When Kate Middleton married Prince William of the United Kingdom in the spring of 2011, it definitely proved something we had all suspected for a long time: everyone loves a fairy tale ending. We all love a good story about an ordinary gal (or guy) who somehow winds up in the royal family, just by falling in love with the right person. After all, plenty of little girls fantasize about winding up a princess someday. Exciting as royal weddings are to those of us who are far, far from the throne, we all known that the most exciting part of watching a princess or queen wed isn’t the union; it’s seeing her gown! After all, when your wedding budget is bankrolled by royalty, there’s a good chance the dress will impress!
Queen Victoria Of England
Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840. She famously popularized the tradition of the “white wedding,” or wearing a white gown to be wed.
Queen Alexandra Of The United Kingdom
Princess Alexandra of Denmark became a princess twice-over when she married the heir the British throne, Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1863. Edward became King-Emperor Edward VII after his mother Queen Victoria, and Alexandra became queen consort.
Queen Mary Of The United Kingdom
Born Princess Mary of Teck, the young noblewoman became the next queen after marrying her distant cousin Prince George in 1893, who later became King George V. She was previously engaged to George’s older brother Albert, who died in an outbreak of influenza.
Queen Ingrid Of Denmark
Born Princess Ingrid of Sweden, her marriage was a matter of much debate in the Roaring ’20s. Ingrid ultimately married Frederick, the Crown Prince of Denmark and Iceland, in 1935, and the pair became king and queen in 1947.
Queen Farida Of Egypt
The daughter of a judge, Safinaz Zulficar married King Farouk of Egypt in 1938 and became the queen consort Farida. She was the penultimate queen of Egypt; she and the king divorced 11 years later, and his second wife became the last queen of Egypt.
Queen Elizabeth II Of The United Kingdom
Before she inherited the throne, Princess Elizabeth married her distant cousin, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1947. Because they married shortly after WWII, she collected ration coupons in order to purchase the fabric for her gown.
Queen Soraya Of Iran
Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtari, born to an Iranian nobleman and his German wife, caught the eye of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1948. Three years later, they married in an elaborate ceremony in which the bride wore a custom Dior gown and a full-length mink cape. The couple divorced in 1958, but she retained the title Princess of Iran.
Princess Grace Of Monaco
Perhaps better known by her birth name, the actress Grace Kelly caused a global sensation when she married into the royal family of Monaco in 1956, becoming a princess consort as a result of her union with Prince Rainier III.
Empress Michiko Of Japan
Michiko Shoda married Crown Prince Akihito of Japan in 1959. She became empress consort when her husband inherited the throne in 1989.
Princess Margaret, Countess Of Snowdon
Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister Margaret married the famous photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, also known as Lord Snowdon, in 1960. Her wedding dress was widely admired for its elegant lines and simplicity.
Diana, Princess Of Wales
Lady Diana Spencer captured the world’s imagination when she wed the current heir to the throne of the United Kingdom, Charles, Prince of Wales, in 1981. Though the marriage ended in divorce, Diana was known as the People’s Princess until her death in 1997.
Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge
And, of course, perhaps the best known modern fairy tale of our era, Kate Middleton. Neither a royal nor a member of the aristocracy, Kate met Prince William at university, and the two hit it off, ultimately ending up one of the most famous couples of all time.