With today’s brides so obsessed with recreating the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding look for their own big day, it’s easy to forget that back in the day, there was another gown influencing a whole other generation of brides – that of Queen Elizabeth II.
But you might be surprised to learn the story behind her stunning dress – and just how much time, money and work went into it. Here are eight things you never knew about Her Majesty’s 1947 wedding gown.
1. No small feat – Designed by royal dressmaker Norman Hartnell who specialised in intricate embroidery, the gown took 350 women seven weeks to make. He called it “the most beautiful dress I ever made”.
2. She paid using coupons – World War II was over but rationing was still in place for everyone – including the royals. Luckily for Her Maj, the government granted her an extra 200 clothing coupons, which she used along the ones she had saved.
3. It wasn’t light – No expense was spared for the dress, which had over 10,000 pearls (not to mention crystals and sequins) affixed to Chinese silk. Claire Foy, who played the Queen in The Crown, wore an exact replica for the show and said it weighed “a ton”.
4. A long train – The dress’ star-patterned train clocked in at just over 4.5m long. Although this was nothing compared to Diana’s, which measured 7.62m. Kate’s was the shortest, at just 2.74m.
5. Her tiara broke – The morning of her wedding, the Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara (borrowed from the Queen Mother) snapped! A jeweller was able to repair it, but there’s still a noticeable gap in the middle of the tiara.
6. Her bouquet went missing – The royal couple were forced to delay their wedding pictures for a week after Her Majesty’s bouquet went missing shortly after the ceremony.
7. There was a secret lucky charm – Unbeknownst to the Queen, Hartnell added an extra lucky clover on the left side of her skirt so that her hand could lay upon it during the ceremony.
8. She wore open-toed shoes – No ugly court shoes for Her Maj! The Queen wore satin open-toed heels designed by Hartnell and which featured silver buckles studded with pearls.