July is made for weddings. It's a sun filled, flower filled, glow without even trying kind of month but it's not overly popular for royal brides - perhaps because of the heat, perhaps because the royal courts are starting to wind down for the summer and finding a date when everyone's not on holiday can be hard. But some of the royal weddings that have taken place in this month are among the most famous in modern royal history - here are five royal brides for July.
Charlene Lynette Wittstock married Prince Albert II of Monaco on July 1st 2011
It was already one of the most highly anticipated marriages of modern royal times and it became one of the most talked about regal weddings of the 21st century in the days immediately before the bride and groom said 'I do'. Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock had enjoyed a long relationship before announcing their engagement in 2010, five years into Albert's reign. But just before their marriage, rumours surfaced that the bride had tried to run away - reports always denied by the couple. Charlene Wittstock became a princess when she wed Albert in a civil ceremony on July 1st 2011 in Monaco and their religious wedding the following day featured a royal guest lists and a wedding gown by Armani. It was a glittering and glamourous marriage followed around the world.
Paola Ruffo di Calabria married Albert of Belgium on July 2nd 1959
When Paola said 'I do' to her handsome prince in 1959 she could have had no idea that the marriage would lead her to a consort's throne. She was the youngest child of Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria and his wife, Luisa Gazelli, and she had met Albert, Prince of Liege and younger brother of King Baudouin of the Belgians in Rome in 1958. Their royal love story saw them marry at the Cathedral of St Michel and St Gudula in Brussels on July 2nd 1959 and they went on to have three children together. Baudouin and his wife, Queen Fabiola, never had children and in 1993 Albert and Paola became King and Queen of the Belgians. Albert II abdicated in 2013.
Birgitte Eva van Deurs married Richard of Gloucester on July 8th 1972
Birgitte van Deurs was another July bride who ended up with an unexpected title. When she married Prince Richard of Gloucester at Barnwell, Northamptonshire on July 8th 1972 he was the second son of the Duke of Gloucester and the couple expected a quiet life away from the royal spotlight. But just six weeks later, her husband's older brother, William, was killed in a plane crash and two years later he succeeded his father as Duke of Gloucester. Birgitte became a royal duchess and has had a high profile role within the House of Windsor since. She and her husband have three children and six grandchildren.
Sarah Margaret Ferguson married Prince Andrew, Duke of York on July 23rd 1986
This royal bride knew she would become a royal duchess as she said 'I do' in the month of July. Sarah Ferguson married Andrew Albert Christian Edward, second son of Elizabeth II and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and on the day he received the title traditionally given to the Monarch's second son, Duke of York. Fergie walked into Westminster Abbey with flowers in her hair and left wearing a diamond tiara befitting her new status as Duchess of York. The couple had two daughters before divorcing in 1996.
Lady Diana Frances Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales on July 29th 1981
It was already the most famous wedding in the world before the unhappy ending was written. When Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral at St Paul's Cathedral, hundreds of thousands people lined the streets of London while millions watched at home. It was, quite simply, about as big as royal weddings get. From the huge dress to the massive cheer for that first ever balcony kiss to the gigantic TV audience, this was a marriage day to remember. The Prince and Princess of Wales became a golden couple for a few years before their marriage troubles took over. The couple, who had two sons, divorced in 1996 and Diana died in 1997. Thirty five years on, she remains the most famous royal July bride yet.