Welcome to our new feature: Royal Wedding Gowns, subtitled “What Makes Them Unique”. All bridal dresses sparkle in their own way on the day. But what elevates a royal wedding dress from the ordinary? The aforementioned certain something, which can be the dress design, the materials used in the dress, the accessories, or a combination of all these things. Today we’ll look at the Danish weddings and their use of heirloom lace.
We aren’t really talking about Danish lace, though. We’re talking about Carrickmacross lace, a lace technique originally practiced by the local women of Carrickmacross, Ireland. It was highly sought after by society women throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Danish factor began when Britain’s Princess Margaret of Connaught married the future King of Sweden, Gustaf Adolf. She wore a Carrickmacross lace veil, a gift from the ladies of Ireland. Her trousseau also included meters of additional lace. The Irish Times, rhapsodizing, called it“Carrickmacross […] of the greatest beauty”.
Margaret passed on the veil to her daughter, Ingrid, who wore it when she married the future King of Denmark. Ingrid also brought two pieces of the Irish lace with her to Denmark, and that lace has been incorporated in the wedding gowns of her descendants. In some instances, the lace is removed and reused.
Princess Margaret of Connaught, 1905, Princess Ingrid of Sweden, 1935
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
All three of Ingrid’s daughters wore the family veil, starting a new tradition by attaching it with the Khedive tiara. All three incorporated the lace from Margaret’s wedding gift into their dresses. The lace can be glimpsed in small openings on Princess Anne-Marie’s skirt, in the panels on the side of Princess Benedikte’s dress, and in the front panel of Princess Margrethe’s dress.
Princess Margrethe, 1967; Princess Benedikte, 1968; Princess Anne-Marie, 1964
When Mary Donaldson married Crown Prince Frederick, Queen Margrethe’s son, the heirloom lace was used under the panels of her skirt. She wore the heirloom veil, as well, topped by her wedding tiara.
Mary Donaldson, 2004
The lace veil has also been pressed into duty for the daughters of Anne-Marie and Benedikte. All three carried on the traditions of their mothers and secured the veil with the Khedive. Queen Anne-Marie’s youngest daughter is to be married later this year, and it will be interesting to see how the tradition carries on with her.
Princess Nathalie, 2011; Princess Alexandra, 1998 (Princess Benedikte’s daughters)
Princess Alexia, 1999 (Queen Anne-Marie’s daughter)
The Danes have the unique tradition of using the same veil and pieces of lace in generations of wedding gowns. It’s a sentimental story, and one that defined Danish royal weddings for generations. Both Lady Diana Spencer and Catherine Middleton incorporated Carrickmacross lace into their gowns, so who knows, a new tradition may be brewing in Britain.
Is the Danish lace tradition something that defines royal for you? Which iteration of the lace is your favorite? Do you have a favorite veil and tiara combination? Post your views in the comments! Make sure to voice your opinion of the Khedive in the latest Defense of the Tiara post!