01 August 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Queen Silvia's Gown

 HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Silvia Sommerlath
June 19, 1976
Stockholm, Sweden

If you're out to snag yourself a prince (or princess), I hope you've secured yourself a spot in London right now. History has proven that the Olympics are fertile grounds for royal love matches, and we've got one such pair today.
King Carl Gustaf met Queen Silvia at the 1972 Games in Munich, when she was a German girl working at the event and he was the Swedish crown prince. By the time they married four years later, Carl Gustaf was king (his father died in an airplane crash when he was a little boy, so he inherited the throne from his grandfather) and Silvia went straight from commoner to Queen of Sweden.
Silvia chose to go to France for her wedding dress, to Dior and Marc Bohan. The result is a silk duchesse gown almost stark in its simplicity, with a high neck, long sleeves, slim skirt and train extending from the shoulders. It is certainly a product of its mid-Seventies time.
The simplicity has a purpose: Silvia was wearing both an intricate veil and a showpiece tiara. The veil, a Swedish wedding tradition, dates from Queen Sofia and had been worn by Carl Gustaf's late mother Princess Sibylla among other family members. (It's since been worn by Crown Princess Victoria, continuing the tradition.)
She wore it intriguingly folded up under the Cameo Tiara - another Swedish wedding tradition she helped to solidify. (The Cameo, with all its great history, was also a piece that belonged to Carl Gustaf's mother. Princess Sibylla died in 1972.)
I have to be honest here: this is one of my least favorite wedding gowns. It's just soooo simple in design. And while it was designed to allow the other accessories to shine, I think it also allows the faults to shine: the folds created by the heavy fabric as it moves (and there was a lot of moving and waving in this wedding), or the tissue strapped to her wrist by a rubber band (insisted upon by her mother, and then forgotten but seen in nearly every shot of her waving). And maybe, just maybe, a queen deserved a little more embellishment.

What do you say: too simple, or just right?

Photos: IBL/Svenskdam/Aftonbladet/Scanpix