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The most iconic dresses in Royal wedding history

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The big day is almost here and in only a few more hours, we’ll know which designer Meghan Markle has chosen to create the wedding dress which will be seen by people all across the planet within seconds.

 

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What’s going to be especially fascinating to see is whether she’s taken any influences from past royal brides in a nod towards the family she’s soon to join.

To refresh your memory and get you in the mood, here’s some of the most iconic British Royal Wedding dresses of the past:

Princess Elizabeth (Norman Hartnell, 1947)

We start with the matriarch of the family, the Queen, who was then simply 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth.

With rationing still in force, she had to purchase the gown using coupons, although well-wishers all over the country also sent her theirs.

Hartnell, the Court Designer at the time, was inspired by Botticelli’s painting of Primavera, whilst the dress was covered in crystals and ten thousand seed pearls. It’s a classic design, which has been said to inspire later royal brides, in honour of the woman and Queen she was to become.

Princess Anne (Maureen Baker, 1973)

 Whilst the marriage might not have lasted – the Princess and Mark Phillips divorced in 1992 – this dress has gone down in history for both its simplicity and the way it reflected contemporary wedding dresses.

With its high collar and medieval sleeves, it’s certainly dramatic and very Seventies.

Lady Diana Spencer (1982, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel)

 

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 No list of wedding dresses could ever be complete without a nod to this, often considered to be THE dress of the century.

In contrast with the Queen’s ration-book gown, this one cost £9,000 at the time, and it set the trend for wedding dresses throughout the decade.

With its enormous train and puffed sleeves, it’s not necessarily a look we’d want to recreate today, and caused difficulties on the day itself: the designers hadn’t considered how the dress would travel, and the creasing is one of the things the dress is most remembered for today.

Camilla Parker-Bowles (2005, Antonia Robinson and Anna Valentine)

It was a wedding many thought could never happen, but when Prince Charles' long-time partner finally became a member of ‘The Firm’, she celebrated with not one, but two wedding dresses.

This pale blue and gold coat and chiffon gown was her choice for the blessing in St George’s Chapel – where Harry and Meghan will tie the knot – following the Windsor Registry Office wedding that morning.

As the oldest royal bride on this list, and with it being the second time for both bride and groom, the Duchess chose wisely, eschewing the virginal white and going instead for this elegant and classy ensemble.

Catherine Middleton (2011, Sarah Burton)

Perhaps the most famous dress of recent years, Prince William's bride joined the family in a dress which many felt owed a debt to the Queen’s 64 years earlier.

The gown was symbolic, incorporating the floral emblems of the four kingdoms of the UK in the lace patterning.

For many, the maid-of-honour, Pippa Middleton stole the show with that dress, but the bride’s outfit had its own legion of fans; when it was put on display at Buckingham Palace that summer, a record number of visitors flooded through the gates to see this piece of modern history.

So now we wait with baited breath to see how Meghan will add to this history of fashion!

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