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6 royal brides for April

Wedding season has begun. While the summer months of June and July might welcome the most brides and May has a certain traditional ring about it, there are plenty of troths being plighted once the days lengthen and the sun shines more brightly in April. And royal brides are no different. April brings regal weddings aplenty so here is a look back at six times we celebrated the joy of royal brides on their special days.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, April 29th 2011
The most famous royal wedding of recent years saw Kate Middleton become an April bride. The love story of William and Kate is well known from the meeting at St Andrews University to the engagement in Africa. From the moment that Kate walked into the spotlight wearing Diana's famous ring, royal wedding mania took hold and by the time she arrived at Westminster Abbey to say 'I do' there were tens of millions watching and enjoying around the world. The dress, the flowers and the kiss all became instant legends and now seem so familiar it's hard to remember that all this only happened six years ago. This royal bride has since gone on to become one of the most famous people in the world, with every move watched and analysed. That's some wedding present.

Camilla Rosemary Parker-Bowles, April 9th 2005
April is a month for duchess creation. The second marriage of the Prince of Wales to Camilla Parker-Bowles, nee Shand, in April 2005 led to a major debate about his second wife's title - one that still goes on today. It was announced that the bride would become Duchess of Cornwall and that's the title Camilla acquired from the moment she made her marriage contract in a civil ceremony at Windsor's Guildhall. The Queen wasn't there but she was in the front row just a few hours later as Charles and Camilla walked into St George's Chapel for their blessing ceremony. The marriage had followed one of the most controversial royal relationships of recent times and the wedding day itself had to be put back by 24 hours so that Prince Charles could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome. Charles and Camilla have gone from strength to strength - this year marks their twelfth wedding anniversary.

Mabel Martine Wisse Smit, April 24th 2004
Mabel Wisse Smit was a controversial royal bride before she even stepped out of the car that carried her to her wedding to Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands in April 2004.  Dutch royals need the permission of parliament to marry but politicians refused to grant it after claiming that the couple hadn't disclosed all the information they should about her past contacts with a drugs lord. The couple said they would marry anyway and said 'I do' in Delft on April 24th 2004. The bride became Princess Mabel and a member of the Dutch Royal Family but not the Dutch Royal House while her new husband had to give up his rights to the throne after failing to win parliament's approval. The couple's two daughters were also excluded from the succession. They were a happy family but sadness came in 2012 when Prince Friso was buried under an avalanche while ski-ing. He died as a result of the accident in August 2013.


Claire Louise Coombs, April 12th 2003
Claire Coombs was born in Bath and raised in Belgium but when she married that country's king's youngest son in 2003 the headlines were still about his British bride. And despite her groom, Prince Laurent, being the baby of this royal family there was still a regal turnout for this April wedding which had plenty of spring sunshine to add a glow to proceedings. The couple said 'I do' at Brussels Town Hall and at the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in the Belgian capital before sharing a kiss before the crowds. They went on to have a daughter and twin sons.


Princess Irene Emma Elisabeth of the Netherlands, April 29th 1964
This April Royal Wedding was about as controversial as they came. Princess Irene, second in line to the throne of the Netherlands, caused a huge storm when she decided to marry Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma and the row got so big that none of her relatives attended their wedding at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome on April 29th 1964. There were several reasons for the disputes. Princess Irene had surprised just about everyone by converting to Catholicism and her claims that this was to help end religious differences weren't well received. Her husband was also trying to restore the throne of Spain for him and his family but as Dutch royalty wasn't meant to get involved in foreign politics, Irene's decision to support his actions caused more controversy. Irene's marriage went ahead without any of her family present and she gave up her rights to the throne. She and her husband had four children together but divorced in 1981.

Princess Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel of Kent, April 24th 1963
Princess Alexandra of Kent might not be one of the most famous members of the Royal Family now but back on her wedding day in 1963 she was a regal superstar and had a marriage to match. Alexandra of Kent was the only daughter of the late George, Duke of Kent and his wife, Princess Marina of Greece, and when she said 'I do' to the Hon. Angus Ogilvy on April 24th 1963, she was a high profile royal with a packed diary (all these years on, her engagements tally is still high). The couple married at Westminster Abbey with the full carriages and crowned heads treatment and this royal wedding was a major TV event, broadcast around the world with an audience running into hundreds of millions. Alexandra and Angus went on to have two children. He died in 2004.

Photo credit: Defence Images


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