Three royal brides for December

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians was a December royal bride

Let's face it, December is a tricky one for weddings. While it's all very well dreaming of adding the festive red to the dreamy white of a wedding or entertaining guests to a party in front of an open log fire, the fact is that Christmas just well and truly gets in the way. Not only have you got to contend with the big day itself, there are all the Christmas parties, family visits and last minute shopping trips that are likely to mean getting your guests to commit to a date in December is going to be a big ask and then some. So it's perhaps no surprise that of the three modern royal brides who have said 'I do' in December, two of them were going for the low key approach. The other was the star of the last major royal wedding of the 20th century. Clearly, the save the date cards went out early on that one. Here are three royal brides for December.

Mathilde Marie Christiane Ghislaine d'Udekem d'Acoz married Philippe of Belgium 
on December 4th 1999 in Brussels
Mathilde married the then heir to the throne of Belgium on a chilly, grey day in Brussels. But despite the weather, this was always going to be a wow of a wedding. Not only was the bride now in line to become the first Belgian born queen consort of her country, it was also the last time in the 20th century that we all got to see a knock you sideways tiaras and hats royal wedding. Mathilde became the final royal bride of a century that had begun with regal marriages between ruling houses apparently impervious to change only for many to fall and rise in a tumultuous one hundred years. The last royal bride of the 20th century might have been an aristocrat but she most likely would never have been considered a suitable match in the regal marriages a hundred years before. Times had changed, and for the better, and Mathilde and Philippe were wed at the Cathedral of St Michel and St Gudule in Brussels before the royal houses of Europe who had survived that epic century. The couple went on to have four children before becoming King and Queen of the Belgians on July 21st 2013.

Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Princess Royal, married Timothy Laurence
on December 12th 1992 at Balmoral, Scotland
If ever a royal wedding was held in trying circumstances, it was this one. Anne, Princess Royal's second marriage came at a time when the Royal Family was experiencing more difficulties than it had known in many years. In the months running up to the wedding, Anne had divorced her first husband, Mark Phillips, her brother Andrew had announced his separation from his wife, Sarah while the marriage of Charles and Diana was clearly in serious trouble after endless newspaper revelations and allegations. Less than a month before the wedding, Windsor Castle was badly damaged by fire while the Queen told a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of her accession that 1992 had been her 'annus horribilis'. And then, just three days before Anne was due to marry Timothy Laurence at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral, John Major announced to the House of Commons that the Prince and Princess of Wales were to separate. The wedding itself was quiet and low key with Anne walking into the church on the arm of her father, the Duke of Edinburgh, and leaving with her new husband around an hour later. But this month, the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence celebrate their Silver Wedding anniversary - Anne is the first of the Queen's children to reach that milestone.

Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite of Monaco married Stefano Casiraghi
on December 29th 1983 in Monaco
Princess Caroline of Monaco also chose December for her second marriage, another low key event that led to a happy union. Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi were married in the Hall of Mirrors in the Prince's Palace in Monaco in a civil ceremony in the presence of their families. It was a far cry from Caroline's first marriage, five years earlier, to Philippe Junot which had been attended by royalty and Hollywood royalty and which had ended in divorce in 1980. As a consequence of this religious marriage, Caroline and Stefano were unable to wed in church. They went on to have three children before Stefano Casiraghi was killed in a speed boat accident off Monaco in 1990. In 1992, Caroline's first marriage was annulled by the Catholic Church and in 1993 her three children with Stefano Casiraghi were legitimised by Pope John Paul II.