Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Mary and Letizia: royal wedding throwback

Thirteen years ago this month, we were awash with royal weddings. Frederik of Denmark and Felipe of Spain married within eight days of one another but while the grooms might have put the royal into these royal weddings, it was the brides everyone was most interested in seeing. Mary Donaldson and Letizia Ortiz followed almost parallel paths from engagement to altar. Now, all these years on, here's a look back at two royal brides for the history books.

The Dresses

Poring over the details of one royal wedding dress is usually enough to keep anyone busy for a year or three, but back in 2004 we had two of these regal treats to digest in just over a week. Mary went for a modern take on a vintage look with her Uffe Frank gown in ivory duchess satin. It divided opinion then and it still does today. Letizia's dress, by Manuel Pertegaz, was a much more traditional royal look and covered with embroidery and embellishments. Again, it didn't win universal praise and the jury remains out.

The Veils

Perhaps the most historic and traditional part of Mary's wedding outfit was her veil. She wore the Irish lace veil given to Margaret of Connaught when she wed Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden. Her daughter, Ingrid, wore it for her marriage to the future King Frederik IX of Denmark and Danish royal brides have added it to their outfits ever since. Letizia had a brand new veil for her wedding, a gift from her husband to be. Made of silk tulle, it was three metres long and covered with embroidery to match that on her gown, featuring ears of wheat and fleur de lys, the symbol of the House of Bourbon.

The Tiaras

Mary did her something new with her wedding tiara with a diamond diadem bought for her as a marriage gift by her new in-laws, Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik. You have to really look to see it - that antique veil was everything in this wedding outfit. Letizia did something borrowed with her tiara, choosing to wear the same diadem as her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia, had at her own wedding 42 years earlier. The diamonds in this one are shaped into Greek motifs with a stand out stone at the centre. 

The Flowers

Mary's bouquet brought a touch of home to her whole outfits. Among the roses, stephanotis and white hydrangea were eucalyptus leaves to remind her of Australia. Mary sent her wedding flowers to her mother's grave in Scotland after the ceremony. Plenty of symbolism, too, in Letizia's bouquet which was filled with lilies, another nod to the fleur de Lys and the House of Bourbon.  There were also roses, orange blossoms and ears of wheat - a symbol, in Spain, of  hope, joy and fertility.

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