There’s nothing quite like a royal wedding, is there? The majesty, the grandeur, the splendor—and, of course, the dress! Here we take a look back at some of the world’s most glamorous royals (outside of the British royal family) on their respective wedding days.
Queen Rania of Jordan
Then Prince Abdullah bin Al-Hussein met Rania Al-Yassin at a dinner party in January 1993; that June 10, they were married at Zahran Palace. Their wedding ceremony was considered a national holiday and just short of six years later, the couple ascended the throne on February 7, 1999.
Queen Mathilde of Belgium
When Prince Philippe and Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz married on December 4, 1999, their wedding was significant, as it was the final royal wedding of the millennium. The couple married in Brussels, and the civil proceedings were conducted at Brussels Town Hall and the religious ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. The wedding was described as Belgium’s social event of the decade, and Mathilde worn a gown designed by Edouard Vermeulen. The couple and their guests enjoyed a reception for the couple at the Palace of Laeken after the ceremony.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
Crown Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby were married on August 25, 2001, at Oslo Cathedral; the pair had met two years prior in 1999 through mutual friends. They were engaged for eight months before marrying, and, during the hour-long wedding ceremony, the bride wept through the entire occasion. Mette-Marit wore a white silk crepe dress with a 20-foot-long veil, and Mette-Marit chose to be escorted by her husband down the aisle, breaking with tradition that dictated her father should escort her. In a further break from tradition, Mette-Marit’s son from a previous relationship, Marius, served as a pageboy at the ceremony. Marius, his mother, and his new stepfather appeared on the balcony of the royal palace after the ceremony as cannons fired and bands played.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
After meeting in April 1999, Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange (the title given to the heir to the Dutch throne) and Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti became engaged while ice skating, and their intention to wed was announced by Willem-Alexander’s mother, Queen Beatrix, on March 30, 2001. They married on February 2, 2002, and festivities kicked off on January 31 with a black-tie dinner and ball at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, held to celebrate not just the impending wedding, but the Queen’s 64th birthday. On February 1, there was a lunch and concert at the Royal Concertgebouw with another event that evening at the Amsterdam Arena; per Dutch law, the couple were first required to be married in a civil ceremony, which took place prior to the religious ceremony at the Beurs van Berlage. The religious ceremony was held at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, and the bride wore a gown of ivory Mikado silk with a cowl neckline, three-quarter length sleeves, and a five-meter-long train designed and created by Valentino. Her veil was also from Valentino and was made of silk tulle and was hand-embroidered with a flower and tendril motifs; Máxima added the Dutch Pearl Button Tiara to complete the look but exchanged the pearl buttons with five diamond stars.
Queen Mary of Denmark
The newly crowned King Frederik and Queen Mary of Denmark shared a surprise balcony kiss on January 14, the day Frederik’s mother, Queen Margrethe, abdicated the Danish throne after 52 years in favor of her eldest son. The two also shared a kiss when then Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson married on May 14, 2004, in the Copenhagen Cathedral. After meeting at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Mary’s native Australia, the two became engaged in 2003 after Frederik presented Mary with an emerald cut diamond with two emerald cut ruby baguettes. Mary’s dress was by Danish fashion designer Uffe Frank with a veil first used by Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, and then by her daughter, Queen Ingrid of Denmark. The veil—made from Irish lace—was later worn by Queen Margrethe at her own wedding to Prince Henrik. Mary’s tiara was a gift from her in-laws; festivities continued after the ceremony at Fredensborg Palace. After dinner, the newlyweds danced the traditional “Wedding Waltz,” which, per custom, must take place before midnight. Despite the day’s events being slightly behind schedule, Frederik and Mary pulled it off.
Queen Letizia of Spain
Just eight days later, then Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz married on May 22, 2004, in the Almudena Cathedral at the Royal Palace of Madrid—a ceremony watched by 25 million people in Spain alone. It was the first state wedding in the country in more than 50 years, and Spain’s first royal wedding in almost a century. It was also the first wedding to be held in the Almeduna Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1993. Though the exact date Felipe and Letizia began dating is unknown, the couple’s engagement was announced on November 1, 2003; Felipe proposed to Letizia (who had been married briefly once before) with a 16-carat diamond engagement ring with a white gold trim. On May 21, 2004, the day before the wedding, the Spanish royal family held a gala dinner at the Royal Palace of El Pardo, followed by a dance at the Room of the Austrias. Interestingly, there was no specific time set for the ceremony the next day, although it was expected to take place around 11 in the morning; the royal procession began at 10:42 a.m., and the bride arrived at the cathedral at 11:12 in a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV instead of on foot as planned because of intense rain. After the religious ceremony, the newlyweds rode in the Rolls-Royce through the streets of Madrid and, afterwards, greeted a large crowd gathered in the Plaza de Oriente from the balcony of the Royal Palace. A reception followed at the Palace, where guests ate roast capon with thyme and nuts and ate a cake of chocolate serpentine. Letizia wore a long-sleeved gown by Manuel Pertegaz that featured a neckline in the shape of a corolla, a wide skirt, and a 4.5-meter-long train; she also wore the empire-style tiara with platinum and diamonds. The dress was woven with Valencia silk and embroidered with silver and gold threads, and her veil, a gift from her husband, was made of natural silk tulle in ivory white.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
When Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden married her personal trainer Daniel Westling on June 19, 2010, it was described as Europe’s biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles married Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981. Held in the Stockholm Cathedral, the couple had been together since at least 2002, but didn’t announce their engagement until February 24, 2009. Victoria chose June 19 as an homage to her parents, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, who were married on that day 34 years prior. The night before the wedding, the Parliament of Sweden honored the couple with a gala performance at Stockholm Concert Hall, where the famous Swedish band Roxette reunited for the occasion and performed their hit song “The Look.” For the wedding, Victoria wore a white satin dress by Swedish designer Par Engsheden complete with a five-meter-long train. On her head she wore Empress Josephine’s cameo diadem, which her mother, Silvia, wore on her own wedding day. A carriage procession followed the ceremony through the streets of Stockholm and then took the couple to the royal barge over Stockholm’s waters—the same barge used by her parents in their 1976 nuptials. Eighteen fighter jets flew across the sky as the barge approached its landing place at the Royal Palace of Stockholm, where the wedding banquet was held. At the banquet, an 11-tiered cake that was made of organic ingredients was served.
Princess Charlene of Monaco
Many had written off Prince Albert of Monaco—who had been on the throne since the death of his father, Prince Rainier, in 2005—as an eternal bachelor when he married Charlene Wittstock on both July 1 (the civil ceremony, held in the Throne Room at the Prince’s Palace) and July 2, 2011 (the religious ceremony). After all, Albert was 53 on his wedding day; his bride, originally from South Africa, was 20 years his junior. A two-day public holiday for the occasion was declared in Monaco, and the religious ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Palace. Albert and Charlene made their debut as a couple at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics—poignant, since both were former Olympians, Charlene competing in swimming for South Africa and Albert competing in the bobsleigh for five Olympic games. Their engagement was announced on June 23, 2010, and Charlene’s ring features a pear-shaped three-carat diamond surrounded by diamond brilliants. The Olympic theme carried through to their wedding—the couple originally planned to be married on July 8 and 9, the next week, but bumped it forward to prevent a conflict with the International Olympic Committee meeting, which they both attended. Reports persisted that Charlene was getting cold feet about the wedding in the days leading up to it, but the Palace denied those rumors; their wedding festivities began on June 30 with a concert by none other than the American rock band the Eagles. Over 15,000 residents of Monaco attended the show, including Albert and Charlene themselves. The pair’s wedding reception took place on the terraces of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, followed by fireworks and the opening of the Opéra Ball; Charlene wore a silken blue jacket with ankle-length pants by Chanel to the civil ceremony, and her wedding gown was designed by Giorgio Armani. The designer himself was at the wedding, as were Naomi Campbell, Roberto Cavalli, Karolína Kurkova, and Karl Lagerfeld.
Princess Madeleine of Sweden
Like her parents’ wedding, her sister’s wedding before her, and her brother’s wedding after her, Princess Madeleine’s wedding took place in June—June 8, 2013, to be exact. In 2009, Madeleine became engaged to marry Jonas Bergstrom, with whom she had been dating since 2002; her wedding was set to take place in 2010, shortly after the June wedding of her elder sister, Crown Princess Victoria. In April 2010, though, the wedding was canceled, and the engagement ended. Madeleine moved to New York City, where she met British-born Christopher O’Neill; they appeared publicly as a couple in January 2011, and announced their engagement on October 25, 2012. They married eight months later at the Royal Palace chapel in Stockholm, with Madeleine wearing a gown by Valentino and a private tiara called the modern fringe tiara. At the wedding reception that followed their ceremony, their wedding cake was, interestingly, made up of 700 macarons stacked into a pyramid shape.
Princess Sofia of Sweden
Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist married on June 13, 2015, in Stockholm, almost a year to the day after they announced their engagement on June 27, 2014. They opted to wait until the next June to get married because, as they said, June is “when Sweden is extremely beautiful.” The night before the wedding, on June 12, a private dinner was held on the island of Skeppsholmen, and the next day the ceremony was held in the Royal Chapel of Stockholm Palace. Like many other royal weddings, the bride was escorted by her father partway down the aisle, and by her groom the rest of the way. Sofia’s gown was designed by Ida Sjostedt and featured three tones of white; it was made in crepe in-silk that doubled with Italian organza. The dress and the train were embellished with couture lace, and the veil was made of thin tulle with appliqués of sheer cotton lace. On her head Sofia wore a diamond and emerald tiara gifted to her by her in-laws, and that tiara is now called Princess Sofia’s Tiara. After the wedding, the newlyweds rode in a horse and carriage as the Armed Forces gave the couple a 21-gun salute before heading to a dinner in their honor in the White Sea Ballroom of Stockholm Palace, followed by dancing. Their ceremony featured both classical music and popular music—Sofia walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of an Enya song, and, alongside hymns, covers of “Fix You” by Coldplay and the Swedish version of “Umbrella” by Rhianna were performed. Carl Philip and Sofia exited the church to a rendition of “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” with an interpolation of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” and Swedish musicians Avicii and Icona Pop performed at their reception. Speaking of the reception, the couple’s colorful wedding cake contained pop rocks fizzing candy as a surprise for their guests.