Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown summer series, where we look at royal gowns from a different perspective. Today we’re taking a in-depth dive on gowns that are bedecked with orange blossoms.
Although no longer as common as they once were, historically, royal gowns made bounteous use of the blooms. They were considered symbols of both fertility and chastity, a dual message that is a bit boggling. “The Blossom” was also expensive and not easy to procure, which limited its use to those with means. Royals definitely had the resources to bedeck themselves in these powerful symbols.
Previous entries in this series include: Danish Heirloom Lace , Royal Wedding Venues, Venue Size and Scale, and Historical and Artistic References.
Bride: Elisabeth, Queen of Romania
Elisabeth of Wied was the Queen of Romania as the wife of King Carol I. She was a talented and flamboyant woman, known as much as for her literary endeavors (under the name Carmen Sylva) as she was for being royal. Her wedding dress was dramatic, big and heavily decorated with strands of orange blossom, threaded through the skirt and bodice.
Today’s #ootd is the dress that Elisabeth of Wied, Queen of Romania worn on her wedding day in 1869. Look at that beauty!!! @FIDMMuseum #FashionHistory pic.twitter.com/CqHyAItZpZ
— Lauren Deutsch (@LaurenCDeutsch) March 21, 2019
Bride: Princess Maud
Princess Maud was a diverse character, described both as simply drop dead chic and terrifically rambunctious. For her wedding dress, she directed the designer, Miss Rosalie Whyte of the Royal Female School of Art, to design something simple and memorable. Her dress was woven in Spitalfields of pure white English satin. The square neckline was decorated with a full bow of mousseline de soie and orange blossoms, the skirt hem was trimmed with a ruche of chiffon and orange blossoms, and the bodice also sported a bow of mousseline and a cluster of orange blossoms.
Bride: Victoria of Baden
Remember our lovely bride from the Baden post? It seems appropriate to see her again here, since she absolutely defines the word “festooned”, as in festooned in The Bloom. Neckline, veil, bodice and skirt are all decorated with orange blossoms.
Bride: Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria wore a wedding dress that was, well, fit for a Queen. Orange flower blossoms liberally decorated the skirt and the neckline in dense bunches. Victoria also started a trend by wearing a wreath of orange blossoms instead of a tiara over her veil.
Bride: Princess Alexandra of Denmark, later Queen Alexandra
The ultimate orange blossom wedding ensemble was worn by then Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Made of white silk satin (the silk was woven at Spitalfields), the dress was trimmed throughout the skirt and bodice with orange blossoms, myrtle and puffs of tulle and Honiton lace. Princess Alexandra wore a wreath of orange blossom and myrtle, and carried a bouquet of orange blossoms, to carry through the theme.
Modern Takes on the Tradition
The orange blossom tradition does continue, although as they have become easier to procure, their prominence in royal wedding dress has receded. Both the Queen Mother and the current Queen Elizabeth wore orange blossoms scattered throughout their wedding attire. The QM wore a wreath containing the flower and Queen Elizabeth’s dress was hemmed with the blossom. In 2013, Princess Madeleine decorated the base of her tiara with orange blossom, in a lovely nod to tradition.