The Wedding dress of Queen Victoria was worn by Victoria of the United Kingdom in her wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on February 10, 1840. She selected a white dress, which was considered an unusual choice at a time when colours would have been more usual, fabricated from heavy silk satin. The Honiton lace used for her wedding dress proved an important boost to the Devon lacemaking and to future royal wedding attire. Queen Victoria has been credited with starting the western tradition of white bridal gowns, although she was not the first royal to be married in white. At the time, Victoria's choice was criticized since she did not wear many jewels, velvet trimmed with ermine, or a crown, and the color was unusual.
Wearing white was quickly adopted by wealthy, fashionable brides. The Godey's Lady's Book, commenting about a decade after Victoria's wedding, wrote: "Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one", even though white had been a distinctly uncommon choice for bridal gowns before Victoria's wedding and was not chosen by a majority of brides until decades later.
The white colour used for the dress is used in the sense as “wedding white” or “white” including shades of cream colours like eggshell, ecru and ivory. For the cream-coloured gown, an austere dress, termed the white gown, the hand-made lace used was from the West Country village of Honiton and silk woven in Spitalfields in east London; these were chosen as a mark of support to English cottage industry, particularly promote the arts and crafts and lace industry. The gown made with Honiton Lace was "appliquéd to a machine-made cotton net." The silk satin gown was embellished with orange blossoms and, along with the bridal veil, also made of Honiton lace, she wore diamond earrings and a diamond necklace. However, a wreath of fragrant orange flower blossoms adorned her head as a symbol of fertility instead of a diamond-studded tiara, over her beautiful lace veil. The lace veil formed the flounce of the dress and was four yards in length and 0.75 yards wide. The slippers she wore matched the white colour of the dress. The dress's train, which was carried by the bridal-train bearers, extended over a length of 18 feet (5.5 m) and became a fashion statement in subsequent royal weddings, as was evidenced by the 25 feet (7.6 m) train in the wedding dress of Lady Diana Spencer.
Queen Victoria described her choice of dress in her journal thus: "I wore a white satin dress, with a deep flounce of Honiton lace, an imitation of an old design. My jewels were my Turkish diamond necklace & earrings & dear Albert's beautiful sapphire brooch." Soon enough, the white dress become a fashionable statement among royal women of the society.
The lace used in the wedding gown impressed Victoria so much, as it was produced by a labour-intensive cottage industry which required skill and perfection, that the same people were commissioned by her again to make the "christening robe" for her eldest son (who later became King Edward VII). It is also mentioned that Victoria used the lace of her wedding gown years later for special events, including her husband's funeral, as a mark of her love for him.
In the aftermath of the fashionable but conservative white wedding dress worn by the newly-married The Duchess of Cambridge on 29 April 2011, a notable and telling comparison has been made to the "White Wedding Dress" adorned by Queen Victoria on her wedding day 10 February 1840, an "audacious" expression of style coupled with conservativeness. It was the first original white dress worn by any royal personage for marriage till then, as in the past the practice was to have wedding dresses made in a plethora of colours (except solid black, which associated with mourning). It was such a bold expression in a conservative age, when wearing white was taboo for happy occasions; Queen Victoria flouted traditions and even decided not to decorate her dress with any “jewelry or crown, or velvet robes trimmed with ermine”. Her white dress (crinoline-style court dress ) was made entirely in England with lace and silk satin with full pleated skirt, and low neckline. The twelve brides maids who carried the trail were also dressed in white. Support in favour of the white dress, however, came a decade later when a lady’s book wrote in favour of it.
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