The wedding gown Queen Victoria chose for her wedding to Prince Albert would inspire brides to follow in her footsteps.
Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on 10 February 1840 in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. For her wedding ceremony, the Queen, then 20 years old, elected to wear a dress in white – which was unusual for the time. As we now know, white is the go-to colour for wedding gowns for a majority of people.
Queen Victoria’s wedding gown was made from heavy silk satin with Honiton lace (the latter designed by William Dyce) over the top of the Mary Bettans-made gown. Her Majesty’s lace veil was four yards long and 0.75 yards wide. Victoria chose not to wear a tiara, so instead, the veil was held in place by a flower headband featuring orange blossoms and myrtle. Her train was 5.5 metres long. The Queen also wore white satin shoes to match her dress.
The Royal Collection Trust describes Queen Victoria’s wedding gown this way, “Although the fashion at the time was for Brussels lace, Queen Victoria commissioned Honiton lace for her wedding ensemble, reviving the flagging lace industry in Honiton, Devon. The lace flounce became one of her most treasured possessions; it was worn again at the weddings of her eldest child, Vicky, in 1858, and of her grandson, the future George V, in 1893. In further support of English industry, her dress was made of East London (Spitalfields) silk.”
Known for her constant journal entries, Her Majesty, of course, wrote about the dress saying, “I wore a white satin dress, with a deep flounce of Honiton lace, an imitation of an old design. My jewels were my Turkish diamond necklace & earrings & dear Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch.”
The lace of her gown was important to Queen Victoria – so much so that she would wear the lace that draped her wedding gown over the dresses she wore to all but one of her children’s christenings, the weddings of two of her children, the wedding of her grandson, the future George V, and her Diamond Jubilee photo. She even allowed her daughter, Princess Beatrice to wear the lace as part of her 1885 wedding gown. Now, the lace remains in storage – too fragile to move or to be put on display.
The veil from Queen Victoria’s wedding gown was placed over the Queen’s face when she was buried. The Queen’s wedding dress has been on display at Kensington Palace in the past.