Ahead of American actress Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry on Saturday, speculation has run rampant about what sort of wedding dress the bride will choose. The palace has said the gown won’t be revealed until the day of the wedding, but in the meantime, take a look back at the dresses past royal brides have chosen and watch how the styles have evolved over decades.
Prince Harry’s great-great-grandmother, Mary of Teck
Princess Mary of Teck married the Duke of York in 1893, and the pair later became Queen Mary and King George V. Princess Mary wore a white and silver dress that featured floral embroidery made of roses, thistles, and shamrocks, according to the the royal family’s website.
Prince Harry’s great-grandmother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
The future Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother married the future King George VI, then Prince Albert, in Westminster Abbey in 1923. The bride stopped on her way to the ceremony to lay her bouquet at Britain’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a Westminster Abbey memorial commemorating a fallen World War I serviceman whose identity is a mystery. Then known as the “Great War,” it had ended just five years earlier.
Bowes-Lyon’s dress featured a loose drop-waist popular in the 1920s and was made of silk crepe .
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth were married in Westminster Abbey on 26 April 1923. In this photo taken in #BuckinghamPalace, the bride doesn't hold her bouquet, having placed it on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the way into @wabbey. #royalwedding pic.twitter.com/mzsUvSOV0d— RoyalCollectionTrust (@RCT) May 11, 2018
Prince Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II
The future Queen Elizabeth II married the future Prince Philip in 1947 at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony that was broadcast over the radio. Then-Princess Elizabeth’s dress was made of duchesse satin and featured a delicate 14-foot train. According to the royal family’s website, the dress’s floral accents were inspired by the 15th-century Botticelli painting “Primavera,” which means “spring” in Italian.
Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana
Diana Spencer, later Princess Diana, married Prince Charles at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in a televised ceremony in 1981. Diana was married in a dramatic, full-skirted silk taffeta dress with a 25-foot train that featured thousands of pearls. The bodice was decorated with lace that once belonged to Queen Mary.
Prince Harry’s sister-in-law, Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton, the future Duchess of Cambridge, married Prince William in 2011, also in a televised ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Middleton wanted a modern yet traditional wedding dress and was closely involved in the design of the gown, according to a statement released by the palace on the couple’s wedding day.
The dress was made of satin with extensive lace appliques on the bodice and skirt. The gown ended in what the royal family’s website describes as “a short train,” measuring around nine feet.