Royal Brides of the World and Their Wedding Gowns (An ONTD Original)


The follow-up to Friday’s post: From Victoria to Kate: British Royal Brides and Their Gowns

While the British royals may be best-known to most Westerners, there are royal families in many countries around the world, and they all love a big wedding.

This list doesn’t begin to cover all royal weddings; as I realized when I started putting together a post about royal wedding gowns a week ago, Europe alone is practically bursting at the seams with bluebloods (hence the splitting off of Great Britain into its own post and the limiting of this one to the 1950s and after).

I've arranged them in alphabetical order by country and used a double cut to save browsers:


BELGIUM
Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz became Princess Mathilde, Duchess of Brabant when she wed Crown Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant on December 4, 1999, and was one of the few winter brides among the royals of Europe. Her satin coat-and-dress combo was by Edouard Vermeulen.


BHUTAN
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck wed Jetsun Pema on October 13, 2011 at 8:20 a.m., the time set by royal astrologers. Jetsun chose her raw silk kira (the national dress for Bhutanese women) from among several made by prominent weavers in the country, while King Jigme wore the same rose-patterned gho that his father and grandfather had worn at their weddings.


DENMARK
Princess Margrethe, the future queen of Denmark, married French diplomat Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat on June 10, 1967, wearing a gown by royal couturier Jørgen Bender. She pinned a diamond daisy brooch on the bodice (“Daisy” being her family’s nickname for her).

When the gown was displayed in Copenhagen in 2015, it appeared unembellished because the large piece of historic lace that had trimmed the front when she wore it had long since been removed to be used on other royal wedding dresses.


Prince Joachim, the younger of Queen Margrethe's two sons, met Alexandra Manley (left) in Hong Kong, where she was born and raised, and married her on November 18, 1995. The bride wore a gown by Jørgen Bender, who had designed her new mother-in-law's wedding gown 28 years earlier. They divorced in 2005.

Prince Joachim then got married for a second time, to Marie Cavallier (right) on May 4, 2008. The bride wore Arasa Morelli.


Crown Prince Frederik married Australian Mary Donaldson on May 14, 2004. Her gown, by Uffe Frank, reportedly had the wedding ring of her mother (who had died in 1997) stitched into the lining near her heart.


GERMANY
Note: The official monarchy of Germany was very short-lived; it was created in 1871 and abolished in 1918, having comprised the reigns of a mere three Emperors. But the noble families of individual cities and states that now make up modern Germany go back many hundreds of years and their scions continue to claim their unofficial titles today.

Prince Christian of Hanover (son of Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, and stepson of Monaco's Princess Caroline) wed lawyer and former model Alessandra de Osma in her native Peru last month, March 16, 2018. The bride wore Jorge Vázquez.


GREECE
Note: King Constantine II was deposed in 1967 and the monarchy was abolished in Greece in 1973, but the family continue to use their royal titles in exile.

Englishwoman Marie-Chantal Miller, the daughter of a billionaire, married King Constantine's eldest son Prince Pavlos in London on July 1, 1995. Marie-Chantal's Valentino gown reportedly cost $225,000 and took 25 people four months to complete by hand.


JAPAN
Crown Prince (now Emperor) Akihito wed Harvard-and-Oxford-educated Michiko Shōda, the first commoner ever to marry into the Japanese Imperial family, on April 10, 1959. Michiko's jūni-hitoe, which literally means 'twelve-layered garment', weighed 30 pounds and took nearly two hours to arrange properly. She wore a white gown for the traditional "First Audience" ceremony before her new mother-and-father-in-law later that day.


Crown Prince Naruhito, elder son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, married Harvard-and-Oxford-educated Masako Owada on June 9, 1993. Masako had been reluctant to give up her promising diplomatic career and turned down the persistent prince's first two proposals before finally agreeing to marry him. The jūni-hitoe she wore for the traditional Shinto ceremony cost more than $300,000 and was designed by Hanae Mori.

Sadly, Masako has been subjected to a great deal of criticism for failing to produce a male heir (she had a daughter, Aiko, in 2001, after experiencing an earlier miscarriage, but only males can ascend the Japanese throne) and, suffering from severe depression, has rarely been seen in public for over 15 years.


JORDAN
American-born Lisa Halaby would forever after be known as Queen Noor al-Hussein ("Light of Hussein") after she became King Hussein I's fourth wife on June 15, 1978. Her Bohemian '70s gown was by Dior.


King Hussein's eldest son, Prince Abdullah, proposed to Palestinian-born Rania al Yassin only two months after meeting her. They wed on June 10, 1993, with the bride in a gown by British designer Bruce Oldfield. They became King and Queen of Jordan in 1999.


LIECHTENSTEIN
Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg was well-covered in her Balmain gown when she married Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein on March 20, 1982. It was the last wedding to join two reigning royal houses of Europe, a practice that was once the standard for royal marriages.


It was the tail-end of the 80s and big shoulders were finally on their way out, but the Paris-born Princess Marie de France wasn't about to let them go without a fight. She married Prince Gundakar of Liechtenstein on July 29, 1989, amid a nasty family feud over the site of the wedding and who would walk her down the aisle that saw half of her family boycott the ceremony (and publicly urge other royals to do the same). I haven't been able to discover the designer of this gown, so if anyone knows, I'll add it to the post.


Panama-born Angela Brown became the first person of known African descent to marry into European royalty when she wed Prince Maximilian on January 29, 2000. The new Princess Angela, a graduate of New York’s famed Parsons School of Design, designed her own gown and accessorized it with her new in-laws' Kinsky Honeysuckle Tiara at the New York religious ceremony.


LUXEMBOURG
Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, wed Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy of Belgium (left) on October 20, 2012, with the bride in Elie Saab.

Guillaume’s younger brother Prince Felix married German bioethics researcher Claire Lademacher (right) on September 21, 2013. Like her sister-in-law Princess Stephanie the year before, Claire chose Elie Saab to design her gown, and some critics found their looks a bit too similar.



MONACO
American film star Grace Kelly became Princess Grace when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco on April 19, 1956, wearing a gown by Hollywood costume designer Helen Rose, who had designed her outfits for the movies High Society and The Swan.

They remained married until Grace's tragic death in 1982, when she suffered a minor stroke while driving and lost control of her car, which plunged over the side of a steep mountain road. Rainier lived until 2005, but never remarried.



Princess Grace and Prince Rainier's son, Prince Albert II, wed South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock on July 2, 2011. The new Princess Charlene wore Armani.


THE NETHERLANDS
For her February 2, 2002 wedding to Queen Beatrix's son, Crown Prince (now King) Willem-Alexander, Argentinean banker Máxima Zorreguieta chose a gown by Valentino. They became King and Queen upon Beatrix’ abdication in 2013.


Willem-Alexander’s little bro Prince Friso was struck from the royal line of succession for marrying Mabel Wisse Smit on April 24, 2004 without the consent of Parliament (the Dutch cabinet refused to seek such permission due to Mabel’s past as the girlfriend of a known Dutch drug lord, and the fact that they believed she lied when questioned about it). Friso and Mabel were later embarrassed when it was revealed that they themselves had been editing Mabel’s Wikipedia entry to gloss over her past.

Princess Mabel’s oft-mocked Viktor & Rolf wedding dress featured 248 crepe georgette bows, including a big old bunch weirdly placed on the end of the train. Prince Friso was buried in an avalanche while skiing in 2012 and slipped into a coma before dying a year later.


Prince Floris, the son of Princess Margriete, married Aimée Söhngen on October 22, 2005. Lidy de Joode designed the royal bride's minimalist gown.


NORWAY
Crown Prince Harald was expected to make a royal match with a European princess for his bride, but he fell in love with a commoner he met at a party, Sonja Haraldsen. For nine years, their relationship was something of an open secret as he rejected every suggestion for a royal bride. He reportedly finally gave his father, King Olav V, an ultimatum: if he couldn’t marry Sonja, he would stay single forever and therefore could never produce a legitimate heir.

Since Harald was the only male heir to the Norwegian throne, Olav relented and not only gave consent for the union, but walked Sonja down the aisle himself as a public show of support. Sonja wore a gown by Oslo clothing store Molstad at their wedding on August 29, 1968. They became King and Queen upon Olav’s death in 1991.


Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby was an unexpected choice of bride for Harald and Sonja’s son, Crown Prince Haakon. Not only was the ex-waitress a commoner, but she was the single mother of a four-year-old son and she was forced to make a tearful public apology before the wedding for her party-girl past. Nonetheless, the couple wed on August 25, 2001, with Mette-Marit in a gown by Ove Harder Finseth.


PORTUGAL
Note: Like Greece and Germany, above, Portugal no longer has a monarchy, it having been dissolved in the 1910 revolution. But a number of Portuguese people from once-noble families continue to unofficially use their ancestral titles.

Dona Diana Álvares Pereira de Melo, the Duchess of Cadaval wed Prince Charles Philippe d'Orléans, a grandson of the Orleanist pretender to the French throne, Henri, on June 21, 2008. She wore Carolina Herrera.


SPAIN
Crown Prince (now King) Felipe wed television newswoman Letizia Ortiz on May 22, 2004, with the bride in a gown by Manuel Pertegaz that was embroidered with real gold.


SWEDEN
Even royals love a two-for-one bargain. Princess Birgitta had a gown made by Märtaskolan, a dressmaking school, for her wedding to Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern on May 25, 1961 (left). Three years later, Birgitta's younger sister Princess Désirée simply wore the same dress for her own June 5, 1964 wedding to Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld.


Crown Princess Victoria, the eldest of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia’s three offspring, wore Par Engsheden when she married her former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, on June 19, 2010. She accessorized with the pearl-and-gold Cameo Tiara, which was originally a gift from the Emperor Napoleon to his wife Josephine around 1809.

Because not only are the Swedes the hotties of European royalty, they also get the best tiaras.

Victoria’s younger sister Princess Madeleine married British-born American financier Christopher O’Neill on June 8, 2013. Her gown was designed by Valentino Garavani. She wore her favorite tiara, the diamond Modern Fringe (which can also be transformed into a necklace).


Sofia Heliqvist was a controversial choice of bride for King Carl and Queen Silvia’s only son, Prince Carl-Philippe, due to her career as a semi-nude model and reality show contestant. Nonetheless, the couple married on June 13, 2015, with the new Princess Sofia wearing a gown by Ida Sjöstedt. She showed off a generous wedding gift from her new in-laws: a new emerald-and-diamond tiara. The emeralds can be interchanged with pearls for a more subtle look.


Sources: Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor/Me

My favorite royal wedding gowns are those worn by Marie-Chantal of Greece and Maxima of the Netherlands. What are yours, ONTD?