First Public Photo of Queen Victoria (1860)

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Queen Victoria by John Jabez Edwin Mayall in 1860. One of the first published photographs of the Queen. The public had never seen or been able to buy a photograph of the Queen before and once on sale, the images were extremely popular via

The Royal Bridal Gown of Queen Elizabeth (nee Bowes Lyon), 1923

Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were married on 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth’s wedding dress was made from deep ivory chiffon moire, embroidered with pearls and a silver thread. It was intended to match the traditional Flanders lace provided for the train by Queen Mary. Elizabeth’s dress, which was in the fashion of the early 1920s, was designed by Madame Handley-Seymour, dressmaker to Queen Mary.

A strip of Brussels lace, inserted in the dress, was a Strathmore family heirloom. A female ancestor of the bride wore it to a grand ball for “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, Charles Edward Stuart.

The silver leaf girdle had a trail of spring green tulle, trailing to the ground; silver and rose thistle fastened it. According to an era news article:

“In the trimming the bride has defied all old superstitions about the unluckiness of green.”

Unlike more recent dresses, details of this one were publicly revealed in advance of the wedding day. However, the dress was worked on until the last possible opportunity: the day before the wedding, Elizabeth divided her time between the wedding rehearsal and her dressmakers.

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Queen Elizabeth (nee Bowes Lyon) wearing her long bridal veil of old point de Flanderes lace (1923) via

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Queen Elizabeth (nee Bowes Lyon) in her wedding dress (1923) via

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Queen Elizabeth (nee Bowes Lyon) & Prince Albert wearing RAF full dress in the rank of group captain, his senior service rank at the time of his marriage (1923) via

Young Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1923)

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Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon (1900 – 2002) by E.O. Hoppé 1923, the same year  she came to prominence by marrying Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary.  Silver gelatine, print original, Artist Estate collection.

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Late Victorian Fancy Dress: The Devonshire House Ball in 1897

The Devonshire House Costume Ball of 1897 was one of the most anticipated social events of 1897. To stress the importance of th magnificent affair, the London Photographic Firm Lafayette was invited to take studio-style photographs of the guests in their costumes, which ranged from mythical goddesses, figures from paintings, and historical kings and queens.

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The Duke of York, later King George V (1865-1936), as “The Queen’s Champion” and the Duchess of York, later Queen Mary (1867-1953)  as “a Lady at the Court of Marguerite de Valois” at the Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball 1897.

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Frances Evelyn (Daisy), the countess of Warwick, chose Marie Antoinette as her costume for the elegant and highly anticipated evening. The costume, made by Worth of Paris, was studded with real diamonds and used both gold and antique lace.

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Lady Randolph Churchill (1854-1921), née Jennie Jerome in a Worth Parisian Costume, as Empress Theodora, while attending the Devonshire House Ball, in 1897.

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Consuelo Marlborough (née Vanderbilt), dressed for the Devonshire House Ball in 1897.

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Mary Teresa (‘Daisy’) (Cornwallis-West), Princess of Pless dressed as Queen of Sheba for the Devonshire House Ball

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Miss Goelet as Scheherazade

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The ethereal beauty of Mrs J Graham Menzies in the role of Titania, Queen of the Fairies

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Queen Victorias Wedding 10th of February 1840

Queen Victoria first met her German cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1836, and they became engaged during his second visit to England in 1839. Their wedding ceremony took place on 10 February 1840 at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.

Queen Victoria chose to marry Prince Albert in a white silk satin gown featuring Honiton lace, an unusual color choice for bridal gowns at the time; she started the white wedding gown tradition that remains today. On her wedding morning, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal:

Dressed….I wore a white satin gown with a very deep flounce of Honiton, imitation of old. I wore my Turkish diamond necklace and earrings, and Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch.

She also wore a wreath of orange blossoms (symbolising purity) and myrtle (symbolising love and domestic happiness), and these became the most common flowers carried and worn in Victorian weddings.

Their wedding day itself was inauspicious, a heavy rain falling; but immense multitudes assembled to gaze upon the processions. The bridal procession from Buckingham Palace to St. James’s begun to move through the triumphal arch at 12 o’clock. It was the first wedding of a reigning Queen in England since 1554.

Queen Victoria spent the evening after her wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:

I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!

Her marriage to Prince Albert brought nine children between 1840 and 1857. Most of her children married into other Royal families of Europe.

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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London, 10th February 1840. Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock.

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A middle aged Victoria and Albert recreate their wedding day.

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Princess Margaret & Anthony Armstrong-Jones Wedding Day (1960)

Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, married photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones on May 6th 1960. Thousands lined the streets to witness the Queen’s younger sister get married. It was the first ever televised wedding, and 20 million viewers tuned in.

Princess Margaret made the journey from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey in the Glass Coach with the Duke of Edinburgh.

She dressed in white silk and sported a diamond tiara. Among the 2,000 guests in the church were the King and Queen of Sweden, and the traditional Church of England service was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

After the ceremony, the pair travelled to Buckingham Palace where they waved to a delighted crowd.

The newlyweds boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia on the Thames and set off for a honeymoon in the Caribbean

Anthony Armstrong-Jones (now the Earl of Snowdon) and Princess Margaret had two children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. Over time, Lord Snowdon got tired of official engagements, saying “I’m not royal; I’m just married to one.”

The couple officially separated in March 1976, and divorced two years later (source).

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Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, May 6, 1960.

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Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, May 6, 1960.

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Princess Margaret, May 6, 1960.

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Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, May 6, 1960.

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