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39 of the Most Iconic Royal Wedding Dresses Throughout History

From Princess Diana to Grace Kelly.

By Roberta Correia and Maggie Kreienberg Updated on 05/17/21


If you didn't get enough of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding mania 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 dress to Princess Diana's long train to Grace Kelly and the lace dress that launched a thousand others (visions of Kate Middleton anyone?), these royal women sure know how to rock a dress down the aisle.

Meghan Markle's classic Claire Waight Keller dress is already one for the history books, but did you know it bears a striking resemblance to Princess Margaret's simple silk gown? Did you also know that Queen Victoria popularized the white wedding dress? Before her, women just wore their best dress down the aisle. And most recently, Princess Beatrice made the case for vintage gowns by wearing a dress from her grandmother's royal closet! To learn more, scroll through to see 39 iconic royal wedding dresses throughout history.

01of 39 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 her cousin 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. 02of 39 Mary of Teck, 1893


Mary of Teck married the future King George V, Queen Victoria's grandson and Queen Elizabeth'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. 03of 39 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 was considered a trendsetting piece of fashion, with its dropped waist, pearl and silver embellishments, and very 1920s headpiece. 04of 39 Wallis Simpson, 1937


or her wedding to the Duke of Windsor at the Château de Candé in France, Wallis Simpson (the world's most famous divorcée), wore a dress by designer Mainbocher. The pale blue color was custom created for the Duchess, and coined "Wallis blue." 05of 39 Queen Elizabeth, 1947


or her wedding to Prince Phillip, the then Princess Elizabeth chose a satin Duchesse long-sleeved wedding gown with floral embroidery and crystal and pearl appliqué (10,000 pearls, to be exact) designed by Norman Hartnell, who cited Botticelli's painting "Primavera" as his inspiration. The 13-foot silk train made for quite the entrance and no doubt set royal wedding trends for the future. 06of 39 Rita Hayworth, 1949


Rita Hayworth's wedding dress was an instant classic. The screen siren married Prince Aly Khan in a periwinkle blue dress, complete with matching hat from Christian Dior's classic New Look collection. 07of 39 Queen Soraya of Iran, 1951


For the over-the-top 1951 wedding, the Empress of Iran's magnificent Christian Dior dress was completed with 20,000 feathers and 6,000 diamonds. 08of 39 Grace Kelly, 1956


Grace Kelly's wedding dress has become the stuff of designer, bride-to-be, and fashionista's dreams everywhere; the symbol of fairy-tale weddings, and one of the most often referenced wedding gowns in history. The high-necked, long-sleeved dress, with a long, 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. 09of 39 Princess Margaret, 1960


The silk organza wedding dress worn by Princess Margaret was also designed by Norman Hartnell, and was described by Life magazine as "the simplest royal wedding gown in history." The Princess would perhaps start a trend, as many royals after her would wear a similar minimal, long-sleeved silhouette. 10of 39 Queen Fabiola, 1960


Designed by Cristóbol Balenciaga himself, Queen Fabiola's wedding dress, featuring a white mink trim, was so amazing it's currently housed at the Balenciaga Museum in Spain. 11of 39 Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, 1966


The minimalist satin wedding dress Princess Beatrix wore to her 1966 wedding was designed by Bergé-Farwick of Maison Linette, and featured a long train. 12of 39 Princess Margrethe of Denmark, 1967


The now Queen of Denmark chose a gown by Danish designer Jørgen Bende. The front of the square-necked and long-sleeved dress was covered in a piece of lace that has been used on several of the royal family's wedding dresses. 13of 39 Queen Silvia of Sweden, 1976


Dior's Marc Bohan also designed Queen Silvia's minimalist wedding dress. What wasn't minimalistic was the Cameo tiara she donned. 14of 39 Princess Caroline of Monaco, 1978


Grace Kelly's daughter, Princess Caroline of Monaco, married Phillipe Junot in a very 1970s wedding dress by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior. She shunned a tiara in favor of two buns (very Princess Leia before Princess Leia) covered in dainty floral crowns. Trendsetting must run in the family. 15of 39 Queen Noor, 1978


American Lisa Halaby, the future Queen Noor, married Jordan's King Hussein wearing a demure high-necked Christian Dior gown. 16of 39 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. Most famously, the 25-foot long train, adorned with lace that once belonged to Queen Mary, defined a decade of brides in the 1980s, who all longed for that same showstopping, dramatic entrance. 17of 39 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. 18of 39 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. 19of 39 Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, 1995

When Marie-Chantal Marie 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. 20of 39 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. 21of 39 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. 22of 39 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. 23of 39 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 minimal look (except for that incredibly long train) with the Napoleonic-era Cameo tiara. 24of 39 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 brides and is still influencing bridal trends today. 25of 39 Princess Charlene of Monaco, 2011


Charlene Wittstock married Monaco's Prince Albert in an Armani Privé, which she called a "masterpiece." Roberta Armani told Vogue, “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 2,500 hours to make and featured a five-meter-long train adorned with 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother-of-pearl teardrops. 26of 39 Zara Phillips, 2011


Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips married Mike Tindall in a classic English A-line wedding dress created by the queen's couturier Stewart Parvin. 27of 39 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. 28of 39 Princess Salwa Aga Khan, 2013


Kendra Spears became Princess Salwa Aga Khan when she married Prince Rahim Aga Khan in 2013. For the traditional wedding, the former model chose a classic ivory and gold sari. 29of 39 Elisabetta Maria Rosboch von Wolkenstein, 2014


The ivory Valentino wedding dress Elisabetta wore to marry Belgium's Prince Amedeo was topped off with a five-meter long point d'esprit tulle veil. 30of 39 Princess Sofia of Sweden, 2015


Sofia Hellqvist said "I do" to Sweden's Prince Carl Philip in a long-sleeved lace dress with serious Duchess Kate vibes. Created by Ida Sjöstedt, the gown was covered in delicate lace made by José María Ruiz and a hand-cut then hand-stitched train. 31of 39 Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, 2018


With the whole world watching, Meghan Markle was every ounce of royal grace in a classic and surprisingly minimal wedding dress designed by Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller, which was topped off with the Queen Mary Filigree tiara. In a statement, the palace noted, "the focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasizes the slender sculpted waist. 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 of the British Commonwealth, with floral embroidery for each, and hid a sweet message for Prince Harry; her "something blue" was a piece of the dress she wore on their first date sewn into the veil. 32of 39 Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, 2018


Meghan Markle's Givenchy wedding dress was the talk of the town during the royal wedding, but we were even more blown away by her reception dress. To dance the night away with their closest friends and family (including Serena Williams and George Clooney), Meghan slipped into a sexy Stella McCartney halter dress. 33of 39 Princess Eugenie, 2018


Princess Eugenie wed Jack Brooksbank on October 12, 2018, wearing a custom gown by British label Peter Pilotto. The regal gown featured a slightly off-the-shoulder neckline, long sleeves and a dramatic train. While beautiful, the gown also had a sentimental touch as well. 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). 34of 39 Princess Eugenie, 2018


Like several royal brides before her, Princess Eugenie had an outfit change just before her wedding reception. For this look, the royal recruited close friend and designer Zac Posen to create a Gracey Kelly-inspired gown. The stunning blush gown, which was a nod to the English rose, broke royal tradition and was another way the princess personalized her special day. 35of 39 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, the lace gown featured an illusion neckline and long sleeves. 36of 39 Charlotte Casiraghi, 2019


Even though Princess Grace of Monaco's granddaughter Charlotte Casiraghi hosted a very low-key royal wedding at the beginning of June 2019, she hosted a proper celebration 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. 37of 39 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 between the two ceremonies and one reception throughout the 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 Pauline Ducruet, the groom's sister, the white gown featured zagar and chantilly lace and was paired with a dramatic veil. 38of 39 Countess Olympia von und zu Arco-Zinneberg, 2019


Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon Bonaparte, a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte I, 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 to create. 39of 39 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 1960s. 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 the Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara—the same tiara Queen Elizabeth wore down the aisle in 1947.

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