Royal Wedding First Dance Songs Throughout the Decades

What did Prince Harry bust a move to?

Updated 10/05/18

Getty Images

As we have learned from both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's May royal wedding and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's upcoming nuptials, there are seemingly a million and one wedding traditions royals are expected to adhere to on the big day—from having Welsh gold wedding rings to featuring only children in their bridal parties. But, there's one nuptial-related component that the aristocracy shares in common with non-royal brides and grooms—they love their sappy, sentimental first dance songs just as much as the rest of us peasants. Although, the royals have a bit of an upper hand in that they have the capacity to hire some of the top celebrity performers to sing at their receptions, but that's beside the point.

Princess Eugenie's wedding is just a week away, and we're dying to know what romantic tune she and Jack Brooksbank will choose for their first dance. Rumors are swirling that the 28-year-old bride reportedly wants a festival-style reception, so we're on the edge of our seats waiting to see this royals x Coachella mashup. (A little Lana Del Rey, anyone?) Or perhaps she'll take some inspiration from the royals who have wed before her...

Below, the first dance songs royal couples have played at their regal wedding receptions. Whether you're brainstorming ideas for your own first dance song or are simply just as obsessed with all things royal wedding related as we are, check out these royal-worthy tunes of choice. You might be surprised to find that when it comes to music selection, the monarchy is just like us.

01 of 06

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Getty Images

It wasn't deemed the wedding of the century for nothing, and they had the musical talent to prove it. The pair's actual first dance song has never been officially confirmed, but Charles and Diana turned to Lester Lanin, an American jazz and pop bandleader, and his orchestra to kick the reception into high gear. Lanin, who also performed at Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly's engagement party, played tunes like "They Say It's Wonderful" by Irving Berlin. According to The New York Times, Lanin wrote "My Lady Love" based on this royal pair's marriage.

02 of 06

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

For this pair's 2011 royal wedding, they enlisted the talent of British pop singer Ellie Goulding to serenade them at the reception—and no, they didn't choose "Love Me Like You Do" for their first song. Will and Kate took their turn around the dance floor to Goulding's live rendition of "Your Song" by Elton John, who was a close friend of the late Princess Diana. Despite being of an elevated social status herself, the "Burn" singer confessed that her nerves during the performance stand out most when she reflects on the wedding. Seems like being in the presence of royalty can get the best of anyone, famous or not.

03 of 06

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall

Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II's oldest granddaughter, who is currently expecting her third child, married rugby star Mike Tindall in July 2011, three months after Will and Kate tied the knot. This royal duo chose a completely classic and romantic wedding jam to commemorate their first dance as husband and wife—Frank Sinatra's "I’ve Got You Under My Skin."

04 of 06

Prince Carl and Princess Sofia

Getty Images

Princess Sofia and Prince Carl of Sweden wed in 2015, kicking off their reception with a turn around the dance floor to "Sofias Brudvals," a waltz written by Pelle Arhio and sung by Swedish artist Per Bredhammar. They later kicked the music up a notch with performances by Icona Pop and Avicii (RIP). Looks like these two set the bar high—take note, Harry and Meghan.

05 of 06

Prince Philip of Yugoslavia and Danica Marinković

Bride and Groom Portrait

Photo Courtesy of Photo Archive, Royal Palace Belgrade

In the first Serbian royal wedding since 1922, Prince Philip of Yugoslavia wed graphic designer and artist Danica Marinković in Belgrade last October. After the groom's touching toast to his family and new bride, the couple shared their first dance to Ben E. King's notorious "Stand by Me." Talk about the perfect love song to kick off this royal pair's love story.

06 of 06

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Getty Images

There's no denying that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding music was pitch perfect. Their ceremony tunes, including a cello performance by 19-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir's rendition of "Stand by Me," are pretty much unforgettable. But even after all that shockingly iconic ceremony music, Harry and Meghan's first dance tune still took us by surprise. At their May 19 reception, the royal newlyweds reportedly chose Whitney Houston’s 1987 hit, “I Want to Dance with Somebody" for their first dance.

Considering their no-phones-allowed rule at the celebration, it's hard to know for sure if this is really what the newlyweds boogied to, but, in a 2016 interview, the Duchess said the Whitney Houston classic was her "happy song," so it ultimately seems pretty fitting.

Related Stories