Kate Middleton and her mother-in-law, the late Princess Diana, each wore an iconic wedding dress for their respective royal weddings. On July 29, 1981, young Diana Spencer married Prince Charles while wearing a custom ivory silk and taffeta ball gown designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel.
Forty years later, on April 29, 2011, Kate married Prince William while wearing a Victorian-inspired dress designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The two dresses couldn’t be more different. But they both had a touching detail that no one had ever seen.
Kate Middleton’s wedding dress combines “tradition and modernity”
The Duchess of Cambridge worked closely with Burton on the design of her wedding dress. In a palace statement released on her wedding day, it was revealed that Kate had chosen the British brand “for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional craftsmanship and the technical construction of garments”.
“Miss Middleton wanted her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes the work of Alexander McQueen,” the statement read.
The dress’s satin bodice – which tapered at the waist and was lightly padded below the midsection – was inspired by the Victorian tradition of corsetry. It was also a staple of an Alexander McQueen design. Her train was nearly nine feet long and the lace work on the dress was completely handmade by the Royal School of Needlework.
Princess Diana’s wedding dress sets 1980s bridal trends
Diana’s silk taffeta dress featured puffed sleeves, a ruffled collar and a voluminous skirt that was specially woven and dyed in ivory. The Princess of Wales also wore a spectacular 25ft train – the longest in royal wedding history – and a 153m tulle veil.
According People magazine, the train was so long that it had to be “folded up like a bed sheet” in order to fit it into the carriage that was taking Diana to St. Paul’s Cathedral. But, bending the train ended up crumpling it.
The cumbersome train was difficult to transport and required two bridesmaids to guide it down the aisle. When Princess Diana entered the cathedral, she reportedly told the girls, “Do your best.”
Kate Middleton and Princess Diana’s wedding dresses had the same touching detail
For Diana’s “something old” she included antique Queen Mary lace sewn into her dress. For Kate’s “something borrowed” she wore Queen Elizabeth’s Cartier Halo tiara. As for the “something blue”, Kate and Diana wore the same detail that no one has ever seen – a blue bow.
Diana’s blue bow was included inside the bodice, while Kate’s was also sewn inside her dress.
Both brides wore earrings from their respective parents. The two royal couples walked back down the aisle to the same processional music – William Walton’s orchestral march, Crown Imperial. And, of course, Kate wore the same 12-carat oval blue sapphire engagement ring that Diana wore on her wedding day.
The ring was given to Prince Harry after Diana’s death. But he gave the ring to William when he found out about his brother’s wedding plans.
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