Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been sixty years old today. It will be a bittersweet day for long-term royal watchers, but the Hofdames would like to reflect on happier times. A look back at the family wedding dresses fits this bill and our current focus here on the blog. There isn’t a lot of dress designer information available, but there are a couple of tiara mysteries!
Diana’s fraternal aunt, Anne Spencer, married Lieutenant Christopher Baldwin Hughes Wake-Walker at Westminster Abbey. It was a windy day in 1944, and the bride’s dress shows some wartime restraint. There is no big skirt, no long veil, although the square neckline and slim skirt are both very smart. If someone can identify this tiara they get a gold star.
Look who was in attendance at the wedding!
Diana’s mother, Francis Ruth Roche, married John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, on June 1, 1954. She was 18 and the youngest woman wed in Westminster Abbey in five decades. She wore an embellished gown with a sweetheart neckline. Her veil was anchored with the Fermoy tiara.
Diana’s middle sister, Jane, married Robert Fellowes on April 20, 1978, at Westminster Abbey. Diana was one of the bridesmaids (wearing QUITE a memorable dress). Jane wore a high neck dress with a flowing skirt and the Spencer tiara.
The oldest sister, Sarah, married Neil Edmund McCorquodale in May 1980. She, too, wore a high-necked gown. Her dress featured an interesting white lace bodice overlay. The Spencer tiara once again came out to play.
Charles Spencer, then Viscount Althorp and Diana’s younger brother, married his first wife Victoria Lockwood in 1989. She was a model and her dress choice was unconventional. Some might say it was also not particularly successful, but we did get another peek at the Spencer tiara.
Lady Sarah’s oldest daughter, Emily McCorquodale, married James Hutt in 2012. Her tiara is new-to-us – if you can shed light on the mystery let us know! Her long-sleeved dress has sheer lace sleeves and bodice overlay.
Celia McCorquodale, Sarah’s younger daughter, married George Woodhouse in 2018. The ceremony took place at St. Andrew and St. Mary’s Church in Stoke Rochford (as did her sisters). The bride wore the Spencer tiara. Her ivory dress has lace sleeves and a sweetheart neckline.
No words are necessary on the most famous Spencer bride. Yes, the dress was big, it wrinkled, it swamped her, but there is no doubt it defined an era.
Two of Earl Spencer’s daughters, Kitty and Amelia, are currently engaged, so there are more Spencer brides on the horizon. In the meantime, tell us your thoughts on the array of past Spencer weddings.