The Greatest Royal Wedding Dresses Throughout Recent History

Shannon Quinn - August 21, 2021
The wedding day of Anne Abel Smith and David Liddell-Grainger. Credit: Getty Images

7. Anne Abel Smith and David Liddell-Grainger in 1957

Many of you may have never heard of this wedding, because it involves lesser-known royals. Anne Abel Smith was the cousin of Queen Elisabeth, and the granddaughter of Princess Alice. Her sister was Princess Betrix of the Netherlands. The wedding took place in Windsor Castle in St. George’s Chapel. Anne wore a long sleeved satin ball gown on her wedding day to David Liddell-Grainer. He was formerly a member of the Scots Guards. 

According to the Associated Press Archives, the royal cousin’s wedding was filled with members of the royal family. Some of the guests included the Queen and the Queen Mother, the Duchess of Kent, and Prince Michael. Even though Anne was not a princess herself, she was still given the royal treatment. As long as you’re connected with the royal family, you’re going to have a spectacular wedding day.

Actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainer of Monaco. Credit: Getty Images

6. Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer of Monaco in 1956

Grace Kelly was a famous actress who captured the hearts of millions. Many men dreamed of being with her, but only one could capture her heart.  Grace first met her future husband on the French Riviera in 1955 while she was filming To Catch a Thief. Grace retired from acting in favor of becoming a princess. However, she and her husband tragically died in a car accident in 1982.

On her wedding day, Grace Kelly wore a gown created by a costume designer from MGM named Helen Rose. It shouldn’t be surprising, considering that Helen designed several gorgeous dresses for Grace in movies like High Society and The Swan.  Helen Rose used antique lace, 25 yards of silk taffeta, and 100 yards of silk netting. The dress became so famous, that it inspired future wedding dresses of celebrities. Kim Kardashian, Ivanka Trump, and Kate Middleton all designed their wedding dresses to look like Grace Kelly.

The Kennedy family is considered to be apart of American Royalty. Credit: Getty Images

5. Jacqueline Onassis and John F. Kennedy in 1953

Technically, the Kennedy family doesn’t hold any royal title or wear a crown, because they’re from the United States. Here in the United States, if your family is rich and sophisticated enough, it’s just as good as being a royal. The wedding of future President John F. Kennedy to Jacqueline Onassis was an incredibly high-profile event. They were married on June 25, 1953 at St Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island. It has been estimated that they had between 750 to 800 guests, but some sources claim it was as high as 1,200.

Jackie’s dress was designed by a woman named Ann Lowe, who wasn’t very well known She was an African American designer from Alabama who specialized in creating dresses for elite families. Ann was the low-key dressmaker for the likes of other American families like the Rockefellers and DuPonts. Just ten days before the wedding, the dress was almost destroyed in a flood. That could have spelled out tragedy for the Kennedy wedding, but it was saved from experiencing water damage. This was years before John F Kennedy became President of the United States, but it was clear on that day that he had a bright future ahead of him.

Beautiful Queen Soraya of Iran wore a custom Christian Dior gown on her wedding day. Credit: Getty Images

4. Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlevi and Queen Soraya of Iran in 1951

Both Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlevi and Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari were married once before, but that didn’t stop them from getting remarried. These two royal divorcees came together for yet another show-stopping royal wedding. According to reports, she was rushed into a second marriage, because it was necessary for her to keep her crown. Soraya became the new Queen of Iran from 1951 to 1958. Even though it was their second wedding, Soraya was given a beautiful royal wedding that she deserved. 

On her wedding day, Queen Soraya of Iran chose a custom wedding gown by fashion designer Christian Dior. The dress was made with 37 yards of silver lame, because a Queen deserves that, of course. It was embellished with 20,000 feathers, and 6,000 diamonds. The dress itself was worth more than what many people in her country had to their name. Even though the pictures make the day look idyllic, Soraya was actually sick with typhoid. She had to wear a woolen vest and socks to keep her warm up until the last minute. Years later, when doctors confirmed that she could not produce an heir to the throne, they divorced.

Rita Hayworth and Aly Khan’s wedding day. Credit: Getty Images

3. Rita Hayworth and Aly Khan in 1949

Many of you might recognize Rita Hayworth, who was a famous movie star in the 1930’s and 40’s. Her beauty and talent brought her to the attention to Prince Aly Khan. This was Rita Hayworth’s third marriage, so she chose to go with a more modest wedding dress for husband number three. This is traditional for second or third marriages, because white is supposed to be reserved for a virgin wedding. Rita’s wedding dress was inspired by Christian Dior’s 1947 New Look collection. The dress was in ice blue crepe. had long sleeves, a long skirt, and she topped it off with an elegant hat.

As you can imagine, the story was a heyday for the press. Cameras were flashing, because everyone wanted to know more about the Hollywood starlet who married a prince. If you’re curious, you can still watch the news coverage of their wedding day in front of the mayor when she became a princess. Unfortunately, this royal wedding didn’t spell out “happily ever after” for the actress. Rita was married to the prince from 1949 to 1953, which is when they divorced. She continued to act in films long after her divorce and eventual new marriages.

The wedding of King Michael and Princess Anne. Credit: Getty Images

2. King Michael of Romania and Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma in 1948

Once upon a time, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma was a Macy’s sales girl. She also served her country proudly, because she volunteered for the French army in World War II. When she was married, she transformed, because she is actually a real Danish princess. She wore a gown covered with rose colored tulle with an eleven foot long train that required 3 pages to carry it down the aisle! She was married to Prince Michael of Romania, who would later become the future king.

At the time, the King and Queen of Romania was deposed by the Communist party. Because of this, they weren’t even allowed to enter their home country until 1992. Since they needed to flee the country, both of them were married in Athens, Greece. Several royals from other European nations attended the wedding to show their full support. Many people in Romania still loved the royal family, despite the fact that it was now Communist. So they were still curious to know as much as they could about the royal wedding.

It took seven weeks to make Queen Elizabeth’s dress. Credit: Getty Images

1. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1947

Last and certainly not least is the famous wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1947. When people in the media simply say “The Queen”, they’re always referencing Queen Elizabeth II. At least, this is true here in the United States, because our nation was once occupied by the British.) There is even the TV series about her life called The Crown on Netflix, which includes a visual retelling of her wedding day. Obviously, you can’t have an article about royal weddings without Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Her Royal Majesty’s wedding gown was designed by Norman Hartnell, who created a dress made of duchesse satin as well as Chinese silk. At the time, the silk was purchased from China because it was the most politically correct thing to do. Since this happened not long after World War II, they kept away from both Japanese and Italian silks, considering that it was still far too soon to support them. The dress design was inspired by Botticelli’s painting Primavera. Queen Elizabeth even saved up her ration cards to pay for her own dress, but it was still far from normal. It took 350 women seven full weeks to work on and complete the gown.