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Royal Wedding Rewind: the Kent brides

By Aurelien Guichard from London, United Kingdom (changes by Rabanus Flavus) - File:St. Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle (1).jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Now April is here we can say in all confidence that the next royal wedding happens next month. And as Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston make the final preparations for their big day, set for May 18th at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, there’s plenty of excitement over the details of this latest marital celebration.

Lady Gabriella will be the latest bride from the House of Kent so as she gets ready to say ‘I do’, Royal Central is taking a look back at how her nearest relations marked their marriages. Here are the Kent royal bride so far – will they give us any clues on what to expect from the royal wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor?

Marina, Duchess of Kent

The matriarch of the modern Kent dynasty, Princess Marina, married at Westminster Abbey on November 29th 1934. Her wedding to George, Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary, was a major event with huge crowds lining the route.

The Bride wore…a bespoke gown by Edward Molyneaux whose couture houses in London and Paris were then the height of fashion. Like many a Windsor bride of recent times, Marina went for silver for her big day. Molyneaux’s creation for Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was a full length, fitted silver brocade gown with trumpet sleeves and a simple cowl neck. Her long veil was made of tulle.

Yes to a tiara and that was a rarity at the time for many British royal brides chose orange blossom instead to hold their veils in place. Not Marina. She walked into Westminster Abbey wearing a diamond fringe tiara which had been presented to her by the City of London. You might even say this was the moment that Windsor brides adopted diamonds as their wedding go to.

A bouquet of lilies completed the look. Marina’s flowers were what might be termed statement now – she rather sensibly put them to one side for most of the official photographs.

Her bridesmaids included two future monarchs, Juliana of the Netherlands and Elizabeth II, who were part of an eight strong bridal party.

Katharine, Duchess of Kent

Katharine Worsley was the first royal bride to wed in York Minster for over six centuries when she and Edward, Duke of Kent said ‘I do;’ on June 8th 1961. The new duchess came from Yorkshire and the wedding reception was held at her family home, Hovingham Hall, following the ceremony.

The Bride wore a dress designed by John Cavanagh after her soon to be mother-in-law, Princess Marina, suggested him for the job. The gown featured a cowl neck, long sleeves, a fitted bodice and a full skirt all made of French white patterned silk gauze. The train measured fifteen feet and was covered by a tulle veil.

Yes to a tiara with the bride giving a nod to her new husband’s royal family by wearing a bandeau tiara that had once belonged to his late grandmother, Queen Mary.

A bouquet of white roses provided another nod to the bride’s Yorkshire roots. The county’s emblem was interspersed with tiny pink buds for a real summer post.

The bridesmaids included Princess Anne who was just about to turn eleven as she took her place in the eight strong bridal party.

Princess Alexandra of Kent

Princess Alexandra might be one of the more low key members of the Royal Family now but in the 1960s, she was a Windsor star. Her wedding to Angus Ogilvy, at Westminster Abbey on April 24th 1963, was a major royal moment which drew big crowds to London.

The Bride wore another John Cavanagh design after her mother, Princess Marina, once again suggested him for the all important wedding gown commission. Alexandra chose a lace covered in an intricate design that was made in France. The dress itself is relatively simple with a scoop neck, long sleeves, fitted bodice and slightly tapered skirt. The veil was made of the same fabric and extended over twenty feet.

Yes to a tiara and with a rather lovely family touch. Princess Alexandra wore the same fringe tiara that her mother had used at her own wedding, almost thirty years before.

A bouquet of creamy camellias accented with jasmine was chosen by this royal bride.

The bridesmaids once again included Princess Anne who led a seven strong bridal party.

Princess Michael of Kent

The marriage of Lady Gabriella’s parents, Prince Michael of Kent and Marie-Christine von Reibnitz, was the most low key and yet perhaps most talked about of all the Kent weddings. Marie-Christine was divorced and a Catholic so the couple ended up getting wed in Vienna on June 30th 1978, just a month after announcing their engagement.

The Bride wore a simple cream suit for her civil wedding at Vienna’s Town Hall. It was designed by Hardy Amies. For the post wedding ball, held that evening. the new Princess Michael of Kent chose a full length white Belville Sassoon dress.

Yes to a tiara but only at the evening do. For her actual wedding, Marie-Christine wore a single flower in her hair, nestling neatly in her up do. At the later ball, she wore the same fringe tiara used by Princess Marina and Princess Alexandra at their weddings.

The wedding party was small by royal standards. The groom’s siblings, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, were there along with Princess Anne, Lord Louis Mountbatten and Lady Helen Windsor.

Lady Helen Taylor

Lady Gabriella’s cousin married on July 18th 1992  at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor with the whole Royal Family in attendance. Her wedding, to Timothy Taylor, was a major regal celebration.

The Bride wore a gown by then go to royal designer, Catherine Walker, who based her concept on the medieval setting of St. George’s Chapel. The structured neckline gives way to short sleeves, a fitted bodice and a full skirt while the bride also chose a tulle veil for her big day.

Yes to a tiara but no to the family tradition of using Marina’s fringe diamond diadem. Instead, Lady Helen wore a tiara of diamonds and pearls.

A bouquet was an unusual one for a royal wedding as it featured pastel coloured flowers. The pink roses, lavender and cornflowers were woven into an upright design.

The bridesmaids included a certain Lady Gabriella who was then just 12 years old. Now, 27 years on, she will return to St. George’s Chapel as the bride and write a whole new chapter of Kent royal wedding history.

About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.