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Yvonne Yorke

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Royal Wedding Dresses: The Bad and the Beautiful (PHOTOS)

Posted: 01/01/2011 4:23 am

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While royal and style watchers anticipate the gowns Kate Middleton and Charlene Wittstock will wear for their weddings in 2011, here's a look back at some wedding dresses of princesses and commoner-turned-princesses, with a few queens added for good measure.

These gowns were all one-of-kind creations, and ranged from demure to over-the-top, tasteful to fanciful. As befitting a royal wedding, none were strapless or low-cut. In fact, a few had such high necklines and were so austere that they looked somewhat like nuns' habits - if it weren't for the dazzling tiaras which crowned the ensembles. Then there were a couple, such as Gloria, Princess of Thurn und Taxis, and Clotilde, Princess of Savoy, whose bridal gowns were designed to conceal their pregnancies. Definitely not nun-like.

Valentino created the wedding dresses of both Princess Maxima of the Netherlands and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, and Bruce Oldfield was the man behind Queen Rania of Jordan's gold-embroidered wedding gown. However, most of the current crop of crown princesses patriotically chose their own countrymen (or women) for their wedding day. Letizia, Princess of Asturias wore a gown by Spaniard Manuel Pertegaz, Crown Princess Masako of Japan was in Hanae Mori, Mary of Denmark wed in Uffe Frank, Mathilde of Belgium went with the Belgian designer Edouard Vermeulen, Mette-Marit of Norway's gown was by Norwegian Ove Harder Finseth, and recently in June 2010, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden got married in a dress by Swedish designer Par Engsheden.

British royal brides tend to favor British designers. Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret both wed in Norman Hartnell wedding gowns, Lady Diana chose David and Elizabeth Emmanuel for her controversial but iconic wedding dress, and Sarah Ferguson selected Lindka Cierach. Grace Kelly went from Hollywood princess to real-life princess in a fairy-tale gown by MGM costume designer Helen Rose, which many consider to be the most beautiful royal wedding dress of all time.

Will brides-to-be Kate Middleton, Zara Philips and Charlene Wittstock top some of these show-stopping royal wedding gowns? We'll have to wait and see.

Princess Maxima of the Netherlands
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Valentino designed Princess Maxima of Netherlands' wedding dress
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