I have dubbed the first half of 2005 as "The Year of the Wedding." I have been to no less than four weddings during the first five months of this year, which is almost a wedding a month, though two actually took place in April. And in between all those weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and stag and does. I should be "weddinged out" by now -- but I'm not! So, when the idea for a wedding-related newsletter to celebrate two of the things I love in life -- royalty and weddings -- came up in discussions between Julia and I, I embraced it and ran with it. Thankfully, the other members of the TRF Team agreed with this idea and contributed to it with as much enthusiasm as I had for it.
It is with a great effort on the part of many members of the TRF Team that this letter was put together:
Mandy for her tireless contributions in sharing pictures, information and doing many of the write ups herself.
Anna R for doing the "leg work" of finding the links and supplying information, as well as for making a video to supplement this newsletter.
Elsa M. for providing information in the Spanish and Portuguese brides.
Of all the weddings I have attended this year, the one that took place last month on May 21 is the one dearest to my heart. It wasn't just that I was part of the bridal party so I had been part of all the planning and events that took place over the course of the 21 months from when the engagement was announced to the big day itself, but it was because the bride is someone very special in my life.
In my immediate circle of friends, there are six girls in our group, five of us who met on our first day of kindergarten and have been steadfast friends ever since. Through more than 21 years of friendship, we have weathered through some very difficult times, but also very many happy times, as well as the everyday, mundane moments that mark any relationship between those polarizing moments. None of us have sisters -- all of our parents graced us with brotherly love -- so we became sisters to each other. As such, this wedding wasn't just the wedding of a cherished friend, but the wedding of a cherished sister.
I don't know of many people who are still friends to this day with their childhood friends, but it has been for me, a most surreal experience to watch someone you used to finger paint with and make sand castles with become someone's wife. So, on a most sunny and glorious day -- thankfully since her bridal shower and bachelorette party had been marred by torrential rain -- my friend became a Mrs.
As we put this newsletter together, I realized that whether it's a royal bride or a celebrity bride, or a "regular" bride like my friend, everyone loves a wedding. I may have grumbled a bit along the way about how much time the wedding was taking out of my evenings and weekends, or about this and that, but in the end it was worth it to see my friend so happy -- and to have a new "brother-in-law." My friend may not have worn a diamond-saturated tiara or worn a centuries-old veil as many of the brides covered in this newsletter did, but the sentiments and well-wishes for a happy bride and groom, a joyous wedding day and a long, healthy marriage are all there, no matter what title you possess, or will get upon your marriage.
Weddings are ultimately less about titles and higher statuses gained, the yards of silk used for the train, too many bows or too much lace, or the size of the tiara, but about two individuals who have found each other somehow in the chaos of this world we live in and who are committed to spending their life together and building a foundation and family together. It is about finding happiness and love and embarking on a journey together.
For those who are engaged, getting married, newlyweds, and those who have been happily married for decades, I hope that this newsletter will bring you fond memories of your special day or your special day to come. And for those of you who would like to be married one day, I hope that this newsletter will inspire you for your own special day.
Royal Forums Administrator
An additional footnote: The tossing of the bouquet and garter is an ancient tradition, based on the belief that the bride's bouquet and garter possesses luck, and that the individuals who caught these items would be the next to be married. Whether or not you catch the bouquet or the garter, shouldn't discourage you. A wedding is a romantic enough of an occasion to inspire all lonely hearts. Just because you don't catch the bouquet doesn't mean that the seeds of love can't be sewn -- I didn't catch a single bouquet in any of the weddings I've attended, yet I left with something wonderful blooming in my life.
You know you are in love when you see the world in her eyes, and her eyes everywhere in the world.
The Duke of York of Great Britain & Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
The Duke of York of Great Britain & Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon April 26, 1923, Westminster Abbey, London
The Dress: Created by Mme. Handley Seymour, the design of the dress recalled the simplicity of medieval dress, with deep square neckline and bold embroidery. It had a fashionable drop waist and was made from ivory chiffon moire which had been specially dyed to match the color of the point de Flanders lace veil. The front of the dress was appliqued with a series of bars of silver lame which were arranged over the bodice to form the appearance of a stomacher. The dress had two trains. The one at the back, fastened at the hips and extended 10 inches beyond the hem and spread 80 inches wide. Over this was worn a second train of tulle which floated from the shoulders. The shoes worn by Lady Elizabeth were made of ivory silk moire and had silver roses embroidered on them.
The Veil: Made of antique lace was secured by a simple bandeau of myrtle leaves, with a knot of white roses of York and white heather at each ear. The veil was lent to her by her mother-in-law, Queen Mary.
The Bouquet: Created by Edward Goodyear, included white heather and lillies-of-the-valley, with a white rose (emblem of the county of York) on either side. The bride laid the bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (every royal bride has since done so), in memory of her brother and the men killed in the war.
The Rings: Made from a gold nugget mined in the village of Bontddu, North Wales.
The Attendants: Lady May Cambridge, Lady Mary Thynne, Miss Betty Cator, Lady Katherine Hamilton, and the Hon. Diamond Hardinge. The two 11 year old trainbearers were her nieces, the Hon. Elizabeth Elphinstone and the Hon. Cecilia Bowes Lyon.
Memorable Detail: McVitie & Prince of Edinburgh furnished a nine-foot, 800-pound cake, gold-charm-filled at the couple’s request.
Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain & Philip Mountbatten
Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain & Philip Mountbatten November 20, 1947, Westminster Abbey, London
The Dress: A full length gown made of ivory duchesse satin by Norman Hartnell, it had a 15-foot train, which was attached at the shoulders. The dress was embroidered at the neckline, as well as along the sleeve edges, the front bodice and throughout the skirt and train with garlands of orange blossoms, syringas, jasmin, the white rose of York and shafts of wheat. Ten thousand (10,000!) seed pearls were used for the embroidery. (Norman Hartnell also designed the bride's going away outfit.)
The Diademe: The Hanover Fringe tiara, the diamonds of which were originally used in 1830 by court jewellers Rundell, Bridge & Rundell to form a necklace from the diamonds. It was later mounted on a frame for Queen Victoria so that it could be worn as a tiara.
The Veil: The veil contained more than 100 miles of gassamer silk thread.
The Gifts: Ranged from a Thoroughbred filly (courtesy of the Aga Khan) to a woven-cotton tray cloth made by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Cake: The nine-foot, 500-pound, four-tier confection took three people five weeks to decorate and was trimmed with sugar plaques depicting the royal residences—and the future Prince Philip’s hobbies.
The Attendants: Princess Margaret Rose, sister of the bride; Margaret Elphinstone; Diana Bowes-Lyon; Lady Caroline Montague Douglas-Scott; Lady Elzabeth Lambert; the Marquis of Milford-Haven; Lady Mary Cambridge; Lady Pamela Mountbatten.
Memorable Detail: Allegedly, the fragile frame of the diadame broke right before the wedding ceremony, but was repaired just in time.
Prince Charles of Great Britain and Lady Diana Spencer
Prince Charles of Great Britain and Lady Diana Spencer
July 29, 1981, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
The Dress: Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, it was made of silk from Britain’s only silk farm, in Dorset, and decorated with lace that had belonged to the groom’s great-grandmother. Other features: a tight bodice, huge puffed sleeves, a 25-foot cathedral train, and—tucked in the petticoats—a small 18 karat-gold horseshoe for luck.
The Flowers: The bride walked down the aisle to Jermiah Clarke’s The Prince of Denmark’s March, chosen by Charles, while carrying a bouquet that included white freesia, myrtle and veronica grown from the same stock that went into Queen Victoria’s bouquet.
The Cakes: Sixteen in all. The Royal Navy made the official marzipan-covered fruit cake, which weighed 255 pounds and stood five feet tall.
Memorable Detail: More than half a million people jammed into London’s Hyde Park to watch pre-wedding fireworks set to Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, while an estimated 500 million worldwide watched a live telecast of the wedding itself.
Prince Charles of Great Britain & Camilla Parker-Bowles
Prince Charles of Great Britain & Camilla Parker-Bowles April 9, 2005, Windsor Guidhall and St. George’s Chapel, London
The Dress: For the civil ceremony at Windsor Guidhall, an oyster silk basket-weave coat with herringbone stitch embroidery and a chiffon dress with appliqué woven lacquered disc detail—the discs were made in Switzerland—by British designers Robinson Valentine. The outfit was paired with a natural straw hat overlaid with ivory French lace and trimmed with a graphic fountain of feathers designed by Philip Treacy. For the church blessing, Robinson Valentine designed a dress coat inspired by a brooch given to the bride by her late mother. The porcelain blue silk coat dress was embroidered with gold thread, cinched at the waist with a matching dress underneath, and paired with a feather head dress by Philip Treacy.
The Rings: Court-style rings made of Welsh gold from the Clogau St. David’s mine in the Kings Forest in North Wales.
The Flowers: In the Guidhall, flowers were cut from the gardens at Highgrove and Raymill House (the groom and bride’s personal residences respectively). Lilies of the Valley—the bride’s favourite—were also used to decorate the Guidhall.
The Guests: Only family attended the civil service at Windsor Guildhall, where the groom’s eldest son, Prince William, and the bride’s son Tom Parker Bowles, handed their parents their wedding rings and signed the registry as witnesses. Nearly 800 guests attended the blessing at St. George’s Chapel, including the bride’s ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowles with his wife (Suzanne???), politicians from Great Britain and the Commonwealth (Prime Minister Tony Blaire and his wife Cherie, Adrienne Clarkson and her husband John Ralston Saul) foreign royals (King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands), and British celebrities (Rowan Atkinson, Joanna Lumley, Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Fry, David Frost, and Sting and his wife Trudi Styler).
Prince Andrew of Great Britain & Sarah Ferguson July 23, 1986, Westminster Abbey, London
The Dress: Embroidered ivory silk grown, with 17 ½-foot train, was by London designer Lindka Cierach.
The Guests: 1,800, including U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Michael Caine, Elton John and Estee Lauder.
The Photographer: Instead of an officially sanctioned one, Srah and Andrew, an avid amateur shutterbug, tapped rising Scots ssuperstar Albert Watson, who built a world-renowned reputation shooting the likes of Uma Thurman, Drew Barrymore and Jack Nicholson.
The Pages: The page boys attending Sarah, including the groom’s 4-year-old nephew Prince William, wore straw boaters and outfits modeled on 1782 navy midshipmen’s uniforms.
Memorable Detail: The couple left Buckingham Palace in a carriage decorated with a paper-mache satellite dish bearing the message PHONE HOME, courtesy of the groom’s brother Prince Edward.
Prince Edward of Great Britain & Sophie Rhys-Jones
Prince Edward of Great Britain & Sophie Rhys-Jones June 19, 1999, Windsor Castle, London
The Dress: Designer Samantha Shaw, herself a new bride, designed a simple ivory organza silk coat dress. The long, fitted panels contained 325,000 pearls and crystals sewn along the edges of the back and front of the dress.
The Jewellery: A diamond tiara from Queen Elizabeth II’s private collection held the cathedral-length veil in place. A black and white pearl cross necklace and matching earrings were designed by Prince Edward as a wedding day gift to his bride.
The Guests: About 550 people attended the nuptials of Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son. The royal guests included the Sultan of Brunei with two of his wives, Queen Anne Marie of Greece with her son Prince Nikolaos, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Prince Felipe of Spain and Prince Georg of Hannover.
The Music: The Edinburgh Choir, of which the groom is a patron of, performed at the service during which the bride and groom could be singing along to each hymn.
Memorable Detail: The original network airing the wedding dubbed Six Pence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” at the end of the wedding, making it seem as if Edward and Sophie had pre-chosen the song themselves. The song became their unofficial wedding song.
David Armstong-Jones, Viscount Linley and the Honorable Serena Stanhope October 8, 1993, St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London
The Dress: Serena’s dress consisted of a coat and a skirt. The silk coat had long pointed sleeves with several fabric buttons at the wrists, low V-shaped front and a high collar. The jacket buttoned from the V-front to the waist then flared open towards the back where it was gathered into a huge bow. The full skirt made of layers of tulle extended into a short train.
The Diademe: Serena wore the Papyrus Motive Tiara. This tiara was bought by Queen Mary from Garrard's. She later gave it to Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Mother), Duchess of York. She in turn gave it to her daughter Princess Margaret. Serena borrowed the tiara for her wedding day.
The Veil: The veil was made of tulle and was a long as the train.
The Bouquet: Lilies of the valley and Queen Anne's lace.
Memorable Detail: The bride's dress was inspired by her mother-in-law Princess Margaret's 1960 wedding gown.
Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones & Daniel Chatto July 14 1994, St. Stephen's Church, London, England
The Dress: Lady Sarah wore a white silk dress with long sleeves, low square neckline, crushed bodice, full skirt and a 3 meter (approx) long train.
The Diademe: Lady Sarah wears the Snowdon Floral Tiara which is a diamond floral tiara that can be broken up and used as brooches. Lord Snowdon gave this tiara to Prinrcess Margaret, Sarah's mother as a wedding gift in 1960.
The Bouquet: Yellow roses.
The Attendants: Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones, Zara Phillips and Tara Noble.
Lady Helen Windsor & Tim Taylor July 18, 1992, St. George's Chapel, London
The Dress: French-born, British-based designer Catherine Walker designed the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only daughter's wedding gown. The off-the-shoulder, off-white silk dress had short sleeves with a heavy V-neckline, which was bordered with embroidery. The full-length, bell-shaped skirt was pleated with a three-metre long train attached at the wasit.
The Diademe: The bride wore a tiara which originally belonged to her mother, the Duchess of Kent's (nee Katherine Worsley) family, the Worsley Fringe tiara, which is made of a bandeau base and topped with pearl-tipped fringes.
The Bouquet: A heavy bouquet of white and peach roses, violets, lillies of the valleys, as well as other cuts in soft pink and lavendar.
Lady Davina Windsor & Gary Lewis July 31, 2004, Kensington Palace, London
The Dress: A cream satin bustier dress adorned with buttons down her back, with a lace overlay blouse.
The Bouquet: A bright blue bouquet tied with green ribbons along the stem. The bride wore the same flowers in her hair and the groom wore the flowers as a butionniere.
The Guests: Only the bride’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, her sister, Lady Rose Windsor (who was also a bridesmaid), her brother, the Earl of Ulster (???) and his wife TK TK TK TK TK, the groom’s 12-year-old son Ari from a previous relationship, the groom’s parents Larry Lewis and Viki Carr, and the best man Nick Harvey were the only ones present at the religious service. One hundred and twenty guests were invited to the reception following the service at the palace.
Memorable Detail: The bride’s 101-year-old grandmother, Princess Alice, was too frail to attend, so the newly married couple paid a private visit to her following the ceremony and preceding the rececption.
Crown Prince Harald & Sonja Haraldsen August 29, 1968, Oslo Cathedral, Norway
The Dress:The bride's gown was designed by Sigrid Vedeler from the Oslo fashion house of Mongstad. Made of silk, the dress had a high collar, fitted bodice, long sleeves and bell-shaped skirt. The dress featured discrete pearl embroidery. The train was attached at the shoulders.
The Diademe: The bride chose to wear white flowers in her hair instead of a diademe. The only jewellery worn was a pair of pearl stud earrrings.
The Veil: A long, layered veil.
Memorable Detail: The bride was escorted down the aisle by her father-in-law King Olav.
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway & Mette-Marit Tjessem-Høiby
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway & Mette-Marit Tjessem-Høiby August 25, 2001, Oslo Cathedral, Norway
The Dress: The bride and designer Ove Harder Finseth collaborated on the gown, which was inspired by Queen Maud’s daily attire. One hundred and twenty-five metres of silk tulle draped the gown, which had a flared skirt with a two-metre-long train that was edged in decorated tulle that resembled waves in the sand.
The Bouquet: The bride’s unique bouquet was created in collaboration with an Oslo florist. Carried on her wrist and worn as a muff, flowers in soft tones of pink and mauve were fixed into a wire mesh, including Wanda orchids, hydrangeas, and roses.
The Gift: The bride’s tiara was a gift from her new in-laws, King Harald V and Queen Sonja. Made in 1910, the diamonds in the tiara form 23 floral rosettes set in platinum and yellow gold.
The Sermon: Given by Bishop Gunnar Stålsett, the sermon touched on the challenges the couple endured. “"So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor 13,13). Today these beautiful words from the Bible are yours. Rarely have they rung out so strongly! They point the way for the life you will live together - a life borne up by faith, hope and love. The path you have chosen has not been without thorns. But love has prevailed. Today it is being confirmed for all the world to see: love is the greatest of all, greather even than faith or hope. You have given courage to many who long for a love that 'bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing,' as the Apostle Paul says. You believe in each other as you embark on the future with confidence. You are showing us the creative power of love.”
Memorable Detail: The bride’s 4-year-old son from a previous relationship, Marius Høiby, was a page boy attired in white tie and tails.
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway to Ari Behn May 24, 2002, Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim
The Dress: Wenche Lyche designed the two-piece ensemble inspired by the shape of the Märtha lily and the gothic arches of Nidaros Cathedral. The ensemble consisted of an off-white duchesse satin jacket cut like a tailcoat embroidered with Swarovski crystals with gothic sleeve inserts, inspired by the bride’s mother, Queen Sonja’s wedding dress sleeves. The train was embroidered with a vine that symbolized the thread of life, as well as five lilies—the sacred number for a wedding. The jacket was pinned together with a cultured pearl, 18-carat pin in the shape of the letter ‘A.’ The sleeveless dress was made of silk crepe with a V-shape cut in the front and the back.
The Flowers: The bride’s bouquet was composed of white and cream-coloured lilies of the valley, Märtha lilies, and orchids formed in a heart shape with a waterfall of lilies of the valley. Precious stones which adorned the wedding coat were scattered in the bouquet. The young flower girls and page carried small arrangements that formed the letter ‘A,’ ‘M’ and a heart.
The Rings: Handmade white gold with precious stones, each hand engraved.
Memorable Detail: The couple received heavy criticism from designers for the bold choice of colours chosen for their wedding: turquoise and fuschia pink, which adorned flags and banners in Trondheim. The bride defended their choice of colours, declaring that they reflected the couple’s “somewhat explosive personalities.”
Princess Ragnhild Alexandra of Norway & Erling Sven Lorentzen
May 15, 1953, Asker Church, Asker, Norway
The Attendants: Memorable Detail: The 4 tiered wedding cake was a gift from Normandsforbundet (The Norwegian Society) in New York, and had been flown to Norway by airplane from the USA.
Princess Astrid Maud Ingeborg of Norway & Johan Martin Ferner
January 12, 1961, Asker Church, Asker, Norway
The Attendants: Memorable Detail: As Mr. Ferner had been married previously, and was divorced, it was difficult to find someone who was willing to officiate at the ceremony. The Bishop of Oslo, who officiated at Astrid's older sister's wedding, was opposed to wed divorced people. They found the solution in the bishop of Nidaros.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden & Silvia Renate Sommerlath
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden & Silvia Renate Sommerlath June 19, 1976, The Cathedral of Stockholm, Stockholm
The Dress: Marc Bohan of Dior designed a white silk duchesse satin gown. The Queen chose the dress herself, after a secret trip to Paris. The dress was purposely simple, as per the future Queen's wishes.
The Diadme: Emperess Josephine's Cameo tiara, one of the most lavish and most important pieces in the Swedish royal family's jewel collection. It is made of five cameos and pearls set in red gold with a honeysuckle motif. The tiara has previously been worn by Queen Ingrid of Denmark, who was born a princess of Sweden, the King's mother Princess Sybilla, and all of his sisters on their wedding days.
The Bouquet: Orchids, lilies of the valley, stephanotis and jasmine, all in white.
The Menu: A luncheon was held in the White Sea at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The 300 hundred guests (1,200 attended the church service) feasted on cold consommé with Iranian Caviar, salmon mousse Queen Silvia, cold Scottish forest pigeon with goose foie gras, heart leaf salad, wild strawberries from Malaga with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The wedding cake was a Croquembouche. The Royal Head Chef, Werner Vögeli, who had planned the menu for the day, wrote a note with the recipe of Salmon Mousse Queen Silvia which he placed under her place setting at the luncheon, a special memento of her wedding day that he wanted her to have.
Memorable Detail: Silvia Sommerlath became Queen of Sweden at 12:21 a.m. on June 19. The commentator for Swedish Television said “It is 12:21 in the day – and Sweden has a new Queen." The last queen before Silvia was Queen Louise, who had died in 1965. The previous first lady of the country was been Princess Christina, one of the king's sisters, as the king's mother, Princess Sibylla (who never became Queen) died in 1972. So it was a historical comment by that commentator on television, Sweden finally had a Queen after waiting since 1965, and only having had Princesses fill the role as first ladies.
Princess Birgitta of Sweden & Prince Johan of Hohenzollern Civil ceremony May 26, 1961, Royal Palace of Stockholm Religious ceremony May 30, 1961, Sankt Johann Church, Sigmaringen Palace
The Dress: Märthaskolan designed the gown for both the civil and religious ceremonies, which was an invory white silk duchesse gown with a tulle veil.
The Diademe: Emperess Josephine's Cameo tiara was worn at the civil ceremony, while a diamond Hohenzollern crown was worn to the relgiious ceremony.
Honeymoon: The French Riviera and Prince Bertil’s villa in Sainte Maxime.
Memorable Detail: Panic broke loose when it was realized that Princess Birgitta's petticoat had been forgotten back in Stockholm as she was preparing for the ceremony in Frankfurth. Luckily the petticoat was messengered to the princess in the nick of time.
-------------------- Princess Désirée of Sweden & Nils-August Silfverschiöld June 5, 1964, Cathedral of Stockholm, Stockholm
The Dress: Princess Désirée re-wore her sister Princess Birgitta's Märthaskolan gown, though it was re-worked.
The Diademe: Emperess Josephine's Cameo tiara.
The Bouquet: Orchids and lilies of the valley from the groom's family's castle.
The Honeymoon: Nice, France, some time in Malaga in Spain, and then the rest of the time at Prince Bertil’s villa in Sainte Maxime.
--Information and pictures courtesy of GrandDuchess
Princess Margaretha and Princess Christina of Sweden
Princess Margaretha of Sweden & John Ambler June 30, 1964, Gärdslösa Church on Öland
The Dress: A white faille gown paired with a veil made of Brussels lace.
The Bouquet: Cornflower, ox-eye daisies and poppies.
Guests: Only 146 in all. The bride wanted a close, family wedding. The reception was held at Solliden and a buffet in the English park.
Honeymoon: The couple departed in a helicopter to Sardinia, where they were the guests of the Aga Khan.
Memorable Detail: The couple drove to the church in an open Pontiac.
-------------------- Princess Christina of Sweden & Tord Magnusson June 15, 1974, Cathedral of Stockholm, Stockholm
The Dress: A gown made of whole silk crêpe and Queen Sophia's veil.
The Diademe: The Connaught diamond tiara, made of five looping swags of forget-me-not flowers and leaves. Each swag contains a dangling pendant. The tiara was originally a gift to Princess Margaret, daughter of the Duke of Connaught and his wife Princess Margrete Luise, when she married Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden in 1905.
The Bouquet: Pink roses and freesia.
Memorable Details: Princess Christina proposed to her groom. The couple arrived to their wedding reception, held at the Royal Palace of Stockhom, via a steamboat.
--Information and pictures courtesy of GrandDuchess