Iconic Wedding Dresses : Wallis Simpson
If it wasn’t for American socialite Wallis Simpson, The Royal Family as we now know it would be completely unrecognisable. When Prince Edward, (King George V’s oldest son) married Wallis in 1937, he also abdicated his throne as King of Britain, and this responsibility was instead passed down to his younger brother Albert, who became King George V1.
Edward had only been King-in-waiting a few months when he proposed to Wallis, who had divorced her first husband and was already seeking a divorce from her second. Prime Ministers and Church of England Archbishops at the time were not at all pleased with the prospect of having a Queen who still had two living ex-husbands, and therefore delivered an ultimatum to Edward; he was either to withdraw his proposal to Wallis, or abdicate the throne. Edward chose the latter, and thus is one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British history.
Their wedding, which no members of the British Royal Family attended, was held at the Château de Candé, on the 3rd of June, 1937.
Wallis Simpson’s Wedding Dress
Wallis wore a simple dress, with a floor-length plain skirt, wide-fitting waistband, and a clean gathered bodice. The gown was created by Paris-based American designer Mainbocher, who had worked with Wallis in the past, and had even developed a shade of blue (‘Wallis blue’) just for her. As it would have been seen as improper for Wallis to wear white to her third wedding, her gown was made from this very same ‘Wallis blue’, which was said to match her eyes perfectly.
Wallis topped her outfit off with a matching blue straw hat and long-sleeved jacket, both or which were widely copied throughout Europe and America for the next few years.
Unfortunately, as you can see in the pictures, Wallis’s gown, which she donated to the Metropolitan Museum in 1950, has faded over time, and it now appears a more traditional cream.
Although less extravagant than other royal brides, as we all know, sometimes less is more, and this simple, flattering and glamorous gown is still considered one of the most iconic and frequently-copied gowns of modern times.