organza wedding dress, created by famous dressmaker Norman Hartnell, and these days it’s on display in Kensington Palace.
Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
When King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck married Jetsun Pema on October 13, 2011, it was an extremely colourful occasion. The new queen wore a kira, the traditional attire for women in Bhutan, and helped turn her into a style icon across the world.
Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
Prince Friso controversially married a “commoner,” Mabel Wisse Smit, on April 24, 2004. The bride wore a very showy dress designed by wacky Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf. It had 248 handmade crepe georgette bows on it which, whilst they do sound a little weird, looked great on her.
Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy gained a few more titles when she married Guillaume, the heir apparent of Luxembourg. Their religious wedding ceremony took place on October 20, 2012. Stéphanie literally shined in an Elie Saab dress that boasted 50,000 pearls and 80,000 crystals.
Princess Noor bint Asem
The marriage between Prince Hamzah and Princess Noor bint Asem, his second cousin, unfortunately didn’t last very long. The couple separated on August 29, 2003, and were divorced six years later. Hopefully the princess got to keep her sparkling white wedding dress as it was beautiful.
Princess Sofia of Sweden
When former glamour model Sofia Hellqvist married Prince Carl Philip in June 2015, she had a lot to prove. She played it safe with a beautiful but simple white gown designed by fellow Swede, Ida Sjöstedt. However, she did ensure her back tattoo remained visible.
Princess Frederica of Hanover
Princess Frederica of Hanover married her first cousin once removed, Prince Paul of Greece, back in January 1938. However her wedding dress is still as beautiful today. The elegant creation was paired perfectly with her tiara, which was handed down to her from Princess Sophie of Prussia.
Princess (soon to be Queen) Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten married on November 20, 1947. Elizabeth’s dress was a beautiful satin Norman Hartnell creation decorated with crystals and pearls. In this period rationing was still taking place, and incredibly, ration coupons were still needed to buy the material to make the dress.
Princess Salwa Aga Khan
In August 2013, model Kendra Spears found herself living the dream when she married the extremely wealthy Prince Rahim Aga Khan, son of the Aga Khan IV. Taking the name Salwa Aga Khan on marriage, she dazzled everyone in her beautiful Manav Gangwani-designed sari.
Princess Charlene of Monaco
When Prince Albert II of Monaco married swimmer Charlene Wittstock in July 2011, the country was completely overjoyed. Needless to say, the dress was one of the most celebrated parts of the wedding. It was an Armani creation featuring 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 pearls, and if that wasn’t enough there were also 30,000 gold stones.
Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah
Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah is daughter to the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men in the world, so it goes without saying that her wedding outfit was amazing. When she married Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini on September 23, 2012, she wore a jewel-encrusted gold outfit.
Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
Princess Mette-Marit really was the typical rags-to-riches story. She worked as a waitress with drug backstory before she married Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in August 2001. So her dress also had to be like something out of a fairytale. It was designed by Ove Harder Finseth and made of luxurious silk.
Princess Rania of Jordan
Rania Yassine became a princess (and then went on to be a queen) when she married Prince Abdullah on June 10, 1993. For her wedding ceremony she chose a design by Brit Bruce Oldfield, which was a formal gown with gold embroidery.
Crown Princess Máxima of the Netherlands
Maxima Zorreguieta chose world-famous designer Valentino to design her wedding gown, and the result was a huge success. She stepped out in the beautiful Mikado silk number on February 2, 2002. This instantly made Valentino the number one choice for European royal wedding dresses.
Sarah, Crown Princess of Brunei
In September 2004, an event dubbed “the Asian wedding of the year” took place. The marriage of Prince al-Muhtadee Billah of Brunei and Sarah Pengiran Salleh cost millions of dollars. The bride’s stunning blue outfit was decorated with gemstones and diamonds. Even her bouquet was made of gold.
Diana, Princess of Wales
Everyone is aware that the marriage between Diana and Prince Charles wasn’t a happy one. However, when it took place in July 1981, it seemed like a dream come true. Diana wore a dress of exquisite antique lace created by Elizabeth and David Emanuel which cost thousands of pounds.
Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco
Hollywood actress Grace Kelly became the conventional princess when she married Prince Rainer of Monaco in April 1956. Her Brussels lace wedding dress was designed by Oscar-winning dressmaker Helen Rose and still looks every bit as magnificent today as it did back then.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
When Kate Middleton married Prince William on April 29, 2011, all eyes were on the wedding dress. It was designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, and was a beautiful construction of satin and lace. It instantly went down in history as one of the most beautiful wedding dresses ever!