Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Princess Charlene's back-up wedding dress that's never been pictured

The former Olympic swimmer wore two bridal gowns by Armani

Princess Charlene of Monaco attends the Red Cross Ball 2023 on July 29, 2023 in Monaco, Monaco.
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
3 April 2024
Share this:

Princess Charlene (née Wittstock) wore two stunning dresses, both designed by Armani, to wed Prince Albert of Monaco in 2011.

The royal couple's three-day wedding festivities saw high-profile guests including Prince Edward, his wife Sophie, and the likes of Naomi Campbell gather at the Prince's Palace of Monaco as well as the Sainte Devote church.

Princess Charlene with her hand through Prince Albert's arm as they're showered with petals following their wedding© Getty
Princess Charlene of Monaco had a "back-up" wedding dress

Both of Charlene's stunning bridal gowns, as well as her famously unconventional blue suit for her pre-wedding concert, have been widely documented, but there was another dress that only the bride and the designer have laid eyes on.

Like many royals, Charlene had a backup dress in case of any emergencies, Giorgio Armani's niece Roberta confessed. After helping the bride prepare for her big day at the Hermitage Hotel, Roberta reflected on the "huge responsibility" of creating the royal wedding dress. "It was such a huge responsibility that we actually made two dresses just in case something happened to one of them," Roberta said.

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert's wedding in the main courtyard at Prince's Palace© Handout
Princess Charlene and Prince Albert got married in the main courtyard at Prince's Palace in 2011

Since the finished design featured a five-meter-long train adorned with 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother-of-pearl teardrops – the work of took three seamstresses over 2,500 hours – we can likely expect the second unseen dress to be equally as intricate in case it was ever needed to be used.

Gushing about how the design complemented the former Olympic swimmer's athletic figure, Roberta added: "My uncle wanted to make sure the dress was timeless and sophisticated. Charlene is blessed with an amazing body and spectacular shoulders, which is a fantastic base for any dress. The shade of ivory we chose suits her skin so well."

charlene in white and albert on wedding day© Getty
The royal bride's second gown was also designed by Armani

Charlene later changed into a sleeveless, ruffled design featuring rows of sequins alongside a bejewelled Alice hairband for the evening reception.

The 46-year-old mother-of-two was not the only royal lady who had more than one bridal gown made to provide for all possible contingencies. Princess Diana's wedding dress maker Elizabeth Emanuel exclusively told HELLO! of the "spare" gown she created alongside her ex David, which, aside from a few details, was different from the one the royal bride wore.

WATCH: Royal wedding dresses that will go down in history

Diana made history as she walked down the aisle at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July 1981 in a magnificent puff-sleeve wedding dress hand-embellished with 10,000 mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls and an incredible 25-foot train. 

"The spare wedding gown was made just in case the secret of the real dress ever got out. Fortunately, it was never used," Elizabeth began. 

King Charles in military uniform stood with Princess Diana in a wedding dress© David Levenson
Princess Diana also had a "spare" wedding dress, designer Elizabeth Emanuel revealed

"The dress was made in pale ivory silk taffeta with embroidered scalloped details on the hem and sleeves. Tiny pearls were sewn on the bodice."

It has never been pictured, but Elizabeth released sketches of the gown, which included a V-neck with a more understated ruffle trim, three-quarter sleeves and a wide princess skirt. "People always ask you what it was like. It was similar in certain respects and both had the big skirt, but everything else was different. 

"So it was really just a back-up to the original and I don't know where it went. It just disappeared," the 70-year-old designer said. 

READ NEXT: Conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel face new twist in marriage to nurse Josh Bowling 

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Weddings

See more