Old fashioned lace wedding dress

Old fashioned lace wedding dress

Published: 08:39 BST, 10 June 2015 | Updated: 11:31 BST, 10 June 2015

When 30-year-old Sofia Hellqvist marries Sweden's Prince Carl-Phillip, 36, this Saturday, she will become the 40th royal bride to walk down the aisle since the Queen Mother married the then Duke of York in 1923.

But while the wedding, which will take place in the Chapel Royal at the Sveriges Kungahus in Stockholm, won't be short on tradition, Miss Hellqvist's dress will be far from old-fashioned.

The former swimwear model, who will become known as the Duchess of Värmland after tying the knot, has made headlines for her assured sense of style in recent months - and her big day is unlikely to be no exception.

In this, Miss Hellqvist isn't alone, as a quick look at the history of royal wedding dresses from the Queen Mother to present day brides such as the Duchess of Cambridge reveals. 

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Joining the family: Sofia Hellqvist, pictured second right on Swedish National Day, will marry Prince Carl-Phillip (second left) on Saturday

Royal bride: Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon arrives to marry Prince Albert, Duke of York at Westminster Abbey on the 23rd April 1923

Lavish: Lady Elizabeth wore a Madam Handley tulle gown embroidered with silver thread and hundreds of seed pearls on her big day (left). Right: Princess Ingrid of Sweden wore the priceless Khedive of Egypt tiara for her marriage to Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 1935 

Future ruler: In 1947, Frederik became Frederik IX of Denmark with Ingrid by his side. Their daughter Margrethe is the current Queen regnant 

Love match: Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, later Queen, met husband Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld at the 1936 Bavaria Olympics and went on to marry him the same year. Juliana's dress was inspired by ancient Greece and was designed by Masion Kühne of The Hague

Changing trends show the gowns, starting with shapeless flapper silhouettes, evolving into 50's waisted styles and on into modern column dresses, albeit with the odd fairytale frock thrown in.

Materials differ dramatically as well, with the duchesse satin and opulent silks of the earliest gowns giving way to popular contemporary choices such as lace, organza, taffeta and tulle.

But for all the beauty of the modern gowns, few come close to the silk moiré dress donned by 23-year-old Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon for her wedding to Prince Albert, Duke of York, 28, on the 23rd April 1923.

Albert, the future George VI, had first been introduced to his prospective bride three years earlier but had to propose three times before finally getting the yes he had hoped for.

At the wedding, which took place at Westminster Abbey, the groom was dapper in RAF uniform, while his bride wore a gown by Madame Handley Seymour, a former dressmaker to Queen Mary, which came with a bodice embellished with silver embroidery and seed pearls.

Royal wedding: Next to marry was the UK's Princess Elizabeth who in 1947 married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark at Westminster Abbey

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Striking: The Queen's Norman Hartnell gown was embroidered with more than 10,000 seed pearls and was made from ivory duchesse satin

Iconic: Grace Kelly arrives for her 1956 wedding to Prince Ranier III of Monaco. The religious service was the second of two ceremonies

Beautiful: The tulle gown was the work of MGM Studios designer Helen Rose who also made the pale pink number worn for the civil ceremony

Elegant: For her wedding to Prince Albert of the Belgians, Paola Ruffo di Calabria wore an ivory satin gown and a veil made of Brussels lace

Couture: When she married King Badouin of the Belgians in 1960, Fabiola de Mora y Aragon chose a dress by Cristobal Balenciaga

Completing the look was a long lace veil anchored with a crown of myrtle and two York roses and a delicate bouquet of spring flowers - later laid on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as the nuptials came to an end.

Just over twenty years later, their daughter Princess Elizabeth wore a similarly elaborate gown when she married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark at Westminster Abbey on the 20th November 1947.

As with her mother, Elizabeth's was a wedding designed to lift post-war spirits in an era when much of London still lay in ruins and economic travails were creating hardship for ordinary families.

Given away by her father George VI, 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth was every inch the royal bride, despite having had to, like everyone else, save up clothing coupons to acquire the material required.

Designed by couturier Norman Hartnell, the duchesse satin gown had with a 13ft train featuring embroidered jasmine and lilac blossoms reportedly inspired by Botticelli's 1482 painting Primavera, while the rest of the dress was embellished with crystals and more than 10,000 seed pearls.

Just as striking were the gowns worn by 26-year-old American actress Grace Kelly for her two-ceremony wedding to Monaco's Prince Ranier III, nine years later in April 1956.

Family affair: Like her sister Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret wore Norman Hartnell for her 1960 wedding to Anthony Armstrong-Jones

Intricate: Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark wore a Jean Dessès gown that had been embroidered by hand by Greek seamstresses for her 1962 wedding to the future Juan-Carlos I of Spain. The couple married in a lavish ceremony in Athens attended by royals from all over Europe

Controversial choice: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands sparked controversy when she fell in love with Klaus-Georg von Amsberg, an aristocratic former member of the Hitler Youth. Her mother Queen Juliana nevertheless allowed the wedding to go ahead and on the 10th March 1966, the pair married in Amsterdam. Beatrix wore a dress by designer Caroline Bergé-Farwick of Maison Linette

Elegant: Princess (now Queen) Margrethe of Denmark married French diplomat Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in Copenhagen in June 1967 in a sumptuous gown of ivory silk designed by couturier Jørgen Bender, topped off with a veil of Irish lace

Pioneer: Sonja Haraldsen became one of the first 'commoners' to marry into a royal family when she married Crown Prince Harald, now King Harald, of Norway in August 1968. Her white silk dress came from an upmarket Oslo department store named Molstad

Looking good: Princess Anne married her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, at Westminster Abbey on the 14th November 1973. Her white Tudor-style wedding gown was the work of designer Maureen Baker, although Anne is said to have had a hand in many of the details

Simply stylish: Brazilian-German Silvia Sommerlath chose a simple Dior design for her wedding to Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf in June 1976

For the first, a civil service held in the throne room of the Palais Princier, Kelly wore a delicate pale pink taffeta dress which was covered in Alençon lace and was worn with a Juliet cap - a mesh headpiece embellished with jewels.

At the St. Nicholas Cathedral the next day, the 26-year-old went one better with a gown made by Helen Rose, a designer previously better known for creating costumes on behalf of MGM Studios.

Thought to have inspired the lace Alexander McQueen number worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day in 2011, the striking gown had a fitted bodice and a flowing skirt made from a combination of silk taffeta and tulle and featuring panels made from 125-year-old Brussels lace.

Glamorous though Kelly's gown was, the tradition of wearing princess-style dresses isn't always a given as her daughter Princess Stephanie demonstrated at her wedding to her former bodyguard Daniel Ducruet in 1995.

Although her sister Caroline chose a stunning tiered lace dress at her wedding to Parisian banker Philippe Junot in 1978, Stephanie's came well above the knee and featured a fitted bodice and draped lace sleeves.

As with Monaco, the Scandinavian monarchies are second to none when it comes to striking wedding gowns. When the then Princess Margrethe of Denmark married French diplomat Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in Copenhagen in June 1967, it was in a sumptuous gown of ivory silk designed by couturier Jørgen Bender and topped off with a veil of Irish lace.

Designer dresses: American Lisa Halaby flew in two designers from Dior to make the dress for her 1978 wedding to King Hussein of Jordan (left) but ended up modelling it on a YSL frock instead. Right: Princess Caroline of Monaco marries Philippe Junot in Christian Dior

Stylish: Cuban María Teresa Mestre y Batista wore Balmain for her wedding to Prince Henri, now Grand Duke of Luxembourg, in 1981

Memorable: Lady Diana Spencer wore a silk taffeta gown designed by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel at her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles

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Eye-catching: Sarah Ferguson wore a Lindka Cierach duchesse silk gown embroidered with bumblebees for her 1986 wedding to Prince Andrew, Duke of York (left). Rania Yassine opted for a heavily embellished number by Bruce Oldfield to marry Prince Abdullah in 1993

Quirky: Stephanie of Monaco became the first royal bride to pick a short design when she married bodyguard Daniel Ducruet in June 1995

Just as beautiful was the Dior gown chosen by Brazilian-born Silvia Renate Sommerlath when she wed Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf three years after he took the throne in 1976.

Following in her mother's footsteps, the Scandinavian nation's Crown Princess Victoria also shone on her wedding day in 2010 which took place at Stockholm Cathedral and saw her say I do to former personal trainer Daniel Westling.

The princess, now 37 and mother to baby daughter Estelle, wore an ivory gown made from duchesse silk-satin that came complete with a spectacular 16ft train. 

Designed by Par Engsheden, it came with an attached sash and rounded collar and was worn with the Bernadotte lace veil and the spectacular Cameo Tiara - a piece originally presented to Empress Joséphine of France by her husband Napoleon Bonaparte.

But spectacular though Crown Princess Victoria looked, latter day British brides have certainly given her a run for her money - not least the Duchess of Cornwall who looked wonderful in dove grey Anna Valentine when she married Prince Charles in April 2005.

Just as striking was Sophie Rhys-Jones who looked stunning in a Samantha Shaw designed ivory-organza gown decorated with 325,000 pearls at her wedding to Prince Edward in 1999.

Sophie, now Countess of Wessex, was following in the footsteps of two more stunning British brides: Lady Diana Spencer who became Prince Charles' first wife in 1981 and Sarah Ferguson who married Andrew, Duke of York in 1986. 

Classic: 26-year-old Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz chose Edouard Vermeulen for her December 1999 wedding to Prince Philippe, now King, of the Belgians (left). Right: Sophie Rhys-Jones wore a Samantha Shaw gown for her marriage to Prince Edward in June the same year

Spectacular: The ivory organza gown was decorated with 325,000 pearls - all of which were sewn on by hand

Unconventional: Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, a single mother of one, married Norway's Crown Prince Haakon wearing a white silk crepe gown designed by Ove Harder Finseth in 2001 (left). Right: Argentinian Máxima Zorreguieta, the daughter of the Videla dictatorship agriculture minister, married Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange (now King Willem-Alexander) wearing an ivory silk gown by Valentino in February 2002

Fairytale: Norway's Princess Märtha Louise married author Ari Behn wearing a two-piece Wenche Lyche gown in Trondheim in 2002

Tragic: Mabel Los married Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau, the second son of Queen Beatrix, in 2004 in Delft. The bride wore a dress by Viktor & Rolf for the ceremony but was tragically widowed in 2013 when her daughters were just six and seven years old 

Tasmanian princess: British-Australian Mary Donaldson was 32 when she married Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik, 36, in Copenhagen in 2004. At the wedding, she wore an ivory duchesse satin dress lined with silk organza by Danish designer, Uffe Frank

Gorgeous: For her 2004 wedding to Felipe, Prince of Asturias (now King Felipe of Spain), former journalist Letizia Ortiz wore a magnificent silk dress woven with silver thread by veteran designer Manuel Pertegaz. She also wore the Prussian Diamond Tiara, loaned by Queen Sofia

Chic: The wedding of Camilla Parker-Bowles and Charles, Prince of Wales at Windsor in April 2005 saw the 57-year-old bride arrive wearing a dove grey gown by Anna Valentine. Now known as the Duchess of Cornwall, the couple recently celebrated a decade of marriage

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Spectacular: For her 2008 wedding to Prince Joachim of Denmark, Count of Monpezat, Marie Cavallier, a former advertising executive, wore a stunning Calais lace gown by David Arasa and Claudio Morelli and a floral tiara lent by the Scandinavian nation's Queen Margrethe

Bespoke: The first Canadian citizen to marry into the Royal Family, Autumn Kelly managed another first when she asked little known couturier Sassi Holford to make the dress for her wedding to Peter Phillips at St. George's Chapel Windsor in 2008

The work of husband and wife design duo David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, 19-year-old Diana's dress was made from silk taffeta, had a 25ft train and was embroidered with more than 10,000 pearls.

One of the most famous dresses in royal wedding history, its design was kept a closely guarded secret in the run-up to the big day and was worn with a delicate lace veil held in place by the 18th century Spencer Tiara.

While Sarah Ferguson's train was 8ft shorter than Princess Diana's, the duchesse silk design by Lindka Cierach nevertheless saw her walk down the aisle with 17ft of fabric trailing behind her.

Featuring gently puffed sleeves, the dress was heavily embroidered with motifs such as an entwined A and S picked out on the train and others such as bumblebees and thistles from the Ferguson family crest on the bodice. 

The Cierach confection, although among the most memorable, is unlikely to be copied by Sofia Hellqvist on Saturday which is expected to be a contemporary number in keeping with her polished taste.

Designer names in the frame include Ida Sjöstedt, who created the dramatic gown worn by the future Princess of Sweden to last November's Nobel Prize giving ceremony in Oslo and Lars Wallin, a man with a history of creating dresses for royalty.

Per Engsheden, the designer behind Crown Princess Victoria's gown, has also been mentioned although, like Prince Carl Phillip, the world will have to wait until Saturday to discover the truth. But whatever it looks like, the dress worn by the 40th royal bride since 1923 is guaranteed to be memorable.

Fit for a future queen: Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria wore white duchesse satin gown with a 16ft train by Par Engsheden at her 2010 wedding at Stockholm Cathedral. She met her groom, gym owner Daniel Westling, after hiring him to be her personal trainer

Traditional: When Kate Middleton became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011, it was in a Grace Kelly inspired dress by favourite label Alexander McQueen (left). South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock opted for Armani for her July 2011 nuptials and chose a dress that took 2,500 hours to create and was covered in 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops and 40,000 gold beads (right)

Gorgeous: When Zara Phillips married former England rugby player Mike Tindall in July 2011, it was in a ivory silk faille dress by Stewart Parvin

Spectacular: Countess Stephanie de Lannoy wore a magnificent Elie Saab creation for her October 2012 wedding to Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The dress took a 15 strong team an incredible 3,200 hours to create and was decorated with 50,000 pearls, 80,000 crystals and 10,000 metres of silver embroidery thread. She topped off the look with the pearl and diamond Lannoy tiara

Glamorous: German Claire Lademacher married Prince Félix of Luxembourg wearing a spectacular Elie Saab gown made from Chantilly lace in September 2013 (left). Sweden's Princess Madeleine chose a traditional silk organza gown by Valentino when she married British businessman Christopher O'Neill at the Chapel Royal at the Royal Palace in Stockholm in June 2013 (right).

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