Royal Wedding Dresses: A Glimpse of Society’s Views of Women

April 25, 2011 | Danelle

I love looking at wedding dresses throughout history, and with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding approaching, the Historic Royal Palaces Society has put on display six royal wedding gowns – the oldest dating close to 200 years worn by Princess Charlotte, daughter of King George IV.

Check out the video here as senior curator Dr. Joanna Marschner walks you through all six dresses, showing them in great detail. Also, click here for the dresses on some of the royal brides.

I find it fascinating to look at these dresses because it shows how styles are constantly changing, which reflect how women in society are always changing. Wedding dresses are very telling of society’s beliefs about women, and royal wedding dresses are even more telling since much of how royal families act are based upon societal views.

It will be really interesting to see what Kate Middleton wears as her wedding dress, but for now, I would like to pose a question: Given the many different styles of wedding dresses today, what do you think that says about women in society?

I believe it shows that women have choice to be their own person and choose what style they want for themselves; not what society dictates them to wear. Although there are still many traditions of wedding dresses in place such as wearing white or wearing a veil, there are an increasing number of brides choosing to forgo those traditions, which again, helps prove my point, but I believe there is also room to disagree. I am curious to find out what women think about this subject.

If you are married already, what do you think your dress reflected during that time? If you are not married, what is your dream gown and do you think it is keeping within the norm or moving beyond that?

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