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Top 10 royal wedding gowns of all time

As we eagerly await Meghan Markle’s arrival at St George’s Chapel for 
the first glimpse of what's sure to be a wedding 
gown fit to make history, WHO goes back in time.
royal
Grace was a stunning bride, who may have inspired the likes of Duchess Kate and Princess Diana.
Getty

With the help of our expert panel – containing celebrity stylist, Donny Galella, WHO’s director of fashion and beauty, Sally Nolan and Pallas Couture designer, Joy Morris – who have pored over photos of seminal wedding dresses from the past century, we’ve come up with a Top 10 list of all-time dreamiest royal gowns. There was a clear winner, and—wouldn’t you know it?—the bride just happened to be an American movie star who exchanged vows 
with a prince in 1956. “Grace Kelly is the epitome of elegance in her iconic lace wedding gown,” says Nolan.

We’ll find out on May 19 if Meghan’s choice pays homage to her predecessor—in the meantime, enjoy our look back at the 10 most captivating royal wedding gowns.

1. Grace Kelly

Two out of three judges put this unforgettable gown at the top of the list. “Sixty-two years after it was worn, this dress still looks chic and elegant and continues to inspire brides globally,” says stylist Donny Galella. “I love everything about it, from the cummerbund detail, to her choice of floral Juliet cap over an elaborate tiara and lace neckline.”

Morris is similarly enchanted. The “shaped bust 
cup and cinched-waist effect 
is feminine and so befitting for any princess,” she says.

Grace Kelly became Princess of Monaco when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco
Grace Kelly became Princess of Monaco when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco on April 19, 1956.

2. Duchess of Cambridge

“I remember swooning over this Alexander McQueen dress in 2011—and I still do,” says Galella, mid sigh, 
of the Duchess of Cambridge’s fairytale-worthy stunner. “Evidence that simple, elegant style is timeless. I most adore the delicate collar, the V-neckline and the long lace sleeves.”

Morris, too, points out how “this gown’s amazing silhouette is a classic design still favoured today.” 

Kate Middleton
The then-Kate Middleton, with her sister, maid-of-honour Pippa Middleton, at her wedding to Prince William at Westminster Abbey on 
April 29, 2011. (Credit: Getty Images)

3. Princess Margaret

“I love the simplicity of this silk organza gown,” says Nolan. 
“The lack of embellishment 
suits Princess Margaret’s petite frame, leaving that impressive tiara to do all the talking.”

Morris and Galella also describe the 
gown as “simple,” which only enhances its allure, notes Morris: “This gown’s incredible cut creates such a beautiful silhouette,” she says.

“Timeless, sophisticated glamour,” adds Galella. “I adore 
the simple, clean lines and the shape of the skirt is just dreamy.”

Princess Margaret marries Antony Armstrong-Jones
Princess Margaret wed Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960 at Westminster Abbey. The Duchess of Cambridge’s gown is “similar,” notes Morris.

4. Princess Caroline

“A feminine design, this stunning lace gown with slight bell sleeves 
is so innocent and refreshing, which I love,” says Morris, while Nolan notes how the celebrated beauty chose a gown for the times.

“This Marc Bohan for Christian Dior is a true reflection of the late 1970s,” she says. “Princess Caroline shows her impeccable sense of style by bucking the royal trend 
of an opulent tiara, instead choosing dainty floral crowns over her Princess Leia–style buns.”

Princess Caroline marries Philippe Junot
The daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Princess Caroline married French venture capitalist Philippe Junot on June 29, 
1978, in Monte 
Carlo, Monaco.

5. Princess Diana

“Princess Diana’s silk taffeta gown was all about excess—just like the ’80s,” says Nolan. “That haircut, those sleeves and that train seemed to spark a thousand wedding trends.”

Galella echoes the sentiment that Diana’s dress sums up the over-the-top decade: “From the balloon sleeves to the frill collar and outrageously long train—
the dress style may have dated, but it will forever be one of the all-time best royal wedding dresses,” he says.

Lady Diana Spencer marries Prince Charles
Lady Diana Spencer wed Charles, Prince of Wales, on July 29, 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

6. Princess Mary

“That neckline and the lily-like sleeves make my heart sing,” says Galella of Australia’s princess. “Plus her veil-and-tiara combo sneaks this dreamy look into my all-time Top 5. Evidence that less can certainly be more.”

Mary Donaldson marries Prince Frederick
Tasmanian-born Mary Donaldson married Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, on May 14, 2004, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

7. Princess Madeleine

“What is not to love about this Valentino-designed dress?” 
gushes Galella of the Swedish royal’s long-trained gown. “That divine Chantilly-lace neckline, a deep-cut back, the pleated silk organza fabric combined with flawless hair and makeup. I bow down to Princess Madeleine.”

Princess Madeleine of Sweden marries Christopher O’Neill
Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, wed British financier Christopher O’Neill on June 8, 2013, in Stockholm, Sweden.

8. Princess Sofia

“I love the long, hand-stitched tulle veil,” says Nolan. “It added an element of whimsy as Princess Sofia walked down the aisle.”

Adds Galella: “I am a complete sucker for a long lace sleeve and a soft, A-line silhouette, understated elegance done to perfection. Can we also take one moment to appreciate how handsome Prince Carl Philip looks, too?”

Sofia Hellqvist marries Prince Carl Philip of Sweden
Sofia Hellqvist tied the knot with Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Duke of Värmland on June 13, 2015, in Stockholm, Sweden.

9. Queen Elizabeth

“The Queen’s ivory silk gown was a stunning piece of couture,” notes Nolan. “Due to post-war austerity measures, the Queen had to use ration coupons to purchase the fabric. Designer Norman Hartnell used metallic embroidery and embellishments to ensure she sparkled on her big day.”

Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten
Six years before her coronation, the then-Princess Elizabeth wed Philip Mountbatten on Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey.

10. Princess Anne

“I love the simplicity of this dress, the high neckline, dramatic sleeve, tiara and full veil give it just that perfect amount of detail and regal style,” says Galella.

Morris agrees the sleeve is the best aspect, adding: “The gown is a little too extravagant in design but I love the sleeve detail on this gown that makes such a statement.”

Princess Anne marries Mark Phillips
The only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Princess Anne wed British equestrian champion Mark Phillips on 
Nov. 14, 1973.
royal romances
For the real-life fairytales, forbidden romances and wedding day secrets, pick up the collector’s edition copy of Greatest Royal Love Stories (Credit: WHO)

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