Royal Designer Norman Hartnell Part Four: Princess Margaret’s Wedding Dress

Before we get too busy with all of the upcoming Jubilee events later this week, we thought we’d finally get to our fourth post on royal designer Norman Hartnell. Today, we’re all about Princess Margaret’s wedding dress. If you missed our past posts on Mr. Hartnell, click here to catch up! He’s quite a gem in our books.

Naturally, there was much anticipation and fanfare ahead of the May 6, 1960 wedding of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones. Norman Hartnell was commissioned to design the bride’s wedding dress, and it was to be his last significant gown for a State occasion.

The bride knew that she wanted clean and simple lines, and originally the dress wasn’t going to have the full skirt that she ended up with. Several layers of tulle created this fullness, and a lot of technical work was done by the Hartnell seamstresses to make it flow ‘just so.’ The result was a sophisticated gown that was a great choice for the petite Margaret. We think that this dress still looks amazing over forty years later, and chose this gown as one of our top ten royal wedding dresses ever. Click here to check out that post.

Notably, Hartnell designed the dress to split at the back of the skirt, so that the Princess wouldn’t crush it too badly while she was riding to Westminster Abbey. Too bad the Emmanuel’s didn’t think of that when they designed Lady Diana’s dress, which was famously crushed in the carriage en route to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Princess Margaret was accompanied to the chuch by her brother-in-law Prince Philip, who gave her away.We get a good look at the Poltmore Tiara in this photograph. And, yes, that’s Prince Philip even though it doesn’t really look like him here:

Looks like that skirt opening came in handy here, too:

Lovely family photo:

Decades later, Princess Margaret’s daughter-in-law Serena Stanhope used this dress as inspiration for her own wedding gown. She married Viscount Linley on October 8, 1993. The silhouette, neckline, and long sleeves are all very reminiscent of Margaret’s dress:

She also kept the 1960’s big hair:

We also have an upcoming post featuring Princess Alexandra of Denmark’s 1995 wedding dress, which seems to have taken some cues from Princess Margaret’s gown as well. Stay tuned for that!

Margeret’s dress has been on display over the years so fortunately we have some more great photos of it:

So, what do you think of this Norman Hartnell dress? Has it held the test of time?

Our other Norman Hartnell posts inspired by the book Be Dazzled! Norman Hartnell 60 Years of Glamour and Flash can be found below, and if you’d liked to pick up a copy of the book, it can be found here.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation Dress

Princess Elizabeth’s Wedding Dress

Norman Hartnell’s Career


Categories: British Royal Family, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Royal Weddings

5 replies

  1. What a truly stunning dress Norman Hartnell designed for Princess Margaret, it suits her perfectly, and is of such perfect proportions. I love the clean lines. One of my favourite royal wedding dresses!


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