The Wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert

“We are all going stark, staring mad. Nothing is heard or thought of but doves and cupids, triumphal arches and whit favours, and last but not least, variegated lamps and general illuminations.”[1]

On February 10, 1840, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at St. James’s Palace.

In the past, weddings had traditionally taken place at night. This time, however, Victoria was determined that her people should see her and the bridal procession drive to St. James’s Palace. To make herself even more visible, she refused to wear her traditional crimson velvet robes of state. Instead, she chose a simplistic, pure white dress. The dress’s color symbolized her innocence, but it also allowed the people gathered on the streets to see her more easily.

Victoria’s dress was easily replicated. Therefore, copycats popped up all over the world, and the tradition of brides wearing white was established.

The wedding day itself was rainy. However, that did not seem to sour anyone’s mood. Spectators gathered all day, and the bride was said to be giddy.

Queen Victoria was escorted down the aisle by her uncle, the Duke of Sussex. The bridesmaids, also wearing white, were dressed simplistically. It is said that they struggled to handle Victoria’s eighteen-foot-long train, but Victoria said that their movements only added a beautiful effect to the dress. Albert wore a scarlet and white uniform of a British field marshal.

After the wedding, Queen Victoria had the myrtle from her bouquet planted. A sprig from the bush it grew into was carried in future Queen Elizabeth II’s bouquet during her wedding to Prince Philip.


[1] The Satirist, 1840

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