If you didn’t get enough royal wedding mania from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials back in 2018, you’re in luck. We’re looking back at the greatest royal wedding dresses in history. From Queen Victoria’s trendsetting white gown to Princess Diana’s long train to Grace Kelly’s lace dress that influenced a thousand others (visions of Kate Middleton, anyone?), these royal brides sure know how to make a statement walking down the aisle.
Meghan Markle’s classic Claire Waight Keller dress is already one for the books, but did you know it bears a striking resemblance to Princess Margaret’s simple, silk number? Have you heard the story behind how Queen Victoria popularized the white wedding dress? Most recently, Princess Beatrice made the case for upcycling vintage gowns by raiding her grandmother’s closet for her wedding day. In short, there’s plenty of royal history hidden in the bridal fashion archive.
To learn more, scroll through to see 39 iconic royal wedding dresses throughout history.
Queen Victoria, 1840
The white wedding dress that started it all. Fans of Masterpiece’s Victoria are no doubt intimately acquainted with Queen Victoria’s courtship and subsequent wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on February 10, 1840. For her wedding at St. James Palace, the young queen started a wedding trend that would live on for centuries by wearing a white wedding dress.
Mary of Teck, 1893
Mary of Teck married the future King George V—Queen Victoria’s grandson and Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather—in a beautiful gown designed by London-based Lingon and Curtis. The over-the-top gown was trimmed in ostrich feathers and orange blossoms.
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, 1923
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became an instant bridal icon when she married the Duke of York in 1923. Her gown is today considered a classic 1920’s piece of fashion with its dropped waist, pearl and silver embellishments, and very deco headpiece.
Wallis Simpson, 1937
For her wedding to the Duke of Windsor at the Château de Candé in France, Wallis Simpson (the world’s most famous divorcée at the time), wore a dress by designer Mainbocher. The pale blue color was custom created for the duchess, and coined “Wallis blue.”
Queen Elizabeth II, 1947
For her wedding to Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth chose a satin Duchesse long-sleeve wedding gown with floral embroidery and crystal and pearl appliqué (10,000 pearls, to be exact) designed by Norman Hartnell. He cited Botticelli’s painting “Primavera” as his inspiration. The 13-foot silk train made for quite the entrance and undoubtedly set royal wedding trends for the future.
Rita Hayworth, 1949
Rita Hayworth’s wedding dress is an instant classic. The screen siren married Prince Aly Khan in a periwinkle blue dress, complete with a matching hat from Christian Dior’s classic New Look collection.
Queen Soraya of Iran, 1951
For the maximalist 1951 wedding, the empress of Iran’s magnificent Christian Dior dress was completed with 20,000 feathers and 6,000 diamonds.
Grace Kelly, 1956
Grace Kelly’s wedding dress has become the stuff of fashion legend. The ultimate symbol of a fairytale wedding, Kelly’s bridal attire is now one of the most-referenced gowns in history. The high-neck, long-sleeve dress with a dramatic, billowing skirt (and a 10-and-a-half-foot-long train) was designed by Helen Rose and made from 125-year-old Brussels lace, taffeta, and thousands of hand-sewn pearls.
Princess Margaret, 1960
Described by Life magazine as “the simplest royal wedding gown in history,” the silk organza wedding dress worn by Princess Margaret (designed by Norman Hartnell, a royal favorite who makes more than one appearance on this list) would start a regal bridal trend. Many royals after her wore similarly minimal, long-sleeved silhouettes.
Queen Fabiola, 1960
Designed by Cristóbol Balenciaga himself, Queen Fabiola’s wedding dress, featuring a white mink trim, was such a work of art that it’s currently housed at the Balenciaga Museum in Spain.
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, 1966
Designed by Bergé-Farwick of Maison Linette, Princess Beatrix’s minimal, satin wedding dress, which she wore to her 1966 nuptials to Prince Claus, was pure bridal elegance. The stunning ensemble also featured a long train and voluminous veil.
Princess Margrethe of Denmark, 1967
The now Queen of Denmark chose a gown by Danish designer Jørgen Bende for her wedding to Henrik, the future Prince Consort of Denmark. The long-sleeve, square neck dress featured a special detail: a piece of lace that has been used on several of the Danish royal family’s wedding dresses.
Queen Silvia of Sweden, 1976
Dior’s Marc Bohan designed Queen Silvia’s understated wedding dress. Her sleek attire allowed her gorgeous, cameo tiara to shine front-and-center.
Princess Caroline of Monaco, 1978
Grace Kelly’s daughter, Princess Caroline of Monaco, married Phillipe Junot in a 1970’s-style wedding dress by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior that was typical of the era. She eschewed a tiara in favor of two buns (boho-chic before boho-chic took over Pinterest boards everywhere) covered in dainty floral crowns. Trendsetting must run in the family.
Queen Noor, 1978
American Lisa Halaby, the future Queen Noor, married Jordan’s King Hussein wearing a demure high-neck Christian Dior gown.
Princess Diana, 1981
Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, Princess Diana’s wedding dress became instantly iconic and sparked a thousand knockoffs—with the first copycat design hitting a department store just five hours after the royal ceremony. The silk-and-taffeta creation took the world’s breath away. Hand embroidered with mother-of-pearl sequins and an estimated 10,000 pearls, the gown took the duo of designers months to prepare. The famous 25-foot long train, adorned with lace that once belonged to Queen Mary, defined a decade of brides in the 1980’s, who all longed for that same show-stopping, dramatic entrance.
Queen Rania of Jordan, 1993
Created by Bruce Oldfield, the dress Queen Rania of Jordan wore to marry Prince Abdullah in 1993 was beyond iconic. Covered in gold detailed trim, it featured an overcoat with an embroidered collar and a voluminous skirt.
Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, 1994
Much like her mother, Princess Margaret, Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones’s wedding dress by Jasper Conran turned royal into minimal. The silk crepe chiffon dress with heavy satin organza layers was fantastically simple and timeless.
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, 1995
When Marie-Chantal married Prince Pavlos of Greece, she wore a Valentino gown featuring 12 different types of floral lace. It reportedly took more than 25 seamstresses to complete the ivory silk wedding dress.
Sophie Rhys-Jones, 1999
To marry Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son, Prince Edward, at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle (the same venue as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle), Sophie Rhys-Jones tapped designer Samantha Shaw to create a pearl-encrusted V-neck ivory silk organza coat dress.
Camilla Parker Bowles, 2005
For the low-key wedding, Camilla Parker Bowles chose a blue and cream silk chiffon dress with a matching silk coat designed by Robinson Valentine. She topped it off with a creation from famous hat designer Philip Treacy.
Queen Letizia of Spain, 2004
Journalist Letizia Ortiz married King Felipe of Spain in a design by Manuel Pertegaz. The wedding dress featured natural silks, embroidered with gold thread and a 15-foot train.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, 2010
The heir to the Swedish throne wore an off-the-shoulder gown by Pär Engsheden for her 2010 wedding. Like Queen Silvia, Princess Victoria topped the otherwise uncomplicated look (except for that incredibly long train) with the Napoleonic-era cameo tiara.
Kate Middleton, 2011
What else can we say about Kate Middleton’s lace-covered Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding dress that hasn’t already been said? Like Princess Diana and Grace Kelly before her, Kate’s dress spawned thousands of copycat designs and is still influencing bridal trends today.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, 2011
Charlene Wittstock married Monaco’s Prince Albert in an Armani Privé dress, which she herself called a “masterpiece.” Roberta Armani told Vogue that “it was such a huge responsibility that we actually made two dresses just in case something happened to one of them.” According to the publication, the dress took over 2,500 hours to create and featured a five-meter-long train adorned with 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother-of-pearl teardrops.
Zara Phillips, 2011
Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips married Mike Tindall in a classic A-line wedding dress created by the queen’s couturier, Stewart Parvin.
Stephanie de Lannoy, 2012
The Belgian duchess wore an ivory Elie Saab wedding dress, complete with a 13-foot long train, to marry the heir to the throne of Luxembourg.
Princess Salwa Aga Khan, 2013
Kendra Spears became Princess Salwa Aga Khan when she married Prince Rahim Aga Khan in 2013. For the couple’s wedding, the former model chose a classic ivory and gold sari.
Elisabetta Maria Rosboch von Wolkenstein, 2014
The ivory Valentino wedding dress Elisabetta wore to marry Belgium’s Prince Amedeo was topped off with a 5-meter-long point d’esprit tulle veil.
Princess Sofia of Sweden, 2015
Sofia Hellqvist said “I do” to Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip in a long-sleeve dress. Created by Ida Sjöstedt, the gown was covered in delicate lace made by José María Ruiz and a hand-cut and hand-stitched train.
Meghan Markle, 2018
With the whole world watching, Meghan Markle embodied every ounce of royal grace in a classic and surprisingly minimalist wedding dress designed by Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller, which was topped off with the Queen Mary Filigree tiara.
“The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasizes the slender sculpted waist,” the palace noted in a statement. “The lines of the dress extend towards the back where the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity.” The veil represented all 53 countries in the British Commonwealth, with floral embroidery for each. It also hid a sweet message for Prince Harry: Markle’s “something blue” was a piece of the dress she wore on the couple’s first date sewn into the veil.
Meghan Markle, 2018
Meghan Markle’s Givenchy wedding dress may have been the main event, but we were even more blown away by her reception attire. To dance the night away with their closest friends and family (including Serena Williams and George Clooney), Meghan slipped into a sophisticated halter dress by Stella McCartney.
Princess Eugenie, 2018
Princess Eugenie wed Jack Brooksbank on October 12, 2018, wearing a custom gown by British label Peter Pilotto. The regal dress featured a slightly off-the-shoulder neckline, long sleeves, and a dramatic train. While also beautiful, the ensemble had a meaningful, touching design. The back of the dress dipped to show off the princess’s scar from a childhood scoliosis operation, a silhouette she specifically requested. The fabric’s jacquard weave contained a thistle for Scotland (due to the couple’s fondness for Balmoral, a Scottish castle on a royal estate), a shamrock (a nod to Eugenie’s Irish heritage on her mother’s side), and the York rose and ivy (representing the couple’s home).
Princess Eugenie, 2018
Like several royal brides before her, Princess Eugenie opted for an outfit change for her wedding reception. For this look, the royal princess recruited close friend and designer Zac Posen to create a Grace Kelly-inspired gown. The gown featured an unexpected shade: blush. The chosen hue, which was a nod to the English rose, broke royal tradition by deviating from the white and ivory shades of bridal gowns past.
Lady Gabriella Windsor, 2019
The daughter of Prince Michael of Kent, the Queen’s cousin, Lady Gabriella Windsor wed Thomas Kingston at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor in May 2019. Designed by Italian designer Luisa Beccaria, her lace gown featured an illusion neckline and long sleeves.
Charlotte Casiraghi, 2019
Charlotte Casiraghi, Princess Grace of Monaco’s granddaughter, hosted an intimate royal wedding at the beginning of June 2019. However, a proper celebration followed a month later. For her second wedding in Provence, Casiraghi wore a couture Giambattista Valli gown with a sheer neckline, lace detailing, and layers of tulle.
Marie Chevallier, 2019
2019 was a big year for Princess Grace’s grandchildren, as another one of her descendants, Louis Ducruet, married his high school sweetheart in Monaco. The bride, Marie Chevallier, wore three different outfits throughout the wedding weekend. For the civil ceremony, Chevallier wore a silk jumpsuit—a royal wedding first—and later changed into a short lace dress with an overskirt for the reception. However, it was her church ceremony look that stole our hearts. Designed by Atelier Boisanger and the groom’s sister, Pauline Ducruet, the white gown featured Zagar and chantilly lace and was paired with a dramatic veil.
Countess Olympia von und zu Arco-Zinneberg, 2019
Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon Bonaparte, a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte, married Countess Olympia von und zu Arco-Zinneberg, the great-granddaughter of Austria’s last emperor, Karl I, in Paris. The bride wore a white Oscar de la Renta fern gown with a custom matching capelet and cathedral veil. The entire look was embroidered by 10 dressmakers and took over 1,440 hours to create.
Princess Beatrice, 2020
After canceling her May 2020 nuptials, Princess Beatrice wed Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in secret on July 17, 2020. Both her “something borrowed” and “something old” happened to be her wedding dress, which she borrowed from Queen Elizabeth. The vintage number was designed by Norman Hartnell in the 1960’s. Of course, Bea made her grandmother’s gown her own by adding voluminous organza sleeves and altering the hem. The unexpected bridal look was complete with Queen Mary’s diamond fringe tiara—the same tiara Queen Elizabeth wore down the aisle in 1947.