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Grace Kelly . . . the very name conjurs up a sense of classic beauty, classic films, and tragedy. Grace Patricia Kelly was born on the 12th of November 1929 in Philadelphia. She became a famous actress and at the April 1955 Cannes Film Festival was invited to the Palace of Monaco where she met Prince Rainer III. It was love at first sight! When they got married they had two ceremonies: a civil one and a religious one. The civil ceremony took 40 minutes in the Palace Throne Room on the 18th of April 1956. The next day they had a religious ceremony at St. Nicholas Cathedral. Her dress was designed by Helen Rose, who was a costumer for MGM Studios in Los Angeles. It took six weeks and over 30 people worked on it. The entire world was saddened to hear that Princess Grace was severely injured in a car accident on September 13th 1982 and died the next day.

Above: the stunning Grace Kelly on her wedding day. Her dress is once again popular with that beautiful double bodice. Some have speculated that Kate Middleton’s dress was inspired by Grace Kelly’s iconic dress.

Princess Margaret Rose (1930-2002) was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1936 when her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated she became second in line for the throne. Margaret was first engaged to Group Captain Peter Townsend, but he was divorced and the Church of England would not approve. On May 6th 1960 she married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey. Upon their marriage, they were titled the Earl and Countess of Snowdow by the Queen.

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Margaret’s dress was also designed by Norman Hartnell but completely different from her sister’s traditional style. Margaret was a fashion trend setter and her dress showed just that. It was made from silk organza and the skirt is said to have contained 30 meters of fabric. It was “plain”, without crystals or beading,ushering in the sleek styles of the 1960’s. Life Magazine said it was “the simplest royal wedding gown in history”. However, much like her mothers 1920’s dress, it was very much a product of its time.

Pictured below is Princess Margaret’s tiara which is known as the Poltimore Tiara and was purchased at auction just for her. It was sold by her family following her death.

The Poltimore Tiara worn by Princess Margaret on her wedding day.

Anne, The Princess Royal, was born on the 15th of August 1950, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh. Her first marriage was to Mark Anthony Philips, a Captain of the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards and an Olympic Gold Medal holder). They were married on the 14th of November 1973, Prince Charles’ birthday (can you imagine the sibling rivalry on that day!). Her dress, like her aunt’s, was fairly simple, and very much the 70’s. It was designed by Maureen Baker and made from embroidered silk in the “Tudor” style with a high collar and Medieval sleeves. Anne even designed aspects of the dress herself. She wore the Russian Fringe tiara worn by Queen Mary, her grandmother and her mother.

Below: The Russian Fringe or Queen Mary Fringe Tiara worn by Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne.

Lisa Najeeb Halaby, known to us as Queen Noor of Jordan, was born on the 23rd of August 1951 in Washington D.C., to Najeeb Halaby, of Syrian descent, and his wife Doris Carlquist, of Swedish descent. While working for Royal Jordanian Airlines in planning the Queen Alia International airport – Lisa was an architect – she met King Hussein of Jordan. When they were married on the 15th on June, 1978 in Amman, Jordan, she became his fourth wife (he being twice divorced and once widowed). Her very simple yet elegant wedding dress was designed by Christian Dior.

Now that’s how you cut a cake, with a ceremonial sword!

Lady Diana Frances Spencer (1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) became HRH Diana, The Princess of Wales, when she married Charles, Prince of Wales on the 29th of July 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Her dress was . . . sigh. . . very ’80’s. I personally find the sleeves a bit scary! LOL! But it was the time, and the 80’s themselves were terrifying! However, as Colleen Denney wrote in her book Representing Diana, Princess of Wales, “the dress was a crinoline, representing sexuality and grandiosity, a meringue embroidered with pearls and sequins, it’s bodice frilled with lace.”

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Diana’s dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. Stephen Walters of Suffolk made the woven ivory silk taffeta for the dress. The lace was made with the Carrickmacross technique (Ireland) and had over 10,000 pearls. A few things that may make your wedding day seem a bit less stressful was that Diana dropped from a size 14 to a size 10 terrifying the dressmakers that her dress would not fit right. Her train (25 feet ) was so long that there were problems getting it inside the glass coach barely allowing room for her father!!! And although many of us may see her dress as the product of the 1980’s, it is still one of the most famous and one of the most replicated wedding dresses of all time.

Pictured above: Honiton Lace (left) Carrickmacross Lace (right)

Sarah Ferguson, born October 15, 1959, married Prince Andrew on the 23rd of July, 1986 at Westminster Abbey and became the Duchess of York. Her dress was designed by British couturier and fashion designer Lindka Cierach and was made from ivory duchesse satin with heavy beading in symbols of hearts for love, anchors and waves for Prince Andrew’s love of sailing, as well as thistles and bumblebees, from the Ferguson family crest. The train was 17 feet long and had the initials ‘S’ and ‘A’ intertwined on it, sewn with more beads. Like Princess Diana’s dress it was a 1980’s wedding icon and many copies have been made over the years.

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Rania Al Abdullah (nee Al Yassin) was born on August 31st 1970 in Kuwait to Palestinian parents. She met the then Prince Abdullah bin Al-Hussein at a dinner party in January 1993. They were engaged 2 months later and married on the 10th of June that same year. Her dress was gold-trimmed with short sleeves designed by British couture designer Bruce Oldfield who has designed for royalty and celebrities alike. She became Queen of Jordan when her father-in-law died in 1999 and her mother-in-law, Queen Noor became the Dowager Queen of Jordan.

Masako Owada was born on the 9th of December 1963 and, like her mother-in-law the Empress Michiko, she was a commoner. However, when she married Crown Prince Naruhito on the 9th of June 1993 she assumed the title Her Imperial Highness The Crown Princess of Japan. They were married in a traditional and elaborate Shinto wedding with over 800 guests and a cost of about 500 million dollars. She wore the traditional 12 layer silk kimono with a waxed wig designed by Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori and weighed over 30 pounds. As well, she wore a cream wedding dress with short sleeves, gloves, a tiara and a ruffled collar on her wedding day.

Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, born February 5th, 1972 in Australia, was an advertising executive when she met Frederik, The Crown Prince of Denmark. They were married on May 14th 2004 in the Copenhagen Cathedral. Her dress, created by Danish designer Uffe Frank, was made from ivory satin and featured a scoop neckline. Her veil, made from Irish lace and was the same worn by both Queen Ingrid of Denmark and Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905.

Mary Donaldson incorporated both her worlds into her wedding bouquet by including Snow Gums from Australia and flowers from the palace gardens.

Dear Readers,

With so much information and so many fabulous photographs, this has turned into a three part post. Next week I’ll cover the weddings of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Charlene Wittstock, Zara Philips, the Honorable Sinaitakala Fakafanua, and Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkaih.

 All the best!