Royal weddings are spectacular, from the star-studded guest list to the lavish attire, and they usually come with seemingly limitless budgets. Take a look at the most expensive royal weddings of all time, from Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s iconic 1981 wedding to Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly’s lavish nuptials…
1.Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Princess Salama
The wedding of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, and Princess Salama in 1981 is widely regarded as the most expensive royal wedding ever.
The week-long celebrations necessitated the construction of a 20,000-seat stadium, which cost an estimated $100 million – £75.5 million. During the week, the Sheikh is said to have visited every town in the emirate on horseback and fed all of the residents.
2.Prince Charles and Princess Diana are two of the most famous royal couples in the world.
It’s easy to see why Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding was dubbed “the wedding of the century.” The televised wedding was watched by an estimated 750 million people around the world, with events held all over the Commonwealth to commemorate the couple’s special day. The wedding, which took place at St Paul’s Cathedral, is estimated to have cost £57 million, with the bride’s wedding gown alone costing £11,000. The biggest outlay, however, was security, which was estimated to cost £490,000.
3.Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert
Following his parents’ marriage, Prince Albert of Monaco married Charlene Wittstock in 2011. It was dubbed the ‘biggest party in 55 years’ at the time. The couple married in a Catholic ceremony in the courtyard of Monaco’s medieval Palace, with the bride looking stunning in an Armani Prive silk gown. The royal couple drove away in a custom-made Lexus hybrid to change for the evening festivities after an emotional ceremony in which Andrea Bocelli serenaded guests. Their three-day celebrations cost around £53 million in total.
4.Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took place on May 19, 2018 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. Oprah Winfrey, Elton John, the Beckhams, and George and Amal Clooney were among the celebrities who attended. The wedding itself was estimated to cost £32 million, with the majority of the money going to security. Meghan’s stunning bespoke Givenchy gown was estimated to cost £390,000.
5.Kate Middleton and Prince William
Prince William married his longtime love on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey, in one of the most iconic weddings in modern history. Kate dazzled the crowds in her lace Alexander McQueen gown, which cost an estimated £355,000 and featured a nine-foot-long train and handmade lace. However, their security bill was once again the largest expense. The wedding cost around £30 million in total. The royal family had paid for key aspects of the wedding, including the church service, associated music, flowers, decorations, and the reception afterwards, according to the palace.
6.Spanish King Felipe and Queen Letizia
In 2004, approximately 25 million people watched Crown Prince Felipe marry former journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in Madrid. As she entered the Santa Mara la Real de La Almudena Cathedral, the bride looked stunning in a bespoke gown designed by Spanish designer Manuel Pertegaz, which featured a high collar, four-metre train, and real gold accents. The ceremony drew 1,500 people, and the reception featured a two-metre wedding cake and 1,000 bottles of champagne. The total cost of the celebrations is estimated to be £19 million.
7.Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark married Mary Donaldson in the Copenhagen Cathedral on 14 May 2004, followed by wedding festivities at the Fredensborg Palace. Bridesmaids were Mary’s sisters Jane Stephens and Patricia Bailey, as well as her friend Amber Petty, and the best man was Frederik’s brother Prince Joachim of Denmark. The bride wore a wedding gown by Uffe Frank, a Danish fashion designer, with a veil that was first worn by Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden. The royal wedding is expected to cost around £18 million.
8.Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier
Grace Kelly, an American actress, married Prince Rainier of Monaco at St Nicholas Cathedral on April 18, 1956, and became a princess. The bride’s wedding gown, which featured a high neckline, multiple petticoats, and antique pearls, was a gift from MGM and was handcrafted by three dozen seamstresses over the course of six weeks.
The couple welcomed guests such as Cary Grant, Ava Gardner, and Aristotle Onassis to their religious celebration, where they dined on caviar, lobster, champagne, and a six-tier wedding cake. They were officially married in a civil ceremony one day prior. Following their wedding, the newlyweds embarked on a seven-week cruise aboard the Deo Juvante II, a 147-foot yacht gifted to them by Aristotle Onassis.
It’s impossible to say how much the royal couple’s wedding cost without a detailed cost breakdown. Grace’s gown, however, cost around $8,000 in 1956 and was made up of 100 yards of high-quality silk and 25 yards of taffeta. With today’s inflation, that would be nearly £80,000.
9.The Greek Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal
Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece married Marie-Chantal Miller at St Sophia’s Cathedral in London on July 1, 1995, with a reception at Hampton Court Palace. It was the largest royal gathering in London since the Queen married Prince Philip in 1947, with more crowned heads in attendance than at Charles and Diana’s wedding.
Valentino Garavani reportedly cost £170,000 for the bride’s pearl-encrusted ivory silk Valentino wedding gown with 4.5 meter Chantilly lace train. Marie-gown Chantal’s was created by a team of 25 people over the course of four months and 12 different types of lace. Marie-billionaire Chantal’s father, Robert Warren Miller, is said to have spent £8 million on the celebrations.
10.Jack Brooksbank and Princess Eugenie
Princess Eugenie, the Queen’s granddaughter, married Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel on October 12, 2018. Following the ceremony, the couple rode in a carriage through Windsor before celebrating at the Queen’s reception at Windsor Castle. The evening reception at Royal Lodge, Prince Andrew’s official residence, was black-tie.
On her wedding day, the bride wore a long-sleeved open-back dress with folded shoulders and a full-length train designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos, and she looked stunning.
The bride’s parents and family paid for the wedding and both parties privately, as well as the flowers, entertainment, and dress. The cost of security on the day was estimated to be £2 million.