Queen Victoria launched the white gown trend
In the Victorian era, brides generally wore the nicest dress they could buy (and re-wear) in whatever colour tickled their fancy. That all changed when Queen Victoria donned a white gown in 1840 when marrying Prince Albert. She chose white—then the colour to wear to funerals, not weddings—mainly to match the lace on her dress, but it didn’t take long for brides to follow her lead, citing the hue as a sign of purity. Here are more fun facts about colour that we take for granted!
Diana said the wrong name during her vows
Luckily, the slip wasn’t overly awkward. Instead of calling her groom “Charles Philip Arthur George,” Diana swapped the names as “Philip Charles.” She wasn’t the only one suffering from wedding jitters, though—Charles said “thy goods” in his vows instead of “my worldly goods.” Here’s what really happened between Princess Diana and Prince Charles.
Queen Elizabeth used ration coupons to pay for her dress
After World War II, even then-Princess Elizabeth wasn’t exempt from being limited to clothing rations. Hundreds from the British public tried sending her their own cards to supplement the 200 coupons she’d been granted, but the palace returned each one because transferring them was illegal. Here are seven more things you didn’t know about the Queen.
Kate Middleton had two wedding dresses
They’ve all served the same type of cake
Every British royal wedding since Queen Victoria’s 1840 ceremony has served fruitcake.
Diana had a stain emergency
On her way to the ceremony, Diana reportedly spilled perfume all over her gown while trying to dab it on her wrists. Her quick-thinking makeup artist showed her how to hold the dress up to cover the stain, keeping onlookers none the wiser. Here are seven more things you never knew about Princess Diana.
Royal brides have one bouquet in common
In 1840, Queen Victoria’s bouquet included a sprig of myrtle, symbolizing love and fertility. Since then, every royal bride has kept a sprig of the flower sourced from this special place.
Kate’s bouquet was a nod to her groom
In addition to the myrtle (plus lily of the valley and hyacinth), the Duchess of Cambridge’s bouquet included a bloom with a touching sentiment: sweet William.
Princess Diana’s shoes held a secret message
She had the letters C and D (for Charles and Diana) with a heart hidden on them. Find out where you could see the shoes’ sweet tribute.
Kate Middleton did her own makeup
Leading up to the big day, she was rumoured to have taken lessons from makeup artist Arabella Preston.
Psst—here are 10 of the most shocking royal family feuds in history!
Diana had the longest train in royal history
While Kate’s train was impressive, it couldn’t hold a candle to Diana’s 25-foot train—or the veil, which was even longer.
Westminster Abbey held its first wedding 900 years ago
King Henry I’s marriage to Princess Matilda of Scotland in 1100 was the first royal wedding to take place there—and William and Kate kept the tradition going 911 years later. Check out these etiquette rules the royal family needs to follow.
Bonus: Westminster Abbey made our countdown of London’s top 50 attractions!
The royal family kept the trees from William and Kate’s wedding
George VI’s wedding wasn’t played on the radio
Radio was all the rage in 1923, when he married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, but there was no broadcast because the Archbishop of Canterbury didn’t want it played in pubs.
They cost tens of millions of dollars
In 2011, William and Kate spent an estimated $32 million on their nuptials, most of which went toward security costs. If that weren’t staggering enough, Charles and Diana spent close to $70 million in today’s dollars for their 1981 ceremony. They aren’t always so lavish, though; don’t miss these 15 surprisingly frugal habits of the royal family.