The 17 Best Royal Wedding Dresses of All Time
From the pomp and circumstance to the fairytale story of a commoner marrying her prince charming, it's no wonder that there's such a fascination with royal weddings. But the most exciting part of the whole event? The wedding dress, of course. Does it come as a big surprise? What the bride will wear down the aisle is one of the most anticipated details of any wedding—it's no wonder that royal watchers are especially eager to see what a queen or princess chooses to wear on her big day.
With that in mind, we've rounded up our favorite royal wedding dresses ever. From lacy looks to couture numbers, there's no shortage of incredible bridal fashion inspiration here. Lace lovers should look to Kate Middleton, Princess Sofia, or Grace Kelly for ideas. If you favor a wedding-day look that's more structured, Queen Rania or Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, might just be your fashion icons. Prefer a simple, classic look? You can't go wrong mimicking Meghan Markle's sleek, understated wedding dress, or Princess Eugenie's jacquard silk, cotton, and viscose gown. Fancy yourself a boho girl? Queen Noor's custom Dior ensemble (from 1978!) is perfect for the free-spirited bride.
No matter which way your personal style leans, looking to the royals for some serious big day inspiration is always a great idea. We promise you won't be disappointed. And if you can't choose just one favorite look (we don't blame you!), there's no need to. Pick and choose your favorite elements on each dress, then mention those details to your consultant during your first shopping trip.
On Friday, October 12, 2018, Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank in a Peter Pilotto wedding dress. Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter tapped the Brit and his design partner, Christopher De Vos, to create the elegant jacquard silk, cotton, and viscose gown, which featured an off-the-shoulder neckline with a folded collar detail, extended train, long sleeves, and back ruffle. Just like Meghan Markle (who also tied the knot at St. George's Chapel in Windsor), Eugenie's dress was lace-free. But unlike many royal brides before her, Eugenie chose not to wear a veil in order to highlight the surgical scars she has from an operation to treat her scoliosis.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle, now known as the Duchess of Sussex, continued the recent tradition of wearing a custom wedding dress by a British designer at her May 19, 2018, nuptials to Prince Harry. Clare Waight Keller from the house of Givenchy designed the boat-neck gown with three-quarter-length sleeves. The simple, streamlined shape and unadorned silk were dressed up with an embroidered veil by the same designer and a tiara borrowed from Queen Elizabeth.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (née Kate Middleton)'s wedding dress was a wildly anticipated (but well-kept!) secret prior to her April 29, 2011, nuptials to Prince William. The result was an exquisite Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress featuring an ivory lace bodice with a V-neck and long, lace sleeves that has inspired hundreds of look-a-likes since.
Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland
On June 13, 2015, at the Royal Palace of Stockholm, former model and reality TV star Sofia Hellqvist walked down the aisle to marry husband, Prince Carl Philip, wearing a custom Ida Sjöstedt gown (not unlike the Duchess of Cambridge's Alexander McQueen dress), featuring long lace sleeves and an A-line silhouette.
On April 19, 1956, this Hollywood star became European royalty when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco wearing a gown designed Helen Rose. The Academy Award-winning costume designer made this iconic wedding dress from 25 yards of taffeta and 125-year-old lace embroidered with pearls.
While the poufy sleeves and ruffled neckline of Princess Diana's taffeta wedding dress might seem a bit too '80s for today, there's no denying that David and Elizabeth Emanuel's design with its record-breaking 25-foot train is iconic. "The dress had to be something that was going to go down in history, but also something that Diana loved. And we knew it was going to be at St. Paul's, so it had to be something that would fill the aisle and be quite dramatic," Elizabeth Emanuel said in Diana: The Portrait
. Goal achieved.
Queen Rania of Jordan
When Rania Yassin wed Prince Abdullah, the eldest son of Jordan's King Hussein, at the Royal Palace in Amman on June 10, 1993 she wore a short-sleeved dress with golden details by Bruce Oldfield (a favorite designer of Princess Diana's).
Queen Elizabeth II
Royal brides, they're just like us, right? After World War II, the future Queen of England had to use clothing ration coupons to pay for her wedding dress. But Norman Hartnell's design was still worthy of a princess. Inspired by Botticelli's Primavera, he embellished the satin gown with thousands of seed pearls and crystals in an ornate floral pattern.
The other major royal wedding of 2011 was the marriage of Grace Kelly's son, Prince Albert II of Monaco, to Charlene Wittstock. The South African Olympic swimmer wore an Armani Privé duchesse silk dress that featured 40,000 Swarovski crystals and a 16-foot train.
Choosing the same wedding dress designer as her older sister, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret commissioned Norman Hartnell to create this relatively unadorned silk organza gown for her wedding to photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960.
Queen Soraya of Iran
When she wed the last Shah of Iran in 1951, Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari wore a custom Christian Dior wedding dress made of 37 yards of silver lamé embellished with 20,000 feathers and 6,000 diamonds.
Queen Noor of Jordan
For her 1978 wedding to Jordan's King Hussein, the American-born bride wore a simple white silk crepe dress by Christian Dior with a high neckline and a loose, flowing skirt.
Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden
Swedish designer Pär Engsheden created this ivory satin wedding dress with a wide boat neck collar for the future Queen of Sweden to marry her personal trainer, Daniel Westling in 2010.
Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Cristóbal Balenciaga designed Queen Fabiola's dress for her December 15, 1960 wedding to King Baudouin of Belgium. The drop-waist dress was made of ivory satin with white mink trim and is now on display at the Balenciaga Museum in Spain.
Queen Letizia of Spain
When you're marrying the future king of Spain, you need to pick a dress worthy of a queen. Journalist Letizia Ortiz did just that for her wedding at Madrid's Almudena Cathedral in 2004, where she wore a high-collared dress designed by Manuel Pertegaz with silver and gold embroidery around the edges of its 15-foot train.
For her 1937 wedding to the former King of England who famously abdicated his throne to marry the two-time divorcée, Wallis Simpson wore a slim-fitting Mainbocher dress in her signature shade of pale "Wallis Blue" to match her eyes. The dress is now a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection.
Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall
While Camilla Parker-Bowles wore a stylish cream-colored dress and coat to her civil wedding ceremony on April 9, 2005, we much prefer this elegant blue and gold damask dress coat by designer Anna Valentine with a matching chiffon dress she wore to the service of blessing later on at Windsor Castle. And opting for a spray of gold feathers instead of wearing a tiara? Genius.