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Timeless Royal Bridal Gowns

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

As a self-confessed lover of all things timeless and a secret admirer of Royal Wedding Dresses both historic and modern; then perhaps the one thing we have in common - if you are reading this - is our shared love of fairytale dressing.

A factor that I often share with brides-to-be, especially those who would look breathtaking in a timeless bridal gown, is to consider the style choices of past royal brides.  Who, in spite of wealth and access to wear any bridal gown they desire, they nearly always choose their wedding day style with a strong link to the historical styles worn by their predecessors – meaning that their choices have less to do with the fashion of the day.

If you observe with care, you will however note the most common thread (excuse the pun) that runs continuously is one of modesty.

Long sleeves, high necklines, tailored fabrics, etc., All details that bridal fashion influences and designers either incorporate into their work or adapt to create fresh and innovative fashion looks.   Whilst the royal wedding dresses are worn by both Princess Grace, Lady Diana, and Kate Middleton will forever be etched upon our memories and hearts, they are irreplaceable images that will inspire decades of fashion in the future, surpassing both the trends and hype that dominate bridal fashion today



It is so easy to be dismissive about the design and details within a simpler dress, especially when it doesn’t meet our expectations.  But oftentimes, a factor that I have learned over the years to fully appreciate as a couture wedding dress designer, is the complexity of simplicity.  Design that looks seamlessly simple to the untrained eye, requires far more attention to the cut, the fit, and the details of the finish and often can take much more time to get everything absolutely right.

Megan Markle’s classic white gown designed by wedding dress designer Claire Waight Keller was a strikingly simple shape.  Perhaps a little too simple for many judging by the many many discussions that I have had on the subject of Megan’s dress.  Yes, I agree it was quite the plainest wedding dress that you would expect given the publicity and visibility.  And Yes, I truly expected Megan to wear a gown that had more of a wow factor; but, consider how very her’ the Stella McCartney dress was.  A total break away from the first dress and a much better fit too (So there…I said it).  But let’s not be too critical, as this wouldn’t be the first understated Royal wedding dress, especially if you can remember the understated and simple silk two-piece wedding dress worn by Princess Margaret on her wedding day?

The Fabric – a heavy-weight Italian silk crepe with a gentle sheen and which drapes nicely for clean-cut tailored wedding and special occasion dresses


Princess Margaret’s wedding dress was designed and made by London couturier Norman Hartnell, who had created the Queen’s bridal gown 13 years earlier, reports Town & Country. According to T&C, at the time, Life magazine reportedly described the Hartnell creation as: “the simplest royal wedding gown in history.


Materials: Overlay jacket in silk organza, strapless ballgown in silk duchess satin.


Following in the footsteps of her mother Princess Margaret, Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones’s wedding dress created by British designer Jasper Conran was fantastically simple and timeless in keeping with the trend a the time for slimmer lined gowns.


Material: silk crepe chiffon, heavy silk satin organza


This is a standout photo for me.  Princess Mary styles her century-old crown so that it sits beneath the silk tulle veils.  It is such an understated statement and totally in tune with how I would wear mine too 🙂   As the full crown would be too ‘heavy’ a look against such a modestly designed wedding dress cut in silk duchess satin and brocade for Mary Donaldson’s wedding in May 2004 to Crown Prince Frederik.

Material: Silk brocade and duchess satin


Norwegian Princess Martha-Louise, daughter of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, married Ari Behn in May 2002 in a custom dress and coat by designer Wenche Lyche.   The coat was densely hand-beaded from the collar to the tip of the train to create a shimmering border that contrasted nicely against the Duchess satin and, which was reported at the time, removed for her reception.

Materials: Two-piece A-line gown and matching Coat cut in Silk Duchess Satin




Princess Charlene and Prince Albert II of Monaco were married in 2011.  This royal wedding dress broke away from the standard typical lace, a full skirt, and an epic train, to showcase a minimal, sleek, and chic custom wedding dress by Armani Privé with an off-the-shoulder neckline and a slim silhouette.

Materials: Silk Duchess Satin with beadwork  gently flowing from the center of the bodice following the line of the dress and fanning out towards the hemline



Cynthia Grafton-Holt couture is a must-visit for discerning brides searching for that once-in-a-lifetime dream dress. 

With over 30 years of experience designing outstanding luxury bridal couture gowns and voted by Grace Ormonde's Wedding Style and as:

‘One of the leading Luxury Black Wedding Professionals for High-End Weddings’. 

Visit the NEW HOME of Cynthia Grafton-Holt’s Bridal Couture HERE


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