Friday, April 22, 2011

Royal Wedding: David, Viscount Linley and Serena Stanhope

"My children are not royal," Princess Margaret once said. "They just happen to have an aunt who is the Queen."

Technically this is only a royal wedding because Viscount Linley's late mother was the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret Rose, Countess of Snowden, but it's my blog and I really thought this wedding was lovely.
Princess Margaret's son, David Armstrong-Jones or Viscount Linley, married the Hon. Serena Stanhope on 8th October 1993 at St. Margaret's Church. The bride, 23, is the daughter of the Earl of Harrington, who owns a 700-acre estate in County Limerick and vast chunks of Kensington. Her mother, Virginia Freeman Jackson, was a debutante.

From the radiant looks on Viscount Linley and his bride, no one would have guessed that there was any tension behind the smiles. Indeed, the House of Windsor was on its best behavior, which was billed in the British tabloids as the Wedding of the Year. The grooms parents, Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon, who had a particularly acrimonious split,  managed to play nice by arriving together for the 3 p.m. wedding. The Queen looked relaxed as she stepped out of her Rolls with Prince Edward and the Queen Mum. And Princess Anne, who never really warmed to her wayward sister-in-law Princess of Wales, greeted her with a kiss. The wedding, however, was noticeable for who didn't show up.  Allegedly eager to avoid his estranged wife, Prince Charles hightailed it to Turkey on official business. For some reason, Prince Philip chose to be at a carriage-driving event in Gladstone, N.J. Prince Andrew at least had a legitimate excuse, he was on naval duty in Gibraltar, and of course Duchess of York was probably not invited beginning her years in the Royal wilderness.
What I find so interesting about this wedding is Serena's dress, whicch was designed by couturier Bruce Bobbins at a cost of $9,000, was reminiscent of Princess Margaret's 1960 wedding gown but reflected her own personality and taste.

As you can see from the pictures, both dresses featured a v-neck, long sleeves, tight waist, and very full skirt.  However Serena's was actually in two parts: a satin 'coat-dress', which buttoned down the front, and continued half-way down the skirt which was made out of silk, covered by multiple layers of tulle.  Princess Margaret's wedding dress, on the other hand, was made from silk organza with thirty  metres of fabric in the skirt alone. However, the embellishment on the dress was minimal which suited Princess Margaret’s delicate frame. Hartnell’s designs were much admired by the Princess, as she explains in The Englishwoman’s Wardrobe, he was ‘always so good at getting the balance right.’  Neither gown featured a long train which was unusual given the long trains featured on the wedding dresses of Diana, Princess of Wales and Sarah, Duchess of York. Since both women are petite, a long train would probably have overbalanced them.

Both Princess Margaret and Serena wore their hair up, enclosed by a tiara, from which a veil fell to the same length as the gown's train. Serena's  upswept blond hair was arranged by hairdresser Nicky Clarke for a reported $1,500.
The Poltimore tiara (see below), made in 1870 for Lady Poltimore, and was bought at auction especially for Princess Margaret.  Unfortunately, her children sold the tiara at auction after her death, which is such a shame because it is gorgeous. It would have looked lovely on Kate Middleton for her wedding, or even as an heirloom for little Margarita Armstrong-Jones to wear at her wedding.

Serena is wearing the Papyrus Motive Tiara. This tiara was bought by Queen Mary from Garrard's. She later gave it to Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Mother), Duchess of York. She in turn gave it to her daughter Princess Margaret. Serena Linley borrowed the tiara on the day the wedding.
Sources:  People Magazine, Hello Magazine, Majesty Magazine.
Viscount Linley goes professionally by the name David Linley, and is currently chairman of Christie's UK, the international auction house. He is the queen's only nephew and is also fourteenth in line to the throne, and the first person in the line of succession who is not a descendant of the queen. The couple have two children, the Honorable Charles Armstrong-Jones, born in 1999, and the Honorable Margarita Amstrong-Jones, who will be a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.


The_Editrix said...

Maybe it ought to be mentioned that the mother of the bride, Virginia Freeman Jackson, used to be at the top of international three-day-eventing in the Sixties.

yah me said...

The Lotus Flower tiara was not purchased by Queen Mary. It was made from a dismantled necklace that Elizabeth, Queen Mother received as a wedding gift from her husband. Queen Mary had nothing to do with it.