The Best Royal Wedding Dresses of the Last 70 Years

What were regal brides wearing the year you were born?

Getty Images

An inexhaustible source of wonder for us commoners, royal weddings offer us a glimpse into a world filled with Dior-embellished grace and Manolo Blahnik heels. The central figure of these lavish nuptials is, of course, not only the bride, but the dress she decides upon. In honor of the upcoming nuptials between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, here’s a look at some of the most extravagant royal wedding gowns from the last 70 years and the stories behind them.

Getty Images
1 of 51
1947: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Designer Norman Hartnell had the honor of designing Her Majesty’s rich duchess satin dress, which drew inspiration from Botticelli’s painting Primavera. The dress was made of silk from China (not Japan or Italy, given the proximity to World War II) and was intended to symbolize “rebirth and growth.” The then-princess famously saved up ration cards to pay for the dress, which took 350 women seven weeks to create.

Getty Images
2 of 51
1948: King Michael of Romania and Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma

The princess, a former Macy’s salesgirl and volunteer for the French army during World War II, donned a light ivory gown with a lengthy train for her wedding to King Michael of Romania. Although the Romanian king had been forced to abdicate the year before communists and the couple weren’t actually able to return to Romania except for a three-day trip in 1992, BBC reports that they still remained popular—even loved—by the Romanian public.

Getty Images
3 of 51
1949: Rita Hayworth and Aly Khan

Leaving her film career behind to marry Prince Aly Khan—a son of Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III—Rita Hayworth found inspiration in Christian Dior’s 1947 New Look collection. Her third wedding dress embodied Dior’s classic elegance with its small bust and long, ample skirt.

Getty Images
4 of 51
1951: Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlevi and Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiary

The last Empress of Iran opted for a custom Christian Dior wedding gown. Thirty-seven yards of silver lamé embellished with 20,000 feathers and 6,000 diamonds were used to create the opulent dress.

Getty Images
5 of 51
1953: Jacqueline Onassis and John F. Kennedy

Often referred to as America’s royal family, the Kennedy's put together one of the 20th century’s most high-profile nuptials for the wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier. Ann Lowe, a relatively under-the-radar designer from Alabama, created Jackie’s stunning gown. Making Lowe's creation all the more impressive is the fact that a flood nearly destroyed the dress just ten days before the wedding. (Luckily it wasn't harmed.)

Bride, Wedding dress, Photograph, Gown, Dress, Bridal clothing, Veil, Wedding, Ceremony, Bridal accessory,
Getty Images
6 of 51
1956: Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer of Monaco

When Hollywood star Grace Kelly married the Monegasque leader, she wore a gown by MGM costumer Helen Rose, who had dressed her for her films High Society and The Swan. The most expensive dress ever made by Helen Rose, the gown used lace that was over one hundred years old, as well as 25 yards of silk taffeta, and 100 yards of silk net.

Kelly’s famously glamorous dress inspired bridal looks for Kate Middleton, Kim Kardashian (in her wedding to Kris Humphries), and Ivanka Trump.

7 of 51
1957: Anne Abel Smith and David Liddell-Grainger

The granddaughter of Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, a member of the British royal family, chose a romantic long-sleeved, satin ball gown for her wedding to Scottish politician David Liddell-Grainger.

Getty Images
8 of 51
1960: Fabiola de Mora y Aragón and King Baudouin of Belgium

Queen Fabiola, a Spanish commoner who had been a nurse when she got engaged to the Belgian king, opted for a drop-waist dress made of ivory satin with white mink trim. Designed by none other than Cristóbol Balenciaga, the founder of the Balenciaga fashion house, the dress is currently on view at the Balenciaga Museum in Spain.

Getty Images
9 of 51
1963: Hope Cooke and Palden Thondup Namgyal (Crown Prince of Sikkim)

The Sarah Lawrence college student who later became Queen of Asia’s smallest kingdom (a princely state that was, at this time, a protectorate within India), dressed in red, a customary color at Buddhist weddings. The glamorous and exotic bridal look included a traditional ankle-length Sikkimese kho.

Getty Images
10 of 51
1964: Princess Anne Marie of Denmark and King Constantine II of Greece

Princess Anne Marie of Denmark wore a flowing, empire waist gown with three-quarter sleeves by Danish designer Jørgen Bender, when she married her love to become the Queen of Greece.

Getty Images
11 of 51
1966: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus van Amsberg

The bride sported a slender, high neckline gown with a lengthy train made by Caroline Bergé-Farwick of Maison Linette, a couturier to the Dutch royal family. Her groom was a German diplomat.

Getty Images
12 of 51
1967: Crown Princess Margrethe II of Denmark and Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat

Like her sister (Princess Anne Marie), the current reigning Queen of Denmark opted for a gown by Jørgen Bender, when she wed just three years later. The silk dress featured a square neckline and a lengthy train.

Getty Images
13 of 51
1968: Crown Prince Harald V of Norway and Sonja Haraldsen

Simple in its architecture but elegant nonetheless, Sonja Haraldson’s gown was created by Molstad, a clothing store in Oslo. She was a commoner, whom Harald had been dating for nine years and they were only allowed to marry when he gave his father an ultimatum: Sonja or no one.

Getty Images
14 of 51
1969: Diane Halfin and Prince Egon von Fürstenberg

The fashion icon (yep, that Diane Von Fürstenberg) opted for a wonderfully unconventional wedding dress by Marc Bohan of Dior for her wedding to Prince Egon, a member of Germany's aristocratic Fürstenberg family. Three months pregnant at the time of her nuptials, Diane accessorized the loose, cotton dress with a belt made of colorful ribbons.

Admiringly, Prince Egon credited Diane for making the von Fürstenberg name famous in a 1981 interview with Peopleyears after the couple's divorce.

Getty Images
15 of 51
1969: Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV, and Sally Croker-Poole

British model Sally Croker-Poole wore an understated-yet-opulent sari in iridescent ivory for her wedding to Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV, the current Imam of Nizari Ismailism, who—while considered royalty—does not rule over a geographic territory.

Getty Images
16 of 51
1976: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Silvia Sommerlath

Dior’s Marc Bohan designed Silvia’s minimalist, floor-length gown for Sweden’s first televised royal wedding. The bride accessorized notably, to say the least, wearing the Cameo Tiara that had been gifted by French Emperor Napoleon to his then-wife Josephine in the early 19th century.

Fellow history nerds: Learning how exactly this crown fell into the hands of the Swedish monarchy makes for an actually fun time.

Getty Images
17 of 51
1978: Lisa Najeed Halaby and King Hussein of Jordan

Princeton University architecture graduate Lisa Najeed Halaby (turned Queen Noor of Jordan) also donned a Dior gown by Marc Bohan for her wedding to King Hussein of Jordan. The dress featured with cowbell sleeves and intricate lace details.

KeystoneGetty Images
18 of 51
1978: Princess Caroline of Monaco and Philippe Junot

Princess Caroline, Grace Kelly’s daughter, wore a very-70’s dress with bell sleeves and floral embroidery (as well as a flower a crown attached to her veil) for her first wedding to Philippe Junot, a French banker (she would have two more).

Getty Images
19 of 51
1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

Nearly 750 million people tuned in to watch Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles—and see her now-iconic dress. Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the silk taffeta gown used hand-made Carrickmacross lace which once belonged to Queen Mary. The elegant confection also featured a 25-foot train, sequins, and the embroidery of 10,000 pearls.

Getty Images
20 of 51
1986: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

British courtier Lindka Cierach designed Sarah Ferguson’s ivory duchess satin and delicately beaded gown. In lovingly detailed fashion, the bottom of the dress’s 17-foot-train *literally* featured a large beaded "A" for Andrew.

Getty Images
21 of 51
1993: Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and Masako Owada

For her enthronement ceremony to Crown Prince Naruhito, Masako Owada wore a juni-hitoe (literal translation: “12-layered garment”), the most elegant and complex type of kimono worn exclusively by court-ladies in Japan.

Here, a picture of the bride in a more western-styled wedding gown before the Choken-no-Gi (First Audience Ceremony).

Getty Images
22 of 51
1994: Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and Daniel Chatto

Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, daughter of Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's sister, donned a simple, feminine dress created by British designer Jasper Conran. Conran’s website notes that the dress was made of silk crepe chiffon with an underskirt of light and heavy satin organza layers, with in silk crepe in between.

Getty Images
23 of 51
1995: Marie-Chantal Miller and Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece

Four months, twelve types of lace, and 25 people went into the creation of Marie-Chantal Miller’s $225,000 Valentino wedding gown. The ivory silk number also featured a 4.5 meter Chantilly lace train.

Infanta Cristina Of Spain Royal Wedding
Antony JonesGetty Images
24 of 51
1997: Infanta Cristina of Spain and Iñaki Urdangarin

Infanta Cristina exchanged vows with Inaki Urdangarin, a professional handball team player, in a custom off-the-shoulder gown by Spanish label Lorenzo Caprile.

Prince Maurits & Princess Marilene Royal Wedding
Mark CuthbertGetty Images
25 of 51
1998: Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau and Marilène van den Broek

Marilène chose an eggshell white gown, made primarily of silk duchesse, by Belgian designer Pierre Yves. The conservative ensemble included a cropped, wide collared jacket with small, delicate buttons.

Getty Images
26 of 51
1999: Prince Edward and Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones

When the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip got engaged, designer Samantha Shaw got to work on Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones’ feminine v-neck gown—which had 325,000 cut-glass and pearl beads sewn onto it.

27 of 51
2000: Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein and Angela Gisela Brown

The turn of the millennium saw Panama native Angela Gisela Brown become the first person of known African origin to marry a member of a reigning European dynasty. While making history, Princess Angela looked beautiful, donning a gown she designed herself.

Getty Images
28 of 51
2000: King Letsie III of Lesotho and Anna Karabo Motšoeneng

The first commoner to marry into the Royal Family of Lesotho in the small African country’s modern history, the now-Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso’s wedding had more than 40,000 guests in attendance at a Maseru football stadium—including none other than Nelson Mandela. The queen wore a jewel-encrusted, long-sleeved gown and gloves for the occasion.

Getty Images
29 of 51
2001: Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby

A wildly underrated, real-life Cinderella story, Mette-Marit Tjessem was a single mother and waitress prior to becoming Norwegian royalty. Mette-Marit met her Prince Charming (Crown Prince Haakon, to be technical) years before she had her first child at a music festival (!!!). In true happily ever fashion, the two eventually reconnected and wed.

Here, the Crown Princess is pictured in the understated-yet-elegant wedding dress she wore by Norwegian designer Ove Harder Finseth.

Getty Images
30 of 51
2003: Prince Laurent of Belgium and Claire Coombs

Edouard Vermeulen of the Belgian brand Natan created Claire Coomb’s off-the-shoulder wedding look. The gorgeous gown featured lace detailing at the neckline and along the sleeves.

Getty Images
31 of 51
2004: King Felipe VI of Spain and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano

Couturier Manuel Pertegaz designed the journalist-turned-queen’s silk-woven, open-collar dress, which featured a 15-foot train embroidered in silk and gold.

Getty Images
32 of 51
2005: Princess Nori of Japan and Yoshiki Kuroda

Technically, this one is not a royal wedding as Princess Nori of Japan left behind the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy to marry commoner Yoshiki Kuroda, a government official she met as a child. The only daughter of Emperor Akihito, the princess is now Mrs. Sayako Kuroda and lives in a rented Tokyo apartment. For her wedding day, she wore a brilliantly minimalist, A-line dress with satin gloves and a pearl necklace.

Getty Images
33 of 51
2005: Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles

For Camilla Parker Bowles’ long-awaited wedding to the heir of the British throne, she wore a light-blue chiffon dress beneath a blue-gold embellished coat—both by designer Anne Valentine. Rather than wearing a crown, Camilla went with an intricate headdress made of golden feathers by Ellen Tracey.

Getty Images
34 of 51
2008: Prince Joachim of Denmark and Marie Agathe Odile

Spanish-Italian fashion house Arasa Morelli designed the now-Princess of Denmark’s gown, which featured a sweetheart neckline, short sleeves, and an intricately laced tulle veil.

Getty Images
35 of 51
2010: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling

For her wedding to her personal trainer and gym owner Daniel Westling, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden wore an off-the-shoulder gown designed by Pär Engsheden. Victoria is the heir to Sweden’s throne and—fun fact—is also 196th in line to the British throne through her father, a third cousin of the Queen.

Getty Images
36 of 51
2011: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (Bhutan’s ‘Dragon King’) and Jetsun Pema

Jetsun Puna wore a brilliantly vibrant kira—the national dress for Bhutanese women—for her wedding to the world’s youngest reigning monarch and head of a new democracy. Puna herself was only 21 years old at the time of her wedding, which makes her the world's youngest living queen.

Getty Images
37 of 51
2011: Charlene Wittstock and Albert II of Monaco

Although this was not the biggest royal wedding of 2011 (you know what’s coming next), Charlene Wittstock’s Giorgio Armani gown is far too glamorous to be skimmed over. Approximately 2,500 hours and 80 meters of silk organza reportedly went into creating the former South African Olympic swimmer’s iridescent off-white gown.

Getty Images
38 of 51
2011: Prince William and Kate Middleton

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge wore a nip-waisted and long-sleeved gown designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. It’s been reported on the official royal-wedding website that the needlework craftsmen who handled the fabrics in Middleton’s dress and accessories washed their hands every thirty minutes. An estimated 2 billion people around the world saw photos of the British Royal Wedding and Kate’s stunning $400,000 dress.

Getty Images
39 of 51
2012: Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah and Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini

The fifth child of the Sultan of Brunei (one of the wealthiest men in the world), Princess Hajah Hafizah Surural Bolkiah dazzled in a wedding dress that was practically dripping in crystals.

Getty Images
40 of 51
2012: Stéphanie de Lannoy and Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg

For her 500,000-euro wedding to the heir of Luxembourg’s throne, the Belgian duchess wore an ivory Elie Saab gown with structured tailoring and elaborate detailing. The dress featured three-quarter sleeves, a silk tulle veil, and a 13-foot train.

The Wedding Ceremony of Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Kendra Salwa Spears
HandoutGetty Images
41 of 51
2013: Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Kendra Spears

American supermodel Kendra Spears wore an entrancingly elegant sari in ivory and gold from Manav Gangwani’s “Timeless” collection. The former face of Prada’s AW 2009 campaign gave kudos to Naomi Campbell for introducing her to the Indian designer in a tweet from the big day. Spears’ groom is the eldest son of the Aga Khan IV–the imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim world.

Getty Images
42 of 51
2013: Prince Felix and Claire Lademacher

The now-Princess Claire exchanged vows in an Elie Saab gown embroidered with Chantilly lace flowers. Signature to Elie Saab’s bridal collections, the dress balanced grandeur with a soft, feminine silhouette.

Getty Images
43 of 51
2013: Princess Hayu of Indonesia and Angger Pribadi Wibowo

The wedding ceremony of Princess Hayu and now-Prince Notonegoro, a United Nations worker, spanned three days and saw many stunning, elaborate outfits and costumes in accordance with royal Indonesian wedding traditions. For the bathing ritual element of the ceremony, which is done before the formal wedding vows takes place, the bride wore a dress of intricately woven flowers.

Getty Images
44 of 51
2013: Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill

Princess Madeleine, the youngest child of the King and Queen of Sweden, wore an off-the-shoulder Valentino gown for her wedding to financier Christopher O’Neill.

Getty Images
45 of 51
2014: Belgium’s Prince Amedeo and Elisabetta (Lili) Rosboch

Journalist Elisabetta Rosboch wore a Valentino gown with delicate, sheer details for her wedding to the nephew of reining Belgian monarch King Philippe.

Getty Images
46 of 51
2014: Princess Maria Theresia von Thurn und Taxis and Hugo Wilson

The German princess, a member of Germany’s Princely House of Thurn and Taxis, selected a brazen, scoop-necked gown painted with golden roses.

Getty Images
47 of 51
2017: Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Jr. and Ekaterina Malysheva

Technically, the German House of Hanover hasn’t ruled over a kingdom in over a century; but, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Jr.’s wedding to Ekaterina Malysheva was still an undoubtedly royal affair. Lebanese designer Sandra Mansour dressed the Russian-born, London-based bride in a gown composed of Chantilly lace, beaded details, and hints of light pink.

Fun fact: the royal bride happens to be a fashion designer herself. She runs a high-end jumpsuit line called EKAT.

Getty Images
48 of 51
2017: Pippa Middleton and James Matthews

Okay, not technically a royal wedding, but dubbed the society wedding of 2017, Prince William's sister-in-law wore a lace gown by British couturier Giles Deacon when she tied the knot with hedge fund manager James Matthew.

Wedding of Prince Christian of Hanover and Alessandra de Osma in Lima
Raul SifuentesGetty Images
49 of 51
2018: Prince Christian of Hanover and Alessandra de Osma

This wasn't the first time the pair walked down the aisle, but this one was the bigger affair: The 33-year-old royal (and brother of Prince Ernst August of Hanover) first wed the 26-year-old Peruvian fashion designer in a civil service in London in 2017, and held a religious ceremony at St. Peter's Church in her native country of Peru in March of 2018. The celebration itself took more than three days and multiple events.

De Osma wore a gown by Jorge Vázquez, with a high-neck line, long lace sleeves and full skirt. She paired the look with a long veil and train, as well as Hanover Floral Tiara that was previously worn by Princess Caroline of Monaco.

Getty Images
50 of 51
2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle wore a stunning three-quarter sleeve gown by Claire Wright Keller for Givenchy when she tied the knot with Prince Harry on May 19. As for the veil, it was "silk tulle with embroidery of flowers that represent the commonwealth," says Caroline Castigliano,'s royal wedding expert.

She added that Meghan's veil was "16.4042 meters long—much longer than Middleton's—although similarly fashioned from hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza."

Princess Eugenie Of York Marries Mr. Jack Brooksbank
WPA PoolGetty Images
51 of 51
2018: Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank

Princess Eugenie's Peter Pilotto gown embodied her simple yet modern approach to royalty—and looked just as good from the back. She decided to show off her scars from the scoliosis surgery she underwent when she was eight years old, which is the reason why she didn't wear a veil.

"The simplicity of the gown is definitely on trend," says's exclusive royal expert and bridal designer Caroline Castigliano. "The cuff detailing is very much at the forefront of bridal design today. I am sure elements of the gown will get copied and inspire other young brides."

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at
More From Culture