In Top List by stephen abiodun on the 01st, October, 2018

10 hidden details about the wedding dress Queen Elizabeth wore in 1947 – It still remains one of the most expensive wedding gowns after 70years (Photos)

It has been over 70 years since Queen Elizabeth walked down the aisle to wed Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey. The year was 1947 and Elizabeth was 22 years old. The royal wedding fell in post-WWII Britain and was seen as a new beginning after the horrors of the war. At any rate, royal weddings are a big spectacle and the public likes to hang onto every little detail, but this one in particular offered a new sense of hope and positivity. Leading up to Elizabeth and Philip’s big day, there was endless speculation about Elizabeth’s dress and who exactly would be given the honor of designing the gown.

In the end, designer Norman Hartnell took on the role of creating the iconic gown and vowed to make it “the most beautiful gown he ever made.” Hartnell, along with a huge team of seamstresses, certainly did not disappoint and went on to design an extremely luxurious and lavish gown.

Even now, people still continue to admire the hard work, detail, and dedication that went into the gown. Its exquisite beauty is admired all over the world and regularly appears on display in London. There are also many interesting facts surrounding Elizabeth’s gown. So sit back, relax, and read about 15 secret facts about the dress you never knew about.

1. It Took 350 Pairs Of Hands To Make The Gown

It’s not surprising that it takes a large number of people to create an iconic dress, but did you know that it took 350 women to make the garment? As many know, Norman Hartnell was the Court dressmaker and mastermind behind the design, which he entrusted to the workroom of Germaine Davide. Nevertheless, many are not aware that the dress and train took a total of 350 women working in secrecy to get it done. It is believed that Davide was rather selective in whom she let work on the gown. At first, she refused to allow an eager group of 18-year-old girls to help out as he was worried about their dedication and ability to keep quiet. However, she eventually decided to let the girls participate once they worked hard and kept their work secret.


2. The Embroidery Was Inspired By A Painting

Different designers have different ways of coming up with inspiration for their designs. When putting together a design as important as Elizabeth’s, you can imagine the careful consideration that went into what detailing to use. When crafting the masterpiece,

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designer Hartnell supposedly took inspiration from Botticelli’s Renaissance masterpiece—the Primavera.

It is important to remember that Elizabeth’s gown signified a new world following the war, and Hartnell wanted the gown to symbolize motifs of rebirth, renewal, and growth. The war had taken its toll on everyone and the royal wedding was seen as a positive gathering to bring people to rejoice in a new beginning and something positive. Hartnell crafted patterns using gold and silver thread of wheat, roses, and star-shaped flowers to recreate the detailing used in Botticelli’s famous painting.

3. It Has 10,000 Pearls


via The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor

The beading and pearls used on Elizabeth’s gown are part of the reasons why it is so magnificent. Much of the beading used was made in England, but
10,000 pearls were brought in from The United States to add to the dress.

The iconic dress was encrusted with 10,000 seed pearls in addition to the sequins and crystals already attached. The hard work, dedication, and attention to detail certainly paid off in the end as the dress is an amazing piece of work, with such perfect precision and detail it can, in its own right, be considered art.

4. She Used Coupons To Pay For It

via The Today Show

 One of the most interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth’s iconic dress is that she was forced to pay for it using coupons. The royal wedding fell after the war. And just like everyone else during this era, finances were an issue for the royal family.
Elizabeth is said to have saved up all her coupons, so she could have the wedding dress that she had always dreamed of.

In the end, the government made an exception for the wedding and granted Elizabeth with 200 extra clothing coupons to add to the ones she had already saved to purchase the material she needed for the gown. Due to this, Elizabeth was able to add to the dress, ensuring that it was everything she ever wanted and more.

5. It Took Half A Year To Make


Although there were 350 women working on the dress, it still took the seamstresses a total of six months to complete the garment. All the women worked long hours and dedicated much of their time to creating the perfect dress for Elizabeth. One of the workers, seamstress Betty Foster, who was only 18 at the time, claimed that it was a professional understanding that you

never spoke outside of work about the projects you were working on.

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It was very important that the public did not catch wind of any of the dress’ details as it was something that was a big reveal on the actual day of the wedding. It must have been a challenge for many of these women to remain tight-lipped about the details of the garment as it was something that everyone at the time was eager to hear about.

6. The Train Was 15 Feet Long

The train is a hugely important part of any wedding gown. With all eyes on the royal wedding, it was essential that the train of Elizabeth’s dress was up to the highest standard and didn’t let down the dress’ overall appearance. Thankfully, Hartnell’s train didn’t disappoint anyone. Elizabeth’s dress stretched 15 feet down the aisle behind her, creating quite the breathtaking sight. At the time of Elizabeth’s wedding, this was seen as a very extravagant length. However, in the 80’s, Princess Diana walked down the aisle with a train of 25 feet trailing behind her.

7. Her Tiara Was Her Grandmother’s

via Refinery29

As many may already be aware, it is seen as tradition within the royal family to wear an heirloom from another family member on your big day. Queen Elizabeth followed suit by wearing her grandmother’s beautiful diamond fringe tiara. The tiara itself has quite the interesting history.

It was originally made for her grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1919

and actually utilized stones from a Collingwood tiara that was given to Mary as a wedding present by Queen Victoria. Not only this but Queen Mary also wore the tiara on her own wedding day in 1893.

8. The Tiara Broke The Morning Of The Wedding

via Pinterest

So, although the tiara had quite the exciting history, it certainly wasn’t indestructible (it was rather old, after all). Disaster struck on the morning of the wedding when the tiara snapped in two, causing quite the conundrum. Thankfully, a jeweller was on sight and managed to quickly put the tiara back together in time for Elizabeth to wear it down the aisle. Many have pointed out, though, that if you examine the wedding photos closely enough, you will be able to notice a small gap in the tiara.

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9. Her Bouquet Went Missing

via PopSugar

The broken tiara wasn’t the only issue that came about on the morning of the wedding, but Elizabeth’s bouquet of flowers also went missing. Florist Martin Longman was given the privilege of being in charge of the bouquets for the royal wedding and he allegedly submitted five designs, but his arrangement of three all-white orchids was the chosen style for the big day. To add a special touch of sentimentality to the flowers, myrtle was added to the orchids. The myrtle used was grown from the same myrtle in Princess Victoria’s wedding bouquet. However,

when Elizabeth and Philip went to pose for pictures after the wedding, the flowers were missing.

Although searched for, they were never found. Longman was later asked to make an identical bouquet, so the bride and groom could pose for a photo.

10. Netflix’s The Crown Made An Exact Replica

via Medium

Netflix’s The Crown is a hugely popular show at the minute, reigniting an interest in all things Queen Elizabeth-related. But did you know that the show actually recreated an exact replica of the dress?

The dress appears in the opening episode and roughly cost $37,000 to replicate.

Actress Claire Foy, who plays Elizabeth on screen, dished the details of what it was like to wear a gown of this stature. “It took five days to shoot that scene, and the dress, an exact replica, weighed a ton. All the fiddling to get it right and needing the loo and you’ve got a crown on your head. For this young woman to be wearing all that and then have the composure to walk through the Abbey full of dignitaries and heads of state, and then having to be anointed… It must have taken huge gumption.”

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