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Royal wedding gowns: our favourites

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Wedding
Defence Images/Crown Copyright/Cpl Dylan Browne

After Princess Beatrice’s surprise wedding we’ve definitely got gowns on the brain. From Britain to Sweden, we’re sharing our favourite royal wedding gowns from around the world.

Kristin Contino, Chief Reporter

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Kate’s wedding gown will probably always be my GOAT. There isn’t a single thing I don’t love about this dress, from the delicate lace appliques (made by the talented women of the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace) to the sweeping train. When she stepped out of the car, there was a collective gasp, and I remember instantly thinking about Grace Kelly; she definitely brought back the classic glamour with this gown and influenced bridal style moving forward. Before the 2011 royal wedding sleeved wedding dresses just weren’t that popular anymore, but Kate definitely changed that, and now you see them everywhere.

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My next favourite isn’t quite as well-known, but the gown Claire Lademacher wore for her wedding to Prince Felix Of Luxembourg in September 2013 is just hands-down stunning. This Elie Saab dress is similar to Kate’s in a way with its lace sleeves, but the dress is much more intricately embellished as a whole, featuring Chantilly lace floral motifs covering the entire gown. Plus, the amazing lace detail on the veil is to die for and perfectly matched with the Grand Ducal family’s diamond floral tiara. Claire’s wedding look might actually be my favourite ever if not for the sentimentality behind Kate’s day!

Brittani Barger, Deputy Editor

My first choice is my favourite royal wedding gown of all: Princess Madeleine’s custom Valentino wedding gown for her wedding to Chris O’Neill in 2013. I love how the dress features appliquéd ivory-hued Chantilly lace and the short-sleeved look with a four-metre train and five-metre veil. Madeleine was glowing in this dress, and it was so flattering! We only found out years later that they were still sewing her in the dress (she’d lost too much weight after her last fitting) while her father, the King, was waiting outside to escort her down the aisle. However, it was only noticeable in the sleeves that kept falling off her shoulders; otherwise, it seemed to have fit perfectly!

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My second choice is the gown Princess Charlene wore to her religious wedding ceremony to Prince Albert II of Monaco in July 2011. Charlene wore an ivory Armani Privé off the shoulder gown that featured a five-metre train. The dress was fully embroidered with 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 30,000 gold stones, and 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops. The dress was so clean with the silk satin fabric and was one that only someone with Charlene’s swimmer’s body could pull off, but boy, did she pull it off! She looked gorgeous!

The only disappointing part of the dress was that she didn’t wear a tiara to top it off! But the lack of tiara is a typical Charlene move as the Princess very rarely wears a tiara.

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Lydia Starbuck, News Editor

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The low key marriage of the Queen’s niece wasn’t the biggest royal wedding of all time but, for me, the dress worn by Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones in July 1994 remains the loveliest of them all. The pale ivory georgette gown was designed by Jasper Conran and to call it a classic is an understatement. Inspired by the paintings of Hans Holbein, it features a corset-style bodice with sheer, full-length sleeves and a slightly flared full-length skirt that flows out into a small train as discreet as the bride herself. The gorgeously simple tulle veil, held in place by that intriguing collection of diamond leaves shaped into a pseudo-tiara for the day, adds to the layers of loveliness. This dress, for me, is royal wedding perfection.

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It’s impossible to name an all-time best royal wedding dress and not say ‘Grace Kelly’. The actress brought all her Hollywood style to town when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in April 1956, and one of the reasons her gown was picture perfect was because it was created by Helen Rose, an Oscar-winning designer at MGM studios. The two women worked closely on the dress, which is arguably the most famous royal outfit of the 20th century. The top features antique lace covering a fitted bodice with high neck and long sleeves while the bride’s impossibly small waist was accentuated by a sash giving out into a full length, full-bodied skirt. The tulle veil was held in place by a lace-covered Juliet cap while the bride’s bouquet was a tiny posy of lily of the valley, carried on a prayer book. Over six decades, Princess Grace remains the ultimate royal bride.

Laura Farout, Reporter

My first choice is the custom Elie Saab lace wedding gown of Stéphanie de Lannoy when she married Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg in October 2012. To me, this dress is a classic regal opulence. It is so grand and romantic and is every bit the fantastical and stunning gown that defines designer Elie Saab’s aesthetic.

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My second choice is one we recently spoke about on the site during the 10th wedding anniversary celebrations for Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. I chose Crown Princess Victoria’s Pär Engsheden short-sleeved gown. This is a perfect match of gown and wearer. I love the neckline and how it flatters Victoria. She was wearing such a significant tiara – the Cameo that her mother also wore at her wedding exactly 34 years prior – which the dress complemented perfectly.

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Heaven LeeMiller, Europe Correspondent

My favourite wedding gown has to be Princess Eugenie’s gown. I didn’t really know what to expect when it comes to her wedding outfit because she has quite an unpredictable fashion style, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I think the shape suited her perfectly and it had enough details not to be boring while not being too much. I have scoliosis myself, so I was very touched by her decision to not wear a veil and show her scar. Even though it was already my favourite wedding gown, this is what makes it even better for me. A wedding gown is always special, but this made it extra special with extra symbolism. The tiara she wore is probably my favourite British wedding tiara. It was perfect for her, and it worked really well with the gown. The fact that she didn’t wear a veil also helped the tiara shine, in my opinion. It was just a perfect wedding outfit for her, and she looked stunning.

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While Eugenie is a personal stand out, my favourite designer is Elie Saab, so I had a hard time choosing between Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie and Princess Claire of Luxembourg’s wedding gowns as they were both designed by Elie Saab. In the end, I chose Stéphanie’s wedding gown. Elie Saab is a master with lace and embroideries, and this gown shows that perfectly. It’s stunning from every angle. It was a big gown with a big train, but it still looked quite delicate on Stéphanie. I think even the tiara made the whole wedding outfit look delicate and almost ethereal on her, even though the tiara placement wasn’t the best. It’s just a stunning gown; I remember being speechless when I first saw it. It was a work of art fit for a future Grand Duchess.

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About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.