Royal weddings of the past

Saturday Magazine takes a look back at the Royal weddings of the past

In honour of the occasion – which will be viewed by an estimated two billion worldwide – Saturday magazine has taken a look back at some of the most memorable royal nuptials of the last 200 years.

From the traditional marriage of Queen Victoria and her fiancé Albert to the opulent wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, royal weddings are always the stuff of fairy tales – and a cause for national celebration.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are portrayed on their wedding day

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Queen Victoria met Albert at her 17th birthday in Kensington Palace and was instantly taken with her German cousin.

The couple wed on February 10, 1840, at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, with Victoria arriving in a procession of carriages from Buckingham Palace.

She wore a silk satin dress trimmed with Honiton lace, with a lace veil and diamond jewellery along with a sapphire brooch gifted to her by her fiancé.

Victoria and Albert celebrated with a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace, which included a huge 300lb wedding cake, before travelling to Windsor Castle for a three-day honeymoon.

King George V and Princess Mary The then Prince George, Duke of York, married Princess Mary of Teck on July 6, 1893, also at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.

The wedding party arrived in four carriage processions, the last of which included Queen Victoria. Princess Mary had 10 bridesmaids and wore a dress designed by Arthur Silver, made of white satin.

Her veil was fastened with diamond pins and she also wore a diamond tiara – both from Queen Victoria.

The Archbishop of Canterbury performed the ceremony before the wedding party moved to Buckingham Palace for the wedding breakfast. The couple honeymooned at Sandringham Estate.

Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on their wedding day

Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

It took three proposals from Albert, who was later to be King George VI, for Lady Elizabeth to accept but he won her over eventually and they wed on April 26, 1923.

The marriage took place in Westminster Abbey and Elizabeth had eight bridesmaids. Her dress, designed by Madame Handley-Seymour, was made from ivory chiffon and embroidered with pearls and silver thread, and had a silver leaf girdle with spring green tulle.

They had their wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace before heading off on their honeymoon in Surrey and Scotland.

The future Queen and Prince Philip married on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey following a large procession of carriages through London.

The ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was broadcast live on the radio to more than 200 million listeners around the world! Elizabeth’s dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, but she still required war ration coupons for the material, and on the day itself she did her own make-up.

Following the wedding, the couple went to Buckingham Palace for the wedding breakfast in the Ball Supper room before heading off on their honeymoon to Broadlands in Hampshire, the home of Philip’s uncle.

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones on their wedding day

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones

This was a wedding to go down in history as the first to be televised in Britain.

The Queen’s sister made the journey from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey in the Glass Coach on May 6, 1960, to marry photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones.

She wore a white silk dress designed by Norman Hartnell with the Poltimore tiara.

The ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was followed by a reception at Buckingham Palace. The pair then headed off to sunnier climes for their honeymoon, boarding the Royal Yacht Britannia and then setting off for the Caribbean.

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips were married on the day of Prince Charles’ birthday

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

The Queen’s only daughter married Mark Phillips on November 14, 1973 – the same day as her brother Prince Charles’s birthday.

An estimated 500 million people tuned in to watch the couple exchange vows at Westminster Abbey after she arrived in the Glass Coach with her father, Prince Philip.

Anne wore a Tudor-inspired dress with a high neck and medieval-style sleeves designed by Maureen Baker.

After the ceremony the couple held a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace and took part in the traditional balcony appearance, before boarding the Royal Yacht Britannia and cruising the Caribbean, ending up in the Galapagos Islands.

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer walk out after their ceremony

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

Diana and Charles’s day was watched by more than 750 million people on July 29, 1981.

The wedding took place at St Paul’s Cathedral, as it was larger than Westminster Abbey, with 3,500 guests in attendance.

Diana wore a dress designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, made of ivory silk taffeta, decorated with lace and sequins and 10,000 pearls.

It had a 25-foot train and she also wore her family heirloom tiara.

A wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace followed with 120 guests and a cake that took 14 weeks to create!

The couple then caught the train from Waterloo station where they travelled to Broadlands for three nights before flying to Gibraltar and embarking on a cruise of the Mediterranean.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson greet revellers after their wedding

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

On July 23, 1986, Sarah made her way from Clarence House with her father to marry the Queen’s third child, Prince Andrew.

She wore an ivory and silk gown designed by Lindka Cierach and her bridesmaids and pageboys included Zara and Peter Phillips, and Prince William.

During the ceremony she accidentally repeated Andrew’s middle name, which was broadcast to 500 million people!

After a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace, the couple enjoyed a reception at Claridge’s in London before heading off for their honeymoon in the Azores.

Their carriage to Heathrow was decorated with a satellite dish, bearing the ET message ‘Phone home’, while the footmen were surrounded by flags and ribbons.

Charles and Camilla are wed in a civil ceremony

Charles and Camilla are wed in a civil ceremony

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles

Charles and Camilla married on April 9, 2005, at a civil ceremony in Windsor Guildhall, which was followed by a marriage blessing at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

This was then followed by a reception, also at Windsor Castle.

Camilla wore two outfits on the day, the second of which was a cream silk chiffon dress with a matching coat and extravagant headpiece of golden feathers designed by Anna Valentine.

Her bouquet was made up of roses, hydrangeas and daffodils from Prince Charles’s garden at Highgrove House and their cake was made by Dawn Blunden from Sophisticake.

After the wedding, the couple honeymooned in Scotland where they made their first public engagement as a married couple.

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones on their low-key wedding day

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones

The Queen’s youngest son and Sophie Rhys-Jones decided on an informal wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where they asked guests to wear evening gowns and no hats.

Sophie arrived with her father in a Rolls-Royce on June 19, 1999, wearing a dress designed by Samantha Shaw.

For the first time in a royal wedding, the children who carried the train were all commoners.

The reception took place at St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle. The wedding cake was covered in tennis racket decorations to represent their love of the game!

Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly

Peter Phillips was the first of the Queen’s grandchildren to marry

Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly

The first of Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren to marry, Peter Phillips wed Canadian management consultant Autumn Kelly on May 17, 2008.

Three hundred guests attended the day at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle to see Autumn in her dress made of hand-beaded lace with a duchesse skirt.

She also wore a beaded French lace shrug designed by Sassi Holford, a tiara borrowed from Princess Anne and a pearl necklace, which was a gift from Peter.

After the wedding, the couple rode in a horse-drawn carriage to Frogmore House for the reception.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding kiss

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s much anticipated wedding kiss

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Kate and William married in one of the biggest royal weddings to date at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.

Declared a public holiday in the United Kingdom, the ceremony was watched live by tens of millions of people across the world.

The ceremony had 1,900 people in attendance, with Prince Harry as best man and Pippa Middleton as maid of honour.

Kate wore a dress designed by Sarah Burton, made of satin with a lace bodice and appliquéd skirt, and her veil was held in place by a Cartier Halo Scroll tiara, lent to her by the Queen.

Kate reportedly did her own make-up for the occasion after receiving private lessons. After the wedding the couple had a lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace, followed by a party which ended at 3am with a fireworks display. The newlyweds honeymooned in the Seychelles.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will finally tie the knot today

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Tipped to become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan will marry at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle today at noon.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will officiate as the couple exchange vows.

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