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Unconventional royal wedding dresses: Princess Charlene's blue jumpsuit, Princess Anne's mini dress & more

Princess Beatrice and Queen Camilla also threw out the rulebook on their wedding days

Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
27 April 2024
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Let's start by prefacing this with the obvious – no one-size-fits-all wedding dress exists. But certain trends and traditions started by the likes of Queen Victoria in 1840 have seen brides wear floor-length white gowns for their big days.

Anything that deviates from the norm is considered unconventional. While we've seen celebrities such as Kaley Cuoco and Amal Clooney showcase their unique style with their bridal outfit choices, it was even more unexpected when royals including Princess Charlene and Princess Beatrice broke the mould on their royal wedding days.

From Princess Anne's cropped hem to Queen Camilla's blue gown, look back at the most rebellious royal brides…

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth wore a white coat dress to the wedding of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in 2005
© Getty

Queen Camilla

When Queen Camilla married King Charles in 2005, she ensured her wedding dress was a reflection of the fact that they were both divorcees.

Camilla wore a white midi dress to her civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, before changing into a porcelain blue silk Robinson Valentine dress hand-embroidered with gold threadwork for her religious blessing.

Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo holding hands on a balcony© Instagram

Beatrice Borromeo

When Princess Caroline of Monaco's son Pierre Casiraghi married Beatrice Borromeo in a civil ceremony in 2015, the bride turned to Valentino for her blush pink wedding dress. 

The Italian fashion house opened up about the gown on Instagram next to a photo of the newlyweds, which revealed Beatrice had teamed her rebellious dress with a matching floral crown.

"The House of Valentino is pleased to announce that Beatrice Borromeo wore a Valentino Haute Couture dress designed by creative directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, for her civil wedding with Pierre Casiraghi on July 25th at the Prince's Palace of Monaco," the caption read. "The wedding gown was created in a pale pink and gold lace silk chiffon."

charlotte casiraghi wedding dress civil ceremony

Charlotte Casiraghi

Back in 2019, Charlotte Casiraghi wore three wedding dresses. For her civil ceremony on 1 June, the model stepped out in a bold metallic mini dress designed by Saint Laurent complete with three dramatic bows down the front and a scalloped edge.

She later wore a strapless Chanel creation with an angular neckline, and a puff-sleeve, ruffled boho gown by Italian designer Giambattista Valli.

Princess Beatrice posing alongside her wedding dress as it goes on display at Windsor Castle© Getty

Princess Beatrice

Princess Beatrice championed sustainability on her wedding day, recycling her grandmother Queen Elizabeth's white Norman Hartnell dress.

With the help of the late Queen’s trusted dressmakers Angela Kelly and Stewart Parvin, she made a few tweaks to give the gown a new lease of life when she married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020, including adding puff sleeves. But the shorter length and the fact she had no custom hidden meanings (or none that are known, at least!) was a departure from tradition.

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence on their wedding day, 1992© Raw/Nre/Shutterstock

Princess Anne

After choosing a traditional wedding dress for her first marriage with Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Anne purposefully wore a more modern gown when she married her second husband Sir Timothy Laurence in 1992.

The Princess Royal eloped to Scotland where the Church of Scotland did not object to the remarriage of divorced people. Unearthed photos show she chose a knee-length ivory dress with a matching coat and black court shoes.

Princess Charlene of Monaco in a blue outfit leaning into Prince Albert II of Monaco appear onstage during the Jean Michel Jarre wedding concert © Getty

Princess Charlene

Princess Charlene of Monaco married Prince Albert II in a civil ceremony on 1 July 2011, before enjoying a religious ceremony the following day.

She rocked a total of three outfits for the three-day celebrations, but it was her first bridal outing in a Karl Lagerfeld chiffon set that caught everyone's attention. Swerving the classic white colour most brides wear, the former Olympic swimmer rocked an aquamarine ensemble including a strapless top, wide-leg trousers and a matching lace-trimmed jacket.

"We wanted something to match the colour of my eyes," she told Vogue. "It is my creation and I’m proud of it. It’s feminine and keeps with tradition yet has a little twist that reflects my personal style.

"I thought it was a nice change to go for trousers instead of a skirt, especially since I’m an athlete and have always kept my clothes clean and simple."

Countess Felicitas of Hartig in her stunning royal wedding dress© Robin Utrecht/dana press/Shutterstock

Countess Felicitas von Hartig

Prince Johann-Wenzel of Liechtenstein's bride Countess Felicitas wore a stunning mini dress with bows for the civil ceremony in June 2023.

But her Merche Segarra for Jesus Peiro wedding dress for her religious ceremony was equally as bold. She was pictured at Servite Church in Vienna in a dramatic three-piece including a strapless top, a pleated taffeta skirt in a striped pattern, and a jacket with wide bell sleeves.

marie chevallier louis ducruet wedding

Marie Chevallier

Louis Ducruet of Monaco's bride Marie Chevallier surprised by wearing a jumpsuit for their civil ceremony in July 2019. Marie opted for a sophisticated Rosa Clará silk crepe culotte jumpsuit, which featured embroidered lace detailing and open back detail.

Why do brides wear white wedding dresses?

Wearing white is a tradition started by the royal family, making it even more surprising when more modern members chose to rebel.

After Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she described her gown as featuring "a very deep flounce of Honiton lace, imitation of old" in her journal.

Many have mused why Victoria chose a white dress when the likes of red were popular at the time, with Jennifer Steadman, curator of the exhibition 'Victorian Fashion Crosses the Pond', stating her colour choice was to highlight her innocence, while Julia Baird said n Victoria The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire that the colour was driven by her desire to support England's lace industry.

"Victoria was not the first to wear it, but she made it popular by example. Lace makers across England were thrilled by the sudden surge in the popularity of their handiwork," explained Julia.

The length of wedding dresses may also be linked to medieval times when longer trains indicated excessive wealth.

READ: Palace feared Prince William and groomsman Prince Harry would 'pass out' at royal wedding

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