Royally Wed: A Retrospective

With Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations going in full force in the U.K. and Commonwealth nations, I thought I’d take this opportunity to look back at some of the royal weddings that have taken place over the years.

And I don’t just mean royal weddings in England. There are other countries with royalty, many of them figureheads in the same way that the British royal family is. Denmark, Sweden, Greece, Spain, Jordan.

Let’s start, however, with some times gone by, in honor of Her Majesty.

When Edward VII married Alexandra of Denmark, you can bet the celebrations were elaborate. There aren’t too many photographs, but I managed to dig up one. The image of Westminster Abbey below it is from a painting (the wedding was in 1863).

The next British royal wedding I’ll feature was very different. It took place after Edward VII’s successor, Edward VIII, had abdicated. He was not allowed to marry a divorcée, who was also a commoner. He gave up his title for the famous—some might say infamous—Wallis Simpson, and his abdication and their marriage paved the way for George VI, Queen Elizabeth’s father. Their relationship was the scandal of decades.

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, now known as the Queen Mother, had a royal wedding too. But at the time, her prince wasn’t the heir to the throne, so it probably wasn’t as big a to-do as it might have been otherwise. The styles certainly changed from the Edwardian era. Flappers and the Roaring Twenties were right around the corner.

We’ve got lots of photos of Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day up at Pinterest, so go there and take a look, if you want to see the next British royal wedding.

After that there was Princess Margaret, Elizabeth’s younger sister, who married the handsome and talented photographer, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, who was given the title of Lord Snowdon after the marriage. I think her 1950s dress was absolutely gorgeous. (And a little factoid: I had the privilege of working with Snowdon on a photo shoot in London a few years ago…)

The next royal wedding was Charles and Diana, who chose to have their enormous state wedding in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Looking back, remembering watching the wedding on our tiny black and white TV in our house just outside of London, I call that I thought she was beautiful, that the dress, the coach, everything, was like a fairy tale. Of course, that was in the big-hair, big-everything early 80s, and now her dress seems like a mistake of a meringue. But knowing all that happened later, I can’t help but feel a tightening of my throat just to look at the pictures.

So that brings us to William and Kate. There have been so many pictures around I hardly need to remind our readers. But for purposes of comparison with my next royal subject, I’ll put one up.

So, let’s leave Britain for a moment, and go to Monaco. The glamorous Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, in a real Hollywood fairytale. Although the couple stayed together, the princess met an untimely death in a terrible car accident.

There’s a lot more lace, but look at it from the front. You’ll see the similarity.

The lines are more fifties, but the top is pure Kate Middleton.

So, now for the slideshow of other royal weddings this century! See if you can identify the royals correctly, and we’ll send you an Appy Couple invitation code! (Hint: you might find some information at the Harper’s Bazaar website, where many of these photos came from (Thank you, Harper’s!)