Royal Wedding Dresses: Beatrix of the Netherlands

All royal wedding gowns are spectacular in their own way but the dress of a queen in waiting has to have something really regal about it. So the wedding dress chosen by Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands fifty years ago this month came with a lot of expectations and anticipation attached to it. And when the bride walked into the Westerkerk in Amsterdam on March 10th 1966, her gown didn't disappoint.


The wedding of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg on March 10th 1966 (photo: by Anefo - Nationaal Archief, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wiki Commons)

Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard was the eldest daughter of the Queen of the Netherlands, Juliana, and heiress to her country's throne. Female firsts in line were rare then and Beatrix's marriage plans were also unusual. Her German groom, Claus von Amsberg, had served in the Hitler Youth (like many in his country of birth) and although the couple obtained the parliamentary consent they needed for their wedding to go ahead, the nuptials were far from popular and attracted protests both beforehand and on the day itself.




The princess kept things traditional with her choice of designer, going for Dutch couturier Caroline Berge-Farwick of Maison Linette who had made gowns for her mother before. And the shape and look of the dress was also very much in keeping with royal wedding dresses - all regal brides need a huge train to fill the huge churches where they tend to get married, not to mention big skirts and an eye catching veil that can hold its own against a sparkling heirloom tiara.




Beatrix's dress was made of silk and duchesse satin and had a sixties feel mixed with its overall traditional feel. The plain bodice had a high neckline and three quarter length sleeves which allowed this March bride to wear long gloves for most of the day. There is a fitted waist and then a rather interesting skirt. The fabric picks up an intricate scrollwork patterning to match Beatrix's tiara choice (the Wuttemburg diadem) and there is a slim skirt with a fuller layered effect over the top given by her train.

The best bit of every royal wedding dress is the train. This one began at the waist and covered the sides of the skirt before fanning out into sixteen feet of fabric that followed the bride up the aisle in a perfect, fluid movement. With all that material and such pretty patterning along it there was no need for a super long veil to cover it so Beatrix chose height instead with a voluminous veil behind her tiara that fell as far as her waist.






The dress is a bit of a classic, elegant and traditional with just enough of a hint of modern to set it apart from others. The patterning of the skirt and train is rather clever and the overall effect is simple but regal all in one. Its part in Dutch history was cemented in April 1980 when Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands, reigning until April 30th 213 when she abdicated in favour of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander. It really is a dress fit for a queen. 

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