Hot! Royal Wedding Dresses

If you're in my social circle, it's not cool to care about the upcoming Royal Wedding. For every mention of what Kate Middleton is going to wear, one of my friends has to bemoan the oppressive state of the British monarchy throughout history. Well, I'm not collecting the tea towels, but I'm certainly interested in Friday's pageantry. And, of course, with what all those very privileged folks will be wearing. Here's a look at some famous royal pairings along with some pattern pairings.

1930s: Wallis Simpson & Edward VIII

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Say what you will about Wallis Simpson (and there certainly is a lot of stuff to say), that gal knew how to dress. We're talking about the woman who had the Schiaparelli lobster dress in her wedding trousseau (third one's a charm). Her late 1930s and early 1940s suits are most marvelous — usually accented with a gorgeously whimsical brooch. 

 

1940s: Princess Elizabeth & Philip Mountbatten

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In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O' Hara marries her first husband, Charles Hamilton, in such a rush that there isn't any time to make alterations on her mother's own wedding gown. 1940s wedding gowns always remind me of Scarlett's dress. A lot of fabric, big sleeves and not neccessarily the most form-flattering. I'm sure the then Princess Elizabeth's dress was gorgeous in person — the photos of its details certainly confirm this. But it's not like QE II couldn't rock the bare arms. Her coronation gown from 1953 was far more modern and, I daresay, flattering.

1950s: Grace Kelly & Prince Rainier

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I'm a huge Judy Garland fan so I always view Grace Kelly as the woman who robbed Garland of her "A Star is Born" Oscar. Even with that strike against her, there's probably no lovelier princess that Princess Grace. Her wedding dress is perfect and probably the only royal wedding dress designed by MGM. Honorable mention goes to Princess Margaret for her equally timeless dress from 1960.

1960s-1970s: Princess Anne & Mark Phillips

image from www.aolcdn.comimage from ny-image3.etsy.com image from ny-image2.etsy.com   image from ny-image2.etsy.com image from ny-image3.etsy.com image from ny-image0.etsy.com  image from ny-image0.etsy.comPrincess Anne in 1973. Those sleeves! That neckline! I'm so not a fan of bell or trumpet sleeves but she did manage to work this dress. And considering how many patterns in the 1960s and 1970s had bell sleeves, she certainly wasn't alone in like that fashion trend. To each his own.

1980s: Diana Spencer & Prince Charles

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I can't say I'm a fan of this dress. I was three and a half  years-old when this wedding took place and I can distinctly remember news coverage. Even then, I thought the dress was over-the-top. Seriously, what three year-old would think any dress was too much? My favorite Princess Diana period was pre-wedding, when she could get away with looking like a long-lost member of the Bay City Rollers. While her later outfits were a bit too 1980s, the earlier years produced a natural look that is worth replicating.

Author

Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.

13 Comments

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  1. margueritedesigns

    My mum made me a copy of Princess Anne’s bridesmaids dress in yellow … always used to come out at little girls parties …

  2. Princess Grace wins hands down – her dress is absolutely stunning. I have to admit, I am looking forward to seeing what Kate will wear!

  3. Wow. Princess Anne’s dress is making me think very much of another princess. But from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

  4. I stayed home from school to watch Diana Spencer get married. I thought it was the most romantic thing ever, although I remember thinking her train was ridiculous. It made me itch for a pair of sharp shears. This is a great post. I love seeing the dresses through the years and just how they reflected the fashion trends at the time. Who knew that princesses were so susceptible!

  5. I am getting up crazy early to watch the wedding festivites because I cannot wait to see what Kate Middleton is wearing! Squee!

  6. Princess Grace was so gorgeous, but I can’t help it, I love Wallis Simpson’s clothes the most.

  7. I probably will be up crazy early to watch. Very excited!
    I like Grace’s dress the best. So pretty.

  8. Living in London and with our friends it is even less acceptable to be looking forward to the wedding – most of my friends have left the city for the weekend to escape it! But I am still hosting a party for those of us who are less cynical!
    I’m not an ardent royalist by any means, but any excuse to get the bunting out (and the cream teas and cucumber sandwiches)! We’ll be dress spotting with the best of them, (it’s rather like watching the opening of the Ascot Races to look at the hats)
    And thanks to the Royal Wedding we now get a 4 day weekend – making this the second 3 day working week in a row!
    You might like this link from the BBC website of Royal Wedding dresses currently on display at Kensington Palace http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13207649

  9. just realised last week was only 3 days for me because I took the monday off as holiday :) all these bank holidays so close together are confusing me.

  10. My favorites are Wallis Simpson’s, Grace Kelly’s and Queen Elizabeth’s coronation gown.
    As for dress spotting, if they show regular brides’ dresses on TLC, then why not Kate’s, I suppose. It still feels odd to me, since I attended St. Andrews for some of the time that Prince William was there. I only crossed paths with him, but he was friends with some of my friends. I wouldn’t normally want to follow the wedding of a friend of a friend, and it’s strange that people are making special crafts for it, etc.

  11. A fabulous post! I have a book from the MOMA called 100 Dresses and it has a current photo of the dress on Wallis Simpson. Apparently originally it was dyed the same blue color as the Prince’s eyes, but over time the fabric dye became unstable and lost all it’s color. It is now a peachy/beigey color. (Sad) But still absolutely stunnning. I wish I could have seen it in blue though! Now, I’m going to check out all your links in here. A treasure trove of pretty dresses!

  12. Becky, that was my thought on Anne’s dress as well. She was 4 years ahead of her time!
    I like Margaret’s dress best. I am a sucker for v-necks and simple lines.

  13. We must run in the same social circles :) But I did love Kate’s dress!!!