The Most Controversial Royal Fashion Wedding Moments In British History
When it comes to royal weddings, there is a lot of tradition, decorum, and etiquette involved that ensures that the day goes as smoothly and dignified as possible. But that doesn't mean that sometimes a contentious moment doesn't pop up. There have been some controversial royal wedding fashion moments throughout history, and though they are few and far between, they do offer an interesting glimpse behind that veil of propriety.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that the royals are people, too, and they all have their own tastes, feuds, and moments of indulgence — which often becomes fodder for gossip when it comes to the public eye. After all, royals are like the biggest of celebrities, so their every move is watched and discussed.
From a queen deciding to do her own thing and break with "what's done," to an estranged relative deciding to make a point with their fashion statement, to a guest getting a little too experimental with the dress code at such a strict event, to the world objectifying someone who has no reason to be ogled at — there are a lot of interesting cases tucked away into history's past. Visit some of the most interesting ones below.
Queen Victoria Showed Up Wearing White
The norm for royal wedding dresses had to do with one thing: opulence, opulence, and more opulence. They were heavily ornate and fur trimmed, sporting rich colors used from the most expensive dyes. Think russet red, deep indigo, or dark green gowns encrusted with jewels and pearls that cost more than the bride's weight in gold. Which is why when Queen Victoria showed up to the chapel in 1840 wearing a white dress covered in white lace, people were...confused.
And they were disappointed. Here they were expecting an exquisite gown, and the queen steps out of her carriage wearing simple white. Little did they expect that it would become the driving trend of the wedding industry after that!
Wallis Warfield Wore A Somber Dress To Her Wedding
In December of 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Warfield, an American divorcée with two past husbands already under her belt. The union nearly created a constitutional crisis and the family refused to formally receive her. Being a controversial figure in Britain's eyes, her wedding dress was somber and reserved. Skipping the pomp and circumstance that came with a royal ceremony, the bride wore a light blue column dress that matched her eyes, topped off with a fitted jacket.
But she also had a tendency to convey messages with her outfits, and she used details in her wedding look to send a pointed message to the family that rejected her. According to The Guardian, it was no accident that her hat was in the shape of a halo, thumbing her nose at what was thought of her, and that she wore a bracelet of crosses on her wrist — each one given to her by Edward to mark a milestone in their relationship, and highlighting their controversial union.
Ration Stamps Were Mailed For Queen Elizabeth's Dress
Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip just two years after World War II was over, which meant that the country was still recovering and on strict rations during the planning stages of the wedding. Because of that, the queen couldn't whip together an overly-elaborate dress, because she too was on a ration book.
She was allowed 200 extra coupons to create her dress — indulging in more fabric and silk — but fans and admirers were worried that that wouldn't be enough, and sent in their own coupons through the mail as gifts. While sweet and thoughtful, transferring coupons was actually illegal, and so each of them had to be sent back to their sender — but with a thank you note attached!
Princess Margaret Wore A Surprisingly Plain Wedding Gown
When Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's sister, became married, her dress choice was a bit of a surprise. She donned a plain silk organza wedding dress on the big day, and was described by Life Magazine as "the simplest royal wedding gown in history."
Princess Diana's Engagement Outfit Was Off The Rack
Breaking with tradition in wearing a British designer for her engagement announcement, Princess Diana instead wore something straight off the racks from Harrods, a London department store. But that wasn't because she wanted to.
Before the big announcement, Princess Diana went shopping to pick out the perfect outfit. She first stopped at an elegant British boutique named Bellville Sassoon, but had a moment straight out of Pretty Woman: Not recognizing her as Prince Charles' future bride, none of the saleswomen wanted to help her, and one of them even suggested that she go somewhere more budget-friendly.
Princess Beatrice's Experimental Hat
Fast-forwarding a couple of decades from Princess Diana's wedding to one of her son's, there was a lot of chatter at Prince William's nuptials — but not about the bride and groom, but about one of their guests.
Princess Beatrice, Prince William's cousin, took part in the long-standing tradition of wearing a creative hat for the royal ceremony, but to some onlookers her hat was a little too fun. Known for her love of fashion, it was no surprise that Princess Beatrice showed up in a memorable fascinator, where it sat almost completely vertical on her head and the taupe color complimented her Valentino Haute Couture dress.
But some of the public didn't love it — a Facebook group named Princess Beatrice's Ridiculous Hat soon sprung up, where her hat became a meme and was replaced with different wacky creations being Photoshopped onto her head. Some people just don't enjoy the creative side to fashion!
Pippa Middleton's Butt
In another case of "women who cannot live," when Pippa Middleton walked down the aisle as her sister's Maid of Honor, the world couldn't stop looking at her butt. The dress was in no way immodest or "tight," but people still made a big deal out of her backside regardless.
From starting a Facebook group that was cringely entitled "The Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society" (with nearly 200 thousand members,) to a plastic surgery procedure named “The Pippa Buttlift,” to Justin Timberlake objectifying her with a public shout-out to her body, the butt-craze was an unexpected turn of events.
Kate Middleton's Dress Is The 5th Most Expensive In The World
Every time a royal gets married in the United Kingdom, there is the accompanying conversation about how much the celebration is going to cost the nation, and how many tax dollars are going to go to security costs and dress fittings. During one of these talks, it became public that Middleton's custom made Alexander McQueen dress has become the fifth most expensive dress in the world, clocking in at around $322,000. As you can imagine, not everyone was pleased.
From the sheer expense of wedding dresses, to guests' avant garde wardrobe choices, to estranged brides making statements with their fashion choices, history is peppered with controversial royal wedding fashion moments. Time will only tell what these upcoming May nuptials will bring!