In Pictures: Royal Wedding Dresses Through the Years

Let’s look back at some of the best royal wedding dresses from across the world. Newsweek
Lady Diana Spencer, soon to become the Princess of Wales, showing her wedding gown for the first time, July 29, 1981.REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

The dashing groom, the beautiful bride, all those hats—there's just something about a royal wedding. It's hard not to get swept up in the majestic fairy tale aspect of it, and it's basically made for documentation, preservation and adoration.

From Meghan and Harry to Kate and William to, of course, Diana and Charles, royal weddings continue to hold the world's attention. Ask anyone alive in 1981 and he or she likely will be able to tell you where they were when Prince Charles and Diana married. Or, for that matter, anyone alive in 2011 for Prince William and Kate’s wedding. Both were watched by hundreds of millions of people.

But why are we so obsessed with royal families in the first place?

“Historically, we’ve always been obsessed with the royal family—they are the longest running real-life soap opera,” Andrew Morton, a royal biographer and best-selling author of Diana: Her True Story–In Her Own Words, told Harper’s Bazaar.

“In good times, but especially in bad, the royal families of the world can function as escapist fairy tales for Americans who never completely gave up the romantic notions of hereditary privilege and dynasty, even though we gave up the actual crown,” Tony Bravo wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle.

But it's not just the British royal family weddings that capture our attention. There was Monaco’s Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, Swedish Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, and Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.

Even though the royal thing is a big deal, let's be real: Most people are concerned with the dress. Keeping what the royal bride will wear top secret is a tradition for royal weddings of yesteryear, saving the glamour—and suspense—for that one moment the world's attention is focused on the royal gown.

Let’s look back at some of the best royal wedding dresses from around the world. Don't miss the full gallery

Prince William and his bride Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are seen posing for an official photograph, April 29, 2011.REUTERS/Hugo Burnand/Clarence House
Morocco's King Mohammed VI poses with his unveiled bride Salma Bennani for an official photograph, July 13, 2002.REUTERS/Moroccan government/
Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco depart wedding ceremony, July 2, 2011.REUTERS/Joel Ryan
Swedish Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist are pictured during their wedding, June 13, 2015. REUTERS/Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency
Sweden's Princess Madeleine and U.S.-British banker Christopher O'Neill smile as they leave heir wedding, June 8, 2013. REUTERS/Leif R Jansson/Scanpix
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and her husband, England rugby captain Mike Tindall, leave their wedding, July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia Ortiz, Princess of Asturias, on their wedding day, May 22, 2004.REUTERS
Anglo-Belgian Claire Coombs and her husband Prince Laurent on their wedding day, April 12, 2003. REUTERS
Maxima Zorreguieta and Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander leave the Beurs Van Berlage after the civil wedding ceremony, February 2, 2002.REUTERS
Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parme, nephew of Netherlands' Queen Beatrix, and Annemarie Gualtherie van Weezel leave the church after their wedding, November 20, 2010. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet
Masako Owada bows farewell to her father Hisashi and mother Yumiko as she leaves her home for her royal wedding to Crown Prince Naruhito at the Imperial Palace June 9, 1993. REUTERS
Prince Nikolaos, son of Greece's deposed King Constantine, and his bride Tatiana Blatnik leave their wedding, August 25, 2010. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

The dashing groom, the beautiful bride, all those hats—there's just something about a royal wedding. It's hard not to get swept up in the majestic fairy tale aspect of it, and it's basically made for documentation, preservation and adoration.

From Meghan and Harry to Kate and William to, of course, Diana and Charles, royal weddings continue to hold the world's attention. Ask anyone alive in 1981 and he or she likely will be able to tell you where they were when Prince Charles and Diana married. Or, for that matter, anyone alive in 2011 for Prince William and Kate’s wedding. Both were watched by hundreds of millions of people.

But why are we so obsessed with royal families in the first place?

“Historically, we’ve always been obsessed with the royal family—they are the longest running real-life soap opera,” Andrew Morton, a royal biographer and best-selling author of Diana: Her True Story–In Her Own Words, told Harper’s Bazaar.

“In good times, but especially in bad, the royal families of the world can function as escapist fairy tales for Americans who never completely gave up the romantic notions of hereditary privilege and dynasty, even though we gave up the actual crown,” Tony Bravo wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle.

But it's not just the British royal family weddings that capture our attention. There was Monaco’s Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, Swedish Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, and Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.

Even though the royal thing is a big deal, let's be real: Most people are concerned with the dress. Keeping what the royal bride will wear top secret is a tradition for royal weddings of yesteryear, saving the glamour—and suspense—for that one moment the world's attention is focused on the royal gown.

Let’s look back at some of the best royal wedding dresses from around the world. Don't miss the full gallery