Countess Sophie's wedding dress was nothing like Princess Diana's

Prince Edward and Countess Sophie got married on 19 June 1999

Nichola Murphy

The Countess of Wessex was a beautiful bride when she married Prince Edward 22 years ago. The royals said 'I do ' at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on 19 June 1999, with Countess Sophie wearing a silk organza Samantha Shaw dress that was very different to other royal brides.

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Her wedding gown was made up of a coat dress which was already nothing like the puff sleeves and full skirts of Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson's gowns.

Sophie's dress was decorated with over 325,000 pearls and crystal beads – some of which lined her V-neck, cuffs and skirt while others dotted across the fabric. However, they weren't shaped in any particular motifs like many other royal ladies.

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When the Princess of Wales walked down the aisle to marry Prince Charles in 1981, she wore a wedding dress by David and Elizabeth Emanuel with hand-embroidered mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls that formed a heart motif on the gown.


The Countess of Wessex's gown was decorated with over 325,000 pearls and crystal beads

Meanwhile, Sarah, Duchess of York's gown by Lindka Cierach featured precise beadwork incorporating various symbols including anchors and waves representing Prince Andrew's sailing background, and even the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a dress with floral motifs cut from lace.

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Sophie paired her elegant dress with a full-length veil made of silk tulle and crystals which was held in place by her beautiful diamond tiara, originally from the Queen's private collection. Made up of four open scrollwork motifs, the piece of jewellery was designed and remodelled by the Crown Jeweller, David Thomas of Asprey and Garrard.


Princess Diana's wedding dress featured puff sleeves and a heart motif

To finish off her outfit, the Countess added a black and white pearl necklace and matching drop earrings which were a wedding gift from Prince Edward. The royal had them made by Asprey and Garrard, who was also responsible for Sophie's engagement ring.

Prince Edward announced his engagement to Sophie Rhys-Jones, as she was known then, in January 1999 after presenting his bride-to-be with a two-carat central oval diamond. It is flanked by two smaller, heart-shaped diamonds, and is reported to be worth somewhere in the region of £105,000 ($149,000).

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