A British Royal Bride – Catherine Middleton

In the ongoing series on British Royal Brides, this post will feature Catherine Middleton.  The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton took place on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London, England (for more detailed information about the wedding ceremony and reception, please click on the link).  In this post I will discuss Catherine’s wedding dress and accessories which she wore as well as the bridal bouquet that she carried on her wedding day. 

Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress and accessories

Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress was designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander Mc Queen, a London-based designer.  The identity of the designer was a secret much like thirty years before with Diana, the Princess of Wales.  The dress was made of ivory and white satin gazar that featured a boned bodice with a deep v neckline, long sleeves and padded hips under a full skirt gathered in soft pleats to form a type of bustle in the back with a train that measured almost 9 feet in length.  The beautiful lace pattern of the bodice and skirt overlay featured the flowers of the United Kingdom, which are the rose for England, the thistle for Scotland, the daffodil for Wales and the shamrock for Ireland.

Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress

Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress back showing bustle

Catherine Middleton’s wedding train

The wedding veil was made of layers of ivory silk tulle which was held in place with the Cartier Halo tiara that was on loan from Queen Elizabeth II, the groom’s grandmother.    The tiara was purchased in 1936 by King George VI for his wife (Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) and later she gave it to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth (the current Queen Elizabeth II) for her 18th birthday.  Underneath the veil Catherine had her dark brown hair worn in a half-up, half-down style which fell into soft curls.

Catherine Middleton’s wedding veil – front

Catherine Middleton’s wedding veil – back

Cartier Halo tiara

Catherine’s shoes worn on her wedding day were custom made by Alexander McQueen under the direction of Sarah Burton.  The shoes were a classic pump style made in ivory duchesse satin and covered with hand-embroidered lace to match the wedding dress.

Catherine Middleton’s wedding shoe

For her wedding day Catherine wore a beautiful set of diamond earring by Robinson Pelham that were a gift from her parents.  The earrings featured oak leaves with a pave diamond set acorn suspended in the center, this was in keeping with the design of the Middleton family new coat of arms which features acorns and oak leaves. The earrings beautifully coordinated with the Cartier Halo tiara. 

Catherine Middleton wearing the acorn and oak leaves earrings on her wedding day

the Robinson Pelham diamond pave acorn and oak leaves earrings

Special Note:  The Middleton Coat of Arms was created especially for the royal wedding and the acorn and oak leaves depicted have long been an English symbol of strength.  The three acorns represent the three children of Michael and Carole Middleton; Catherine, Philippa and James.  The blue and the red colors are from the flag of the United Kingdom and the gold chevron represents the family of Carole Middleton whose maiden name is Goldsmith.  The two thin white chevrons on either side of the gold chevron are said to represent the mountains and the outdoor activities that the Middleton family enjoys together.   

the Middleton coat of arms

Catherine Middleton’s wedding bouquet

Catherine Middleton’s wedding bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly and is a classic small bouquet made of three different types of white flowers and two types of foliage that were selected not only for their beauty but also for their special meaning.  The flowers and foliage used were the lily of the valley meaning the return to happiness, sweet William to honor her new husband and it also means gallantry, hyacinth meaning constancy of love, ivy for fidelity and affection and myrtle for love and hope.  The myrtle was picked from the garden of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and a sprig of this green foliage has been used in the wedding bouquets of English Royal brides since the wedding of Princess Victoria in 1858, she was the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.    

Catherine Middleton’s wedding bouquet

For more information on the wedding flowers and special trees used for Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding ceremony, please click on the link.

Special Note:  A British Royal tradition was started at the wedding of Prince Albert and Lady Bowes-Lyons (later to be known as King George VI and Quenn Elizabeth), the royal couple were the parents of the current Queen Elizabeth II and the great grandparents of Prince William.  The Royal couple were married on April 26, 1923 and in a spontaneous gesture Lady Elizabeth, to honor her brother Fergus who had died a few years earlier in World War I, laid her bridal bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Since that time, Royal brides have also laid their bouquets on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the one exception that instead of it being placed prior to the start of the ceremony, the bouquet is laid on the sacred spot afterwards.  This is a lovely tradition most recently done by Catherine Middleton at her wedding to Prince William.