A look back at The Queen’s wedding dress

A look back at The Queen’s wedding dress…

Royal weddings of past and present continue to enchant the nation. The dresses encompass tradition and timeless beauty whilst embracing the fashions of the period and is forever and always will be the talking point of the public. As homage to this, we thought we would take a nostalgic look back at the iconic wedding dress Queen Elizabeth II wore in 1947.

When Princess Elizabeth walked up the aisle at Westminster Cathedral in 1947, her dress was not just a fashion statement; she represented and personified the newborn hopes of a nation that had only just seen the end of the Second World War. Due to the austere effects of the war, and to pay respect to the public, the princess bought the fabric for her wedding dress using ration coupons.

Despite this, the dress was nothing short of elaborate and opulent. Royal dressmaker Norman Hartnell achieved an expression of national renewal by decorating the gown with garlands of spring flowers. This was influenced by the famous late 15th century painting Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.


The painting is heavily abundant in floral motifs and flowers, documenting around 500 individual plant species. Plus, the painting itself was believed to have been created for the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco in May 1482. Therefore, love and marriage is at the heart of its symbolism, a fitting influence for Elizabeth’s dress.

Her ivory Duchesse satin gown featured a soft sweetheart neckline and was created using silk produced at Lullingstone Castle, near London. As is traditional in the Royal Family, Elizabeth’s dress featured delicate floral embroidery representing the four nations of Britain, this included garlands of roses entwined with ears of wheat in crystals and pearls.

The dress was also heavily embellished 10,000 seed pearls and crystals. Overall creating a shining resplendent gown fit for the future Queen.

The princess chose to accessorise the gown with satin heels by Edward Rayne, a stunning tiara from the royal collection, two layered pearl necklaces dating from the 18th century, and a beautiful bouquet of white orchids with sprigs of myrtle.

Interestingly, the future Queen applied her own makeup before the wedding. We can assume that this was due to the austere measures of the time, yet this also presents a humbling view of The Royal Family.

The wedding took place in Westminster Abbey, The Queen was the tenth royal to marry in this elaborate, and iconic church.


In a rather touching gesture of loyalty, women from all over Britain also saved up their coupons and sent them on to Buckingham Palace, however as the transfer of ration coupons were illegal, the royal family returned the coupons with a note appreciating their gesture. The Queen received over 2,500 wedding presents from all over the world.

In 2007, The Queen became the first British Monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary. And in 2017, Philip and Elizabeth achieved their Platinum wedding anniversary. To commemorate this, the royal family released official portraits of the Queen and Prince Philip together against a platinum backdrop.



  1. Jane d says:

    I love looking at this dress and the veil, as my mother worked for Norman hartnell and hand embroidered some of the flowers on the veil, she had fond memories of it

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