ROYAL WEDDING GOWNS

by Victoria Hinshaw

Originally posted on February 12, 2011, ahead of the other wedding of the decade, that of William and Katherine.

As I write this, there is no word on the designer Kate Middleton has chosen to create her wedding gown, though I have heard many breathless accounts of who is and who is not in the running.  So let’s indulge our royal wedding mania by looking at some of the gowns worn in the past.

Above is the dress worn by Princess Charlotte of Wales at her May 2, 1816, wedding to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, as exhibited in the Museum of London here.

The Lady’s Magazine of May, 1816, described the gown: White silk net embroidered in silver strip with a spotted ground and borders. The wedding dress, composed of a most magnificent silver lama on net, over a rich silver tissue slip, with a superb border of silver lama embroidery at the bottom, forming shells and bouquets above the border; a most elegant fullness tastefully designed, in festoons of rich silver lama, and finished with a very brilliant rollio of lama; the body and sleeves to correspond, trimmed with a most beautiful point Brussels lace, in a peculiar elegant style.
The manteau of rich silver tissue lined with white satin, trimmed round with a most superb silver lama border, in shells to correspond with the dress, and fastened in front with a most brilliant and costly ornament of diamonds. The whole dress surpassed all conception in the brilliancy and richness of its effects. Head dress, a wreath of rose buds and leaves, composed of the most superb brilliants.”  At right, an engraving of Charlotte and Leopold at their wedding in Carlton House. 
 

The portrait of Queen Victoria, at left, is by Winterhalter. It shows a rather wistful young bride at the time of her wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg (nephew of the above-mentioned Leopold) on February 10, 1840 in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace.
It was this gown and veil that supposedly has inspired generations of brides ever since to wear white for their ceremonies, though many brides had previously dressed in fashionable white as well as in a variety of other hues.

At right, an image of Queen Victoria’s dress on a mannequin in the collection of Kensington Palace. 

Left, the wedding gown of Alexandra of Denmark, who married Victoria’s son, eventually King Edward VII, on March 10, 1863 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. She was Princess of Wales for almost forty years before becoming Queen in 1901. After her husband’s death in 1910, she was known as the Queen Mother until she died in 1925.

Like Charlotte’s mother, Caroline, Princess of Wales, and like the first wife of the present Prince of Wales, Diana (see below), Alexandra had to endure the infidelity of her husband.  But unlike the other two, she stuck with him to the end. We’ve all heard the possibly-apocryphal story about how Alexandra invited one of his mistresses, Alice Keppel, to comfort Edward VII on his deathbed.

 

Princess Mary of Teck wed Prince George, Duke of York on 6 July, 1893 in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace. She had been engaged to Prince Albert Victor, eldest son of the Prince of Wales in 1891, but Albert Victor died in the great influenza epidemic of 1891-92.  Mary and George fell in love and were married with the approval of Queen Victoria as well as Edward and Alexandra, Prince and Princess of Wales.  George succeeded his father as George V in 1910.  Queen Mary, who was a godchild of Queen Victoria, had five sons and one daughter.
Her eldest son, known to all as David, was more than a disappointment. After inheriting the throne as Eward VIII in 1936, he abdicated less than a year later to marry Wallis Simpson.


After her husband’s death, Queen Mary chose to be addressed as Her Majesty, Queen Mary, rather than as Queen Mother.  She was very supportive of her second son, who became King George VI after his brother’s departure from the throne. According to several sources, she was the first dowager queen of Great Britain to ever attended the coronation ceremony of her husband’s successor.

 

As Duke of York, the second son of George V and Mary grew up in the  shadow of his dashing older brother.  He married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon  on 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey. At the time of the wedding, it was not expected that “Bertie” would take the throne. Lady Elizabeth’s gown, perhaps for that reason, was not as elaborate as some of her predecessors. It was certainly in the style of the day, a rather loose gown,  slightly less than floor length.  Below is the dress on a mannequin in a Kensington Palace exhibition of several years ago, along with a detail of the veil and bodice.

On 20 November, 1947,  Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) married Prince Philip of Greece (later Duke of Edinburgh) in Westminster Abbey. The designer was Norman Hartnell and the fabric is silk spun at Lullingstone Castle in Kent. She wore a diamond and pearl tiara and a filmy veil. The long train was decorated with traditional symbols, such as Tudor roses and wheat.  All the details of the royal romance, the wedding, the gown and the ceremony were eagerly read around the world. It is said the happy event was like a tonic to the war-weary Britons still enduring shortages of goods and rationing.

 

The Gown on a mannequin

 

Princess Margaret, second daughter of King George VI, married Antony Armstrong-Jones (later Earl of Snowdon) on  May 6, 1960, at Westminster Abbey. Television cameras covered the event and the broadcast was seen worldwide. Like her sister, Margaret chose Norman Hartnell to design her bridal gown.The couple had two children: David, Viscount Linley in 1961 and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones in 1964. The Snowdons were divorced in 1978 and Princess Margaret died in 2002.

14 November 1973  – Anne, Princess Royal, married Captain Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey. Born in 1950, she is Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter.  Anne and Phillips have two children, Peter Phillips born in 1977 and Zara Phillips born in 1981. After divorcing Phillips in 1992, Anne married Timothy Laurence, in Scotland on December 12, 1992.

 

On 29 July 1981, Lady Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, were married in St Paul’s Cathedral. Her dress was controversial — and still is. The designers, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, immediately shot to the top echelon of British fashion. Like many of Diana’s fashions, the gown (or a replica) travels around the world for popular exhibition.


Charles and Diana had two sons, Prince William, born in 1982, and Prince Harry, born in 1984, before separating
 in the late 1980s, the Prince living in Highgrove and the Princess at Kensington Palace.  Formal separation came in 1992 and the marriage of Charles and Diana ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. On 31 August 1997, a year after the Prince and Princess divorced, Diana died in a car crash in Paris.

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, married at Westminster Abbey on 23 July 1986. The Duke and Duchess of York had two children during their marriage: Princess Beatrice of York (born 1988) and Princess Eugenie of York (born 1990). They separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, though they are often together for vacations and family events. 



Of all the gowns shown above, I think I like Sarah’s best, as designed by Lindka Cierach.  It is beautiful, flattering to her and has no gimmicks.  Princess Elizabeth’s was lovely too, but I like Sarah’s veil better.  All in all this one is the winner in the gown category, if perhaps not in the list of “most suitable royal brides.”



If like us, you can’t get enough of this wedding stuff, here is a wonderful exhibition from the Royal Collection you will enjoy. 

THE ROYAL WEDDING

If you were reading this blog back in 2011, you may remember our coverage of the marriage of William and Kate on 29 April, 2011. Number One London certainly got into the spirit of things, bringing you all the news and speculation in posts during the months leading up to the wedding on subjects including wedding plans, the order of ceremony, the dress, wedding guests, photos, etc.

In fact, some of our posts regarding the Royal Wedding were among the most viewed on this blog and you can be sure we’ll be repeating the effort in the lead up to the wedding of Harry and Meghan on 19 May.

To see what’s in store, click here to see a round-up of our coverage of William and Kate’s wedding.

And click here to see our round-up of the wedding day itself.  Scroll down to see the comments received in response to our commentary.

Once again, we’ll be posting weekly with all the news surrounding the upcoming wedding and we will again be posting in real time on the day, this time using Facebook as our platform.

 We hope you’re as thrilled as we are about the upcoming nuptials and we can’t wait to share it all with you – again. It’s going to be another fun ride – Our first “Royal Wedding: Harry and Meghan” post will appear soon!

HOW TO SCORE THE MARKLE SPARKLE

Meghan Markle made her first official appearance along with fiance Prince Harry in Nottingham on 1 December and her coat (Mackage ‘Elodie’ Navy Wool Coat US$790) and boots (KG by Kurt Geiger Violet Black Suede Over the Knee Boots £229) sold out on the same day. How did everyone find out what pieces she was wearing, so fast? Kensington Palace’s newest fashion icon has us mere mortals wanting to shop pieces, but how do we get the 411 about what they are and where to buy them? I mean before they sell out?

Well, it seems that Meghan has been a trendsetter since at least November 2016, when the website Meghan’s Fashion debuted. Loaded with photos of Meghan’s outfits and the required links to shopping those looks, this site should be bookmarked by all Royal watching fashionistas. Can’t decide between Meghan’s outfit or Katherine’s? No problem, there’s a Kate’s Closet site, as well.

 

And another similar site Princess Charlotte Style for all your tiny princess buying needs.

Then there’s Meghan’s Mirror, a site similar to those above, but which also features Meghan’s best looks, her favourites, her fashion rules and even what’s on her reading list.

Want to see Meghan’s airport look? No problem!

 

And here’s Meghan’s yoga style

 

Even more exciting, Meghan has designed her very own dress line, The Meghan Markle Collection, available online at Canadian retailer Reitman on 27 April, in store 28 April. There’s no way to guess whether Ms. Markle will be able to continue selling her line beyond this season and after marrying into the Royal family, so this may be our only chance to get one of the gorgeous dresses below – all selling for under $100. Mark your calendars!

The Terrace $90

 

The Sunset $95

 

The Soirée $85

You can find photos of the full line here.

Of course, the one MM fashion item we’re all eagerly awaiting is her wedding dress. Trust Number One London to bring you all the speculation, guesses and possible winners as soon as we can.

The Royal Wedding in Milwaukee

Kilbourn Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Michigan, became a little slice of Britain on Friday, April 29, 2011.  Members of the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, est. 1876,  gathered at the elegant clubhouse to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Kir Royales were approriate for the many  toasts to the happy couple . . .

Everyone is always eager for an excuse to wear her favorite hat — though some opted for fascinators.
The printed Menu Card was cleverly contrived to include a picture of “The Kiss” above the words “William and Kate Forever.”  Thanks to the tech-savvy staff members who managed the feat!

The menu, crafted by chef Steve Derby:
Petite Prime Rib of Beef
Queen Elizabeth Mashed Potatoes
Minted Pea Puree
Royal Bread Pudding
with Vanilla Sauce
Some of the guests looked amazingly familiar…
Oh, now we get it…
And if Prince Harry is looking for some company, just send him over!
We had a great time, just one of thousands of groups of Anglophiles the world over.
Best wishes to the happy couple….

The Wedding Day!

Wedding dress designer – Sarah Burton

Blogger “Boy Meets Fashion’s” on-the-ground video of balcony kiss and fly past can be seen here
Newlyweds leave Palace in Prince Charles’s Aston Martin
Watch the video

All about the cake

All about the tiara

The Secrets Behind Kate’s hairdo revealed
Gorgeous photos of the wedding can be seen here
You’ll find video of the wedding highlights here
and photos of the reception here

Recipe for William’s Groom’s Cake

Wedding Central

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

 

Parents host pre-wedding gala at Mandarin Oriental
This is what happiness looks like
(OMG, I’m actually tearing up already)

The Ceremony – minute by minute

The full guest list

Today’s last minute rehearsals in pictures and

The coach that will carry Wills and Kate after the wedding

Ceremony to include music by composer Paul Mealor

Listen to selections from the wedding music

Recessional music revealed – take a listen

 

A peek inside Kate’s suite at The Goring

An essential guide to the RW

Chelsy Davy to wear TWO Ferretti’s

Ellie Goulding to perform at reception

Details about the Royal after party at the Palace

Dame Edna gives Piers Morgan some Royal insights

Download Will and Kate masks here

Westminster Abbey, Royal Connections

Westminster Abbey was founded in 960 and is the tallest medieval church in the country, reaching 102ft at the highest point of the nave; and its facade is the tallest of any English church, at 225ft. As the site of coronations since William the Conqueror in 1066, Westminster Abbey is closely associated with royalty throughout history.  According to the Abbey’s website, it has also been the venue for fifteen royal weddings, about to be sixteen.  And since we love nothing more than tickling our “Fun with Wills and Kate” itch, here are some spectacular pictures of royal weddings at the Abbey from the past.
On November 20, 1947, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) married Prince Philip of Greece, who was made Duke of Edinburgh. They were the tenth royal couple to marry at the Abbey. Their wedding was broadcast by radio to the world. Rationing was still in effect and wartime austerity continued, so the wedding was a time for great national celebration.


In 2007, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at a special ceremony in the Abbey.  She is the first ever English monarch to achieve a diamond wedding celebration. in 2012, the Queen will observe her Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

The Queen’s sister Princess Margaret Rose (1930-2002) wed Anthony Armstrong-Jones in the Abbey on May 6, 1960.  After two children, their marriage ended in divorce in 1978.

The Queen’s only daughter, Anne, Princess Royal, married  Captain Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey on November 14, 1973.  They have two children.


After divorcing Phillips in 1992, Anne married Timothy Laurence, in Scotland on December 12, 1992.

Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson on July 1986, They became the duke and duchess of York. They have two daughters, but separated in 1992 and divorced four years later.


We are awaiting the big day on Friday, April 29, for the next royal wedding at Westminster Abbey.

This Friday, the Abbey’s 10 bells will ring out as William and Kate leave the royal wedding service. Westminster Abbey’s bells only give a full peal on important royal or national occasions. It was sounded on the day of the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday – August 4 2001 – and rung half muffled less than a year later after her funeral on April 9 2002. The 50th anniversary of the Second World War milestone V-E Day was commemorated by the bells in May 1995. Note: A full peal features a minimum of 5,000 different changes (or sequences) and lasts more than three hours.
Watch an interview with the royal florists, who will be creating an Avenue of Trees within the Abbey and using flowers from Windsor Great Park.
Read the latest story on how florists are currently transforming the Abbey into a Fairytale Forest.

Royal Wedding Weekend Getaway Plans

Not content to settle for an extra Bank Holiday and late openings for pubs on the Royal Wedding Day (RWD), airlines and hoteliers are offering extended getaway specials themed around the Big Day.  British Airways is offering Royal Wedding weekend packages and London hotels have been raising their room rates over the weekend accordingly, but really, anyone can book a BA flight or a room at the Savoy, no matter how inflated the cost. So, we’ve rounded up some unique options for the big RWD, each with its own twist on the festivities and all far away from the madding RWD crowds. Book early!
Why not book yourself into the Celtic Manor Resort, where they’ll be throwing a RWD Street party? Their website invites us to “join (them) to celebrate the Royal Wedding in the most traditional British way, with a spectacular outdoor ‘street party’ with live entertainment and big screens to watch the wedding celebrations, in the glorious surroundings of the Rooftop Garden. Immerse yourself in nostalgia with Union Jack bunting and trestle tables laden with tasty treats including jam sandwiches, homemade pork pies, Scotch eggs and sausage rolls, along with favourites such as Victoria sponge, fondant fancies, trifle and of course, traditional wedding cake.” This Five Star Welsh resort features award winning dining, the Forum Spa and was home to the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Forget the RWD, The Castle Hotel in Taunton, Somerset, is offering a Royal Honeymoon package to die for – it includes penthouse accommodation, a private butler, massage, flowers, wine and . . . a throne. I’ve stayed here and it’s just lovely. Of course, I didn’t have a butler. Or a massage. But it was still lovely.


Personally, the offer from the Ambassador Bed and Breakfast in Brighton sounds like a hoot – book into the gay friendly hotel for a minimum of 3 nights over the Royal Wedding weekend and you’ll be invited – at no extra cost – to join  them at a garden party where you’ll watch the wedding and be treated to a free buffet lunch, afternoon tea and wedding cake.

Even Grand Rapids, Michigan is getting in on the weekend wedding getaway deals, which isn’t as far fetched as it seems once you realize that the exhibit, “Diana – A Celebration” will be in town over that weekend, with items on loan from the Spencer family.

And lastly, if you want to do the Royal Wedding in royal style stateside, The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago has announced the “Trump Royal Wedding Experience” where guests will watch the televised version of the Royal Wedding during an exclusive breakfast at the Michelin three-star restaurant Here’s the description from the official press release: “After a night of ultimate comfort in a newly renovated guest room designed by Ivanka Trump, guests will descend to Jean Georges for an exclusive breakfast in the restaurant’s main dining room starting at 5 a.m. A special tasting menu fit for a prince or princess will include selections like scrambled eggs with caviar, mini-French toast, and pains au chocolat. Guests will toast the royal couple with sparkling mimosas as they watch the Royal Wedding on monitors strategically placed around the dining room. The breakfast event will conclude by 9 a.m., at which time guests may choose to hit the town or return to their rooms for a nap. A 4 p.m. late checkout is guaranteed. As a memento of the occasion, each guest will receive a piece of official Royal Wedding china commissioned by The Royal Collection.”  What, no massage?

The Royal Wedding on the Telly

With just 90-something days to go till the Wedding of the Year/Decade, you can bet that news outlets and television stations on both sides of the pond, and elsewhere, are plotting their strategies and schedules for the weeks and days leading up to the big event at 11 a.m. on April 29th. So far, TLC is the only channel that’s given out any information on their royal line up – during the five days leading up to royal wedding, TLC said on Wednesday that it will air specials featuring archived and other footage, interviews and a round-table discussion with experts on royalty. The U.K.-themed week, in partnership with ITV Studios, also will include a show focusing on both British and American hoarders and “extreme” collectors of royal memorabilia. One hopes they’ll focus on the lady featured in our right sidebar and not on, er, one.

TLC also plans live coverage of the wedding, with a condensed version of the event set to air April 30-May 1. But you won’t have to wait till April – beginning next month, TLC will show “The Queen,” a new two-hour special that explores romance, weddings and divorce among members of Queen Elizabeth II’s family. The special will air Feb. 13 (9 p.m. EST). The program will be preceded by repeats of two specials about William and his fiancee: “William and Kate: A Royal Love Story” (7 p.m. EST) and “William, Kate and Royal Weddings” (8 p.m. EST).

For TLC, home of “Four Weddings,” “Say Yes to the Dress” and other wedding-themed shows, the week long coverage is intended to enhance viewers’ “overall royal experience” of the Westminster Abbey ceremony, said programming executive Nancy Daniels.

“This is without question the most widely anticipated wedding in a generation,” Paul Buccieri, ITV Studios America president and CEO, said in a statement, promising American viewers “intimate access to this landmark event.”

Right . . . . . Just you, me and a couple of million others . . . . . Reports are that Rupert Murdoch’s British Sky Broadcasting Group is negotiating with royal officials to show the nuptials on television, and the talks, which involve the BBC, also are said to include a plan to possibly shoot the ceremony in 3-D and broadcast it to cinemas throughout the world. Which will delight the folks at Royal Caribbean Cruises, who plan to broadcast the wedding live across all 40 ships in their fleet on 29th April.

Stay tuned . . . . . .