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British RoyalsFeaturesInsightPrincess Anne and Family

The Wedding Dresses of Princess Anne

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, was the first of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s children to wed and she was also the first to contract a second marriage. For both ceremonies, she chose striking outfits which would take their own places in royal wedding history.

Anne’s First Wedding Dress

All modern royal brides have an input into the design of their dress and, as you would expect from a princess known for her forthright manner, Anne had very firm ideas about how she wanted to look when she married Captain Mark Phillips on November 14th 1973 at Westminster Abbey. The bride opted for a Tudor style dress and worked closely with designer, Maureen Baker, on a gown that took inspiration from the court dresses of Elizabeth I’s court.

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Anne walked into Westmister Abbey in a fitted dress featuring a fitted bodice with high neck and a slightly flared skirt that gave way to a train measuring around seven feet. The whole creation was made of white silk with a veil of white tulle held in place by the same fringe tiara that Anne’s mother, the Queen, had worn for her own wedding back in 1947.

The dress had lines of pearls sewn across the bodice and featured floral motifs on the back – all the work of Lock’s Embroiderers. There were more pearls at the end of the full length trumpet sleeves which revealed huge cuffs reminiscent of Elizabethan ruffs and which became one of the most memorable parts of this royal wedding outfit.

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It would become the most famous design of couturier, Maureen Baker, who had been head designer at the firm of Susan Small for thirty years by the time she created this gown. She’d been dressing Anne since the late 1960s after Princess Alexandra of Kent recommended her to the Queen’s daughter. Maureen Baker later set up her own firm and in her career made over 250 outfits for the princess, many of which were worn across several decades by Anne.

Anne’s Second Wedding Outfit

For her second marriage, to Timothy Laurence on December 12th 1992 at Crathie Kirk, Anne kept her outfit very low key. In all likelihood, this practical princess was never going to do anything else but just days before her marriage, the separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales was announced at the end of a royal year the Queen had already called her ‘’annus horribilis’’.

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence on their wedding day

As a second time bride, Anne chose a cream suit with a high necked jacket over a knee length dress. Her only accessories were a small spray of blossoms worn in her hair and a simple bouquet of white heather. With the world’s media descending on Crathie to catch a glimpse of the House of Windsor at its lowest ebb, Anne opted for discretion.

Anne’s Royal Wedding Style

The Princess Royal had two contrasting picks for her marriage ceremonies. Her first wedding gown began a new era for Windsor brides while her second was an outfit chosen as much for its subtlety as its style. But both looks were very much what we’ve come to expect from Anne, the practical princess with her own sense of chic.

Photo credit: Official wedding photos, fair use

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.