Wedding gowns fit for royalty: What Meghan Markle and other royal brides wore on their big day

US actress Meghan Markle arrives for her wedding to Britain's Prince Harry at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on May 19, 2018.
US actress Meghan Markle arrives for her wedding to Britain's Prince Harry at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on May 19, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Love them or hate them, the British royals are all anyone is talking about this week - specifically Prince Harry and his wedding to American actress, Meghan Markle on May 19 at Windsor Castle in England.

Above all, punters are placing bets on what 36-year-old Markle will be wearing for the event, with rumours rife that the gown reportedly costs over 100,000 pounds ($180,000).

Kensington Palace said in a statement on the wedding day that her dress was designed by acclaimed British designer Clare Waight Keller.

Here are details on Markle's gown, as well as other royal gowns that captured the imagination of the world.

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

Kensington Palace said in a statement on the wedding day that her dress was designed by acclaimed British designer Clare Waight Keller, with Markle adding her input.

 
 
 

"The dress epitomises a timeless minimal elegance referencing the codes of the iconic House of Givenchy and showcasing the expert craftsmanship of its world-renowned Parisian couture atelier founded in 1952," said the palace.

True to the heritage of the house, the pure lines of the dress are achieved using six meticulously placed seams. The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasises the slender sculpted waist. 

The lines of the dress extend towards the back where the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity.

Markle wanted all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her during her wedding, so Waight Keller designed a veil with the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country in a floral composition on the veil.

The veil was held in place by Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara, lent to Markle by the Queen. The diamond bandeau is English and was made in 1932, with the centre brooch dating from 1893.

The bride wore on her feet wedding shoes in silk duchess satin, based on a Givenchy couture design.

She carried a bouquet made of flowers handpicked by Prince Harry from the Kensington Palace garden.

Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge


Catherine Middleton's wedding dress for her wedding to Prince William was designed in secret by Alexander McQueen's creative fashion director Sarah Burton. PHOTO: AFP

Besides Markle's gown, there was hardly a dress as hotly anticipated in recent history as Catherine Middleton's wedding dress, which she wore for her wedding to Prince William on April 29, 2011.

The 36-year-old Duchess of Cambridge's dress was designed in secret by British label, Alexander McQueen's creative fashion director Sarah Burton, and has since become an iconic design that has inspired wedding dress designers all around the world.

Made with satin gazar, lace and organza, the Victorian-inspired design was nipped in at the waist and featured a full skirt with a relatively short nine-foot train, giving it a modern touch despite its more conservative silhouette. The dress was a hit with the public and fashion critics alike, and was featured in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace during the annual summer opening, where it was on display from July 22 to October 3, 2011.

Diana, Princess of Wales


Princess Diana's gown for her wedding to Prince Charles was created by British fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel. PHOTOS: AFP

One of the most famous wedding dresses of all time, Princess Diana's gown for her wedding to Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, was created by British fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel.

Quite literally made for a princess, the intricate ivory taffeta gown featured elaborate embroidery, layers upon layers of silk taffeta, puffy sleeves and a 25 foot-long train. Looking back at it today, it definitely has a very 1980s vibe but given that it is still discussed more than three decades later, one can definitely call it iconic.

Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall


Camilla skipped the traditional white or cream wedding gown in favour of a cream silk chiffon dress for her wedding to Prince Charles. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

As it was the second marriage for both Prince Charles and Camilla, their wedding was a low-key affair with neither the Queen nor Prince Phillip in attendance. Instead Prince William and Harry, along with Camilla's children, acted as official witnesses.

Camilla, 70, skipped the traditional white or cream wedding gown in favour of a cream silk chiffon dress, hemmed with vertical rows of Swiss-made appliqued woven disks and a matching oyster silk basket weave coat. The outfit was designed by a then little-known British design house Robinson Valentine, and she wore accessories by L.K.Bennett and a headpiece by Irish milliner and designer, Philip Treacy.

Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom


Queen Elizabeth II wore a creation by leading British fashion designer and royal dressmaker Norman Hartnell for her wedding to Prince Phillip. PHOTO: AFP

Queen Elizabeth II was only 21 when she married her then 26-year-old naval officer beau Prince Phillip - who renounced his title as Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark, to become simply Lieutenant Phillip Mountbatten, prior to the ceremony.

On November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey in London, the then-Princess wore a creation by leading British fashion designer and royal dressmaker Norman Hartnell, which featured a high neckline, tailored bodice and a short train.

The dress was made with soft Damascus Prokar fabric, which was purchased using ration coupons. Although World War II had ended in 1945, Britain was still enduring postwar rationing due to severe shortages.

The dress featured motifs of wheat, roses and star-shaped flowers in gold and silver thread that were inspired by Botticelli's Renaissance masterpiece Primavera.

Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco


Grace Kelly's gown for her wedding to Prince Rainer III was a gift from American movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. PHOTO: AFP

Grace Kelly too was an American actress who married a Prince, specifically Prince Rainer III of Monaco on April 19, 1956.

Her timeless dress was designed by Academy Award-winning costume designer Helen Rose, and it was a gift from American movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Made with taffeta, silk net, and embellished with 125-year-old lace and pearls, the dress is one of the most beautiful gowns of all time, and is said to have inspired the design of Kate Middleton's own iconic wedding dress.

Princess Sofia of Sweden


For her wedding to Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia wore a silk crepe and organza wedding gown by Swedish designer Ida Sjöstedt. PHOTO: AFP

For her wedding to Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland on June 13, 2015, Princess Sofia, 33, wore a silk crepe and organza wedding gown by Swedish designer Ida Sjöstedt.

The dress featured intricate lace detailing and was made in three shades of white. The train on the dress was hand-cut and then hand-stitched in the designer's atelier in Stockholm. It was complemented with a hand-embroidered tulle veil. The former model accessorised the dress with an elegant diamond and emerald crown.

Charlene Wittstock, Princess of Monaco

South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock, 40, married Prince Albert of Monaco II in a glittering £50 million ceremony in 2011, in front of 3,500 guests at the royal palace.

She wore an off-the-shoulder Armani Privé dress, which had a simple silhouette but featured 50 metres of off-white silk duchess and 80 metres of silk organza which required 2,500 hours of work. A total of 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops and 30,000 gold stones were embroidered down the front of the the skirt.