EDITORIAL FEATURE

Royal Wedding Imagery From Around The World

We had a look through the archives to see what royal weddings have looked like through the decades

Royal wedding fever is upon us, so to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we've found a selection of images from around the world of famous festivities from the past.

Princess Lal-la Fatima of French Morocco and
Caliph of Spanish Morocco, Muley el Hassan - 1949

In June, 1949 Caliph Sidi Muley el Hassan, ruler of Spanish Morroco, 42, married Princes Lal-la Fatima of French Morocco, 22. The marriage of the two royals brought much rejoicing around the country, with tribesmen letting off fireworks in the streets and celebratory gunshots being fired in the air for weeks in anticipation of the union. The celebrations in the capital city of Spanish Morocco where the wedding took place, Teotuán, went on for a month, including a nightly lavish banquet that was set for the esteemed wedding guests. It was reported that in that time, and at a cost of $2 milllion dollars, the guests ate 15,000 chickens, 3,000 sheep and gallons of wine between them.

Princess Lal-la Fatima of French Morocco posing in her ceremonial dress during a pre-wedding trip to the palace for her marriage to Muley el Hassan, Caliph of Spanish Morocco, by Dmitri Kessel, 1949 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Caliph of Spanish Morocco, Muley el Hassan standing in his ceremonial uniform before his marriage to Princess Lal-la Fatima of French Morocco, by Dmitri Kessel, 1949 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Marriage procession of Princess Lal-la Fatima of French Morocco and Muley el Hassan, Caliph of Spanish Morocco, by Dmitri Kessel, 1949 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Tent set up for the marriage of the Caliph of Spanish Morocco, Muley el Hassan and Princess Lal-la Fatima of French Morocco, by Dmitri Kessel, 1949 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Caliph of Spanish Morocco, Muley el Hassan (C) talking with the Spanish Duchess of Montpensie during the wedding banquet for his marriage to Princess Lal-la Fatima of French Morocco, by Dmitri Kessel, 1949 (From LIFE Photo Collection)

Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece - 1962

On May 14, 1962, Prince Juan Carlos of Spain married Princess Sophia of Greece in Athens, after meeting on a boat trip in 1954 arranged by Sophie's mother for young European royals. The two did not fall in love straight away, but after eventually taking a romantic interest in each other after years of friendship, the story goes that Juan Carlos proposed by throwing her a small box and saying "Sofi, catch it!" Inside was a ring made from ancient Greek coins that dated back to the time of Alexander the Great, which had been melted down to make the jewelry.

Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife at their wedding in Athens, by Hank Walker, 1962 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Greek Royal Wedding, by Hank Walker, 1962 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Prince Rainier III of Monaco (R) with Princess Grace (L), at the wedding in Athens of Princess Sophie and Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, by Hank Walker, 1962 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Prince Juan Carlos of Spain at his wedding to Princess Sophie of Greece; pictured with members from both royal families, by Hank Walker, 1962 (From LIFE Photo Collection)

Sharifah Salwa to Tengku Sulaiman Ibni Al-Marhum Tengku Bendehara Abu Bakar - 1962

Sharifah Salwa, the daughter of the Malayasian King, married her fiancée, Tengku Sulaiman, on January 1, 1962. The bersanding ceremony, a part of a Malaysian wedding ceremony where the bride and bridegroom sit together on a pelamin (bridal couch), took place in the Blue Room of Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's National Palace. In the colorful ceremony, the couple wore matching blue attire.

Malayan Royal Wedding, by Larry Burrows (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Malayan Royal Wedding, by Larry Burrows (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Malayan Royal Wedding, by Larry Burrows (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Malayan Royal Wedding, by Larry Burrows (From LIFE Photo Collection)


Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlevi of Iran and Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiary - 1951

With the groom in full military attire and the bride in a silver lamé gown studded with pearls and trimmed with marabou stork feathers that was designed by Christian Dior, Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlevi of Iran married Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiary on 12 February 1951. When the couple got engaged—the second time for him—he gave her a dazzling 22.37 carat diamond ring to seal the deal. The ornate ceremony took place at the Marble Palace in Tehran and was decorated with 1.5 tonnes of orchids, tulips and carnations that had been sent in by place from the Netherlands.

Shah Of Iran Wedding, by Dmitri Kessel, 1951 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Shah Of Iran Wedding, by Dmitri Kessel, 1951 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Shah Of Iran Wedding, by Dmitri Kessel, 1951 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Shah Of Iran Wedding, by Dmitri Kessel, 1951 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Shah Of Iran Wedding, Dmitri Kessel (From LIFE Photo Collection)

King Baudoin of Belgium and Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón - 1960

King Baudouin of Belgium married Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón in Brussels on December 15, 1960. Fabiola wore a simple white silk wedding dress trimmed with white ermine that had been designed by the couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. There were two parts to the wedding, a civil ceremony that took place in the Throne Room of the Royal Palace of Brussels, and then a religious ceremony in the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula. At the time of the engagement, Fabiola was working as a nurse in a hospital, leading LIFE magazine to nickname her "Cinderella Girl". To honor her marriage, Spanish bakers created a new type of bread, la fabiola, which is still made today in Palencia.

Baudouin & Queen Fabiola making first appearance after wedding on palace balcony in Brussels, Hank Walker, 1960 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Wedding dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga for Balenciaga (From the collection of Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa)
Sweden's Prince Bertil, England's Princess Margaret, Iran's Prince Golam Reza Pahlevi, and Italy's ex-queen Marie Jose at civil wedding ceremony of Belgium's King Baudoin to Fabiola, by Hank Walker (From LIFE Photo Collection)

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter Van Vollenhoven - 1967

Princess Margriet, the third daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard, met her future husband Pieter van Vollenhoven while studying at Leiden University. Van Vollenhoven was a commoner, making him the first member of the Dutch Royal House who was not of royal or noble origin. As such he was not given a royal title after his marriage, and was afterwards known formally as "Mister Van Vollenhoven" or by his professional title as "Professor Van Vollenhoven". The couple married in St. James Church in the Hague on 10 January, 1967.

Dutch Princess Magriet wearing embroidered dress with marguerites during her marriage to Pieter Van Vollenhoven, by Carlo Bavagnoli, 1967 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Queen Juliana (C) and Bernhard with Princess Maria Christina during wedding of Princess Margriet to Dutch Commoner Pieter Van Vollenhoven, by Carlo Bavagnoli, 1967 (From LIFE Photo Collection)

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten - 1947

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten married at Westminister Abbey on 20 November, 1947. Due to rationing measures that were in place after World War II, Princess Elizabeth had to use ration coupons to pay for her dress. In a show of support, hundreds of people from across the UK sent their own coupons to help her, although these had to be returned as it would have been illegal to use them. The ceremony was broadcast to 200 million radio listeners around the world.

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding, by William J Sumits, 1947 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Princess Elizabeth & Prince Philip (front row center) posing w. other family members as well as members of European nobility after their wedding, 1947 (From LIFE Photo Collection)
Princess Elizabeth Wedding Cake, William J Sumits (From LIFE Photo Collection)
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