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.
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.
Queen Elizabeth, 1947
For 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.