The 20th century saw Princess Margaret as a trailblazer in the British Royal Family. Princess Margaret, the younger sister to Queen Elizabeth II, was often praised for her independence and unorthodox relationships. Their May 6th 1960 wedding in Westminster Abbey was the first royal wedding that was televised. This started a long-lasting trend that has been followed by generations and decades. (See: Prince Charles’s and Diana Spencer’s 1981 televised nuptials; Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding broadcasts; and Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s highly anticipated 2018 wedding which attracted 11.5 million viewers on the day-of.
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Who designed Princess Margaret’s wedding dress?
Norman Hartnell, a British designer with a lot of experience working alongside the royals, was entrusted with Princess Margaret’s wedding dress design. Hartnell had actually designed Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress 13 years before. Hartnell also designed the bridesmaid gowns for Princess Margaret and the then-Princess Elizabeth for the Duchess Of Glouchester’s private wedding. (The ceremony was cut short because the father of the Duchess-of-Glouchester died before the ceremony.
- Style, shape, and more
Its simplicity and inexplicability are two reasons Princess Margaret’s wedding dress has been so popular with royal wedding enthusiasts. The long sleeves and silk organza dress were made. The dress featured a V neckline that was seen as bold and risky for the time. It also had a full skirt that needed approximately 98 feet.
This gown was designed to highlight the figure of the British monarch and lacked embellishments common to royal wedding gowns. (Case In Point: Grace Kelly’s wedding dress featured hundreds of hand-sewn, seed pearls. The elegant silhouette of the gown is said to have inspired Lady Sarah Chatto’s off-the shoulder wedding dress, and the Givenchy-lined wedding gown for the Duchess. As part of an ongoing exhibition about royal wedding gowns, Princess Margaret’s dress for her wedding is currently on display at Kensington Palace.
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- Accessories from Princess Margaret’s Wedding Day Look
Because her wedding gown didn’t include many embellishments, Princess Margaret decided to add glam to the look with her accessories. This included a glittering tiara called the Poltimore tiara. Garrard created the royal tiara in 1870 for Lady Poltimore. It featured a graduated line with old-cut and cushion-shaped diamond clusters, which alternated with scroll motifs that were diamond-set.
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As Princess Margaret walked down Westminster Abbey’s aisle, Prince Phillip, her brother-in law, also wore a cathedral-length silk and tulle veil. The Duke of Edinburgh gave her away as her father, King George VI, had died several years before. Edward Rayne, a royal shoemaker, made Princess Margaret’s wedding shoes. They were traditional court styles, made of white crepe, satin, and had slender, two-and-a half-inch heels.
- Surprising Facts about Princess Margaret’s Wedding
The rules were not something Princess Margaret followed, even on her wedding day. Her wedding look was simple and elegant. This contrasts with the extravagant and elaborate royal wedding gowns of old, such as Queen Victoria’s frilled lace gown, or the silk richly crystal- and pearl-embroidered gown that Queen Victoria wore to her 1947 nuptials. These are some other interesting facts about Princess Margaret’s wedding-day look.
- She purchased her own wedding tiara.
The Princess Margaret, who shook with tradition and bought the Poltimore tiara using her own money, even wore it out of public a few times prior to the wedding. Princesses have borrowed tiaras of the Royal Collection in the past, so her choice was not typical. Over the centuries, royal brides such as Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice have borrowed headpieces either from the Royal Collection or the Queen Mother.
Her bouquet for her wedding was very similar to Queen Elizabeth’s.
Princess Margaret’s bouquet featured mostly orchids and was modestly designed by royal standards. The bouquet likely included a sprig or myrtle, which is a symbol of love and marriage that every royal bride has included since Queen Victoria’s 1840 marriage to Prince Albert. According to some, the bouquet looked similar to that of her sister, Queen Victoria, but was smaller in size. As is tradition, Princess Margaret took the bouquet to Westminster Abbey after the wedding.