Royal Wedding Dresses of Great Britain- Queen Elizabeth

Posted by Azure on December 17th, 2010
About Bride Chic

Kate Middleton's wedding dress is the Christmas morning anticipation of not only the bridal but fashion world. I thought it might be fun to look back through the eras and see who was wearing what designed by who. Let's start with Queen Elizabeth, shall we?

Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten of Greece and Denmark in 1947. On the Queen and Duke’s 60th wedding anniversary, an exhibition ran at Buckingham Palace commemorating that day when post-war England rejoiced in a very royal wedding celebration —just the shot of magic dust the country needed.

Making their first appearances since 1947 are the royal bridal ensembles. Elizabeth’s royal wedding dress (above) and the portrait-collared bridesmaid’ gown in the below photo were designed by Norman Hartnell. Hartnell, a brilliant designer had been Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mum) since 1938. Part of his claim to fame was taking commissions on wedding gowns for European society in the 1930s-40s era. Known for his intricate bead work adorning miles of tulle and satin, with the commission of Elizabeth’s gown, he used an ivory duchesse satin ornamented with thousands of crystals and 10,000 tiny pearls imported from America. He said the elaborately embroidered star designs on the 13-foot train were the inspiration of Botticelli’s Primavera, signifying revival and hope after so many years of war. The tiara pictured below is ‘something borrowed’; Elizabeth wore this priceless jewelled diadem which was especially made for her grandmother Queen Mary.

It is interesting that in an age when closed-toe pumps were standard for formal weddings, Elizabeth went with these little fashionista satin platform sandals with silver buckles and peekaboo toes.

A last note about Elizabeth’s dress: If it weren’t for a savvy restoration team (Keeper of the Robes), her magnificent silk dress would have deteriorated years back. The weight of the bead work over time has weakened the fabric to such a point, in order for it to hang properly, a cotton underskirt had to be constructed to keep the skirt and bodice in one piece.

The next royal up for a bridal fashion rundown is Princess Margaret, who was quite the fashion plate for her time. So check back soon to get the skinny!

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