Secret details behind the magnificent royal wedding dresses

Besides choosing lavish dresses, traditionally royal brides have hidden secret messages in their attires to honor past royals or their grooms.

Royal weddings are amongst the most seen events in the world. The idea of being invited to witness an event that used to be highly private and only reserved for the elites has made of royal weddings something everybody want's to give a glimpse to, and fortunately, since Queen Elizabeth, we've been allowed to do so in one way or another.

Not only that, weddings are inherently tied to the British monarchy since most of the traditions we do know and follow were actually introduced by Queen Victoria and her regal wedding to Prince Albert. That includes, of course, the gorgeous white dress every bride wears on her special day. 


Having said that, we can't deny that Royal dresses are pretty much what we all want to see in all royal weddings, and all of the royal brides have gone the extra mile to wear true pieces of art. Besides that, pretty much all of them have intricate secret meanings invisible for the common eye that intend to honor either other royals or the bride's family members and birthplace. Here is how these royal brides have wittily hidden some messages in their wedding dresses.

Princess Anne

Princess Anne's dress might be one of the most interesting and most original of them all. The dress that strangely resembles that of the beloved Princess Leia from Star Wars, was made of white silk chiffon and decorated with embroidered pearls and jewels. Princess Anne was the first of the four children of Queen Elizabeth to get married, and naturally, the whole country was expectant to see what the Princess Royal was going to wear. 


The ceremony took place in Westminster Abbey in November 1973 and the dress didn't disappoint. She wore a Tudor-style gown with long trumpet sleeves. Adorning her hair, and as her something-borrowed item, was a tiara adorned with Queen Mary of Teck's fringe. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth wore the same one on her wedding day, the piece was a gift to Mary from Queen Victoria herself.

Anne also set a gorgeous bouquet with a lot of meaning behind it. She went for myrtles taken from the same bush Queen Victoria's bouquet was set, this has been a royal tradition since.


Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew tied the knot in 1986 amid a press backlash towards the bride-to-be, which wasn't seen as worthy of becoming a royal. Fergie, as she came to be known, changed the prejudices of many when she descended the carriage and revealed her classy wedding dress. The ivory gown wasn't only truly regal but also had some meaning hidden in the intricate embroidery of the fabric. 

Fergie had just designed her family's coat of arms as per tradition and asked for the designers to add them to the dress. Embroidered were some bumblebees and thistles (Scotland's flower), as well as some anchors and waves to honor her soon-to-be husband's navy career. Besides that, concealed in the 20-foot long veil was Andrew's monogram and in the bodice, she added her initials in silver beads.


As for the bouquet, Fergie followed the tradition and added some sprigs of myrtle, but she wanted to do something original. Her bouquet was shaped like an S that looked beautiful when she waved at the people. She also added some lilies of the valley.

However, Fergie didn't stop there with flowers. When she descended the carriage she was wearing a gorgeous flower tiara with gardenias, Andrew's favorite. Once the ceremony ended, and they were husband and wife, Fergie took out the flowers revealing a shiny tiara to symbolize her entrance to the royal family.


Princess Eugenie

Fergie's youngest daughter, Princess Eugene, married Jack Brooksbank in 2018, a couple of months after her cousin Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. She wore a stunning white dress with her shoulders off and, as her mother, decided to add some motifs full of meaning. She added a thistle, which was a nod to the Royal residence of Balmoral (and part of her mother's family coat of arms). She also added an Irish shamrock to honor her mother's family, a York rose, and ivy as a nod to the Ivy Cottage (her future residency) at Kensington Palace.

Eugenie wore a diamond and emerald tiara borrowed from Queen Elizabeth and matching earrings gifted by her fiance. But above all the lavishness of the jewels and the motifs added to the dress, what was more meaningful about her wedding dress was the pronounced back which showed a long scar she had concealed all her life. She wanted to expose it as a message of self-love; Princess Beatrice had a column surgery as a child.


Princess Beatrice

Princess Beatrice, Eugenie's eldest sister, couldn't have a big lavish wedding like her sister and cousins due to the Covid19 pandemic. However, she still had a dream-like private ceremony accompanied by her close ones, including Queen Elizabeth and her grandfather, the late Prince Philip.

Breaking royal tradition, Beatrice didn't choose her dress to be her something-new. Instead, she asked her grandmother, to lend her one of her dresses to be adjusted to her size. Being her favorite grandchild, as it is presumed, the Queen abide, and Beatrice showed up wearing a dress the Queen had worn on the premiere of the film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962.


The dress, made of Peau De Soie taffeta in ivory, was altered with organza sleeves. Combining the beautiful diamond bodice and skirt, Beatrice wore the exact same tiara her grandmother and aunt wore on their wedding day.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding is one of the most seen and most anticipated royal events in modern history. Everybody was so anxious to see what Diana was going to wear on her big day that the designers had to leave false trails to trick the press. 


The iconic ivory dress has the longest train any royal dress has ever had; it was so long that it took a while and a lot of wits to fit it inside the carriage. Diana also added some hidden motifs to her gown including a mini blue bow attached to the waistband and a gold horseshoe hidden on the dress.

Her something-old was an antique lace that belonged to Queen Mary. To honor the Spencer family, she wore a tiara that belonged to her family. But Diana also wanted to incorporate a cute nod to her future husband. She did it on her shoes, which had heart-shaped with sequins and pearls and a hand-painted design that included their initials.


Meghan Markle

Harry and Meghan's wedding was the event of 2018, kind of stealing Princess Eugenie's thunder of her big day. Meghan wore a Clare Waight Keller dress she designed and to make it even more special she added a detain no one had done in royal history. Intricately embroidered on her long veil were symbols honoring the 53 countries that belong to the Commonwealth. She wanted to honor them in her big entrance to the Royal Family.

The veil also had two flowers, a California Poppy to honor her birthplace and a Wintersweet, a special flower that adorns the gardens of Kensington Palace. The latter is said to be a sign of gratitude to the Queen for welcoming her into the family. Also in the veil, a piece of blue fabric was attached, it wasn't only her something-blue, but also a piece of the dress she wore on her first date with Harry.


Meghan also wore a beautiful aquamarine ring that belonged to Princess Diana. This ring was for Diana a symbol of empowerment since she had bought it herself right after the divorce. Meghan didn't wear the ring on the official ceremony, she wore it for the private reception.

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince William was pretty much THE royal wedding; the one everyone was expecting and the one with more people witnessing the moment. The now-iconic long-sleeved white Alexander McQueen had a nice 17th-century lace from Ireland called the Carrickmacross, honoring her future title as Baroness Carrickfergus of North Ireland. 


Hidden in the lace were some motifs embroidered on her sleeves to honor the United Kingdom. These included roses, thistles, shamrocks, and daffodils, as the national flower emblems of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

Kate wore some Robinson Pelham earrings inspired by the Middleton family crest with acorns and oak leaves. The diamond matching the earrings was gifted by her parents on her special day.


Queen Elizabeth

Last but not least, the head of the Royal Family and the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II. The then Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in 1947, just two years after WWII ended. Since the country was still recovering from the war, Elizabeth had to pay for her wedding dress with rationing coupons she had been saving; brides from all over the country sent her their coupons to pay for the dress, but they were returned. 

Philip wasn't as wealthy as he would be later on so her engagement ring was simple but full of meaning. Philip had a tiny message engraved on the inside that no one but him, Elizabeth, and the engraver know.


The motifs embroidered in the dress were inspired by Boticelli's painting Primavera, symbolizing the rebirth and growth of Britain after the war. A strong message to a country that saw this wedding as a sign of hope for a better future.

She also honored past brides in her outfit. Her tiara was lent by her grandmother, Queen Mary of Teck, and the bouquet as per tradition included a sprig of myrtle from the same bush Queen Victoria's bouquet was made.


Photos from Wikimedia Commons, @princesseugenie@dukeandduchessofcambridge, Shutterstock

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