Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle’s Wedding Dresses Differ in One Key Detail

It’s a fashion risk one was able to take, while the other had to toe a more traditional line.

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked their eleventh wedding anniversary, and this week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary. For many royal watchers, one of the highlights of both days were Kate and Meghan’s choice in wedding dresses—Kate in Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Meghan in Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. Both dresses were knockouts, and both inspired countless brides.

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There’s no way you forgot this dress, but, just in case, a refresh: On April 29, 2011, the then Kate Middleton wore a lace-covered ivory gown with a corseted bodice—a gown inspired by classic Victorian styles, according to The Daily Express.

Meghan Markle

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Meghan’s May 19, 2018, stunner was pure white with a looser fit and a bateau neckline, revealing part of the bride’s shoulders. Though many brides break this rule, traditionally for royal weddings, shoulders are covered inside the church, making Meghan’s gown more risqué than Kate’s. It’s a risk Meghan was able to take because she wasn’t marrying the heir to the throne; Kate had to adhere to all royal rules, says Harriet Castle of Public Desire (opens in new tab), who spoke to the Express about both gowns.

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Both of their wedding dresses were stunning and really reflected both of their styles and positions in the family perfectly,” she says. “The neckline is one major differing point. Kate went for a v-neck, which kickstarted a trend among brides at the time. Her look overall was cleaner, whereas Meghan took more risks. Meghan’s boatneck design was seen as a bit more risqué for a royal wedding, but it suited her perfectly.”

And, though both wedding dresses remain two of the most popular of the modern era, it’s Meghan’s that is the most popular, according to research looking at global monthly Google searches for wedding dresses from 15 of the most popular royal weddings.

“Meghan’s wedding dress is officially the most searched for…with more Google searches than any other royal bride in the world,” the Express says. “Kate has the world’s second favorite royal wedding dress.”

And not to be totally outdone, despite her wedding taking place over 74 years ago, the Queen’s 1947 wedding dress ranks fifth, with over 7,700 searches on average per month. Princess Diana’s 1981 dress is the third most searched behind her daughters-in-law, with an average of 30,000 searches each month.

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Weekend Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the weekend editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.