September 19, 2012
As the daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott grew up alongside her future husband, HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. But despite her aristocratic background, Alice was no typical royal bride – by the time she married on November 6, 1935, she was 34 years old (quite old for the time – oh, how things have changed!) and had travelled the world for years.
Today Norman Hartnell seems like a “typical” royal choice, but Alice’s wedding dress was actually the first major royal commission for the couturier. It led to the then-Duchess of York (the future Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) visiting his studio, which in turn led to work for Queen Mary. Eventually, all of this led to his becoming the sole man in charge of the style of the major royal ladies for decades, including royal wedding gowns for both Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
flower girl dresses??How cute are those
Owing to her age, Alice did not want to marry in a pure white gown – a desire only enhanced when her father died just a few weeks before the wedding. So, Hartnell created a satin gown in a pearl pink shade with a matching tulle veil. On her head, instead of a regular tiara, she wore a crystal headdress specially made for the day…..
The whole affair was relatively subdued compared to the more glamorous nuptials of Henry’s younger brother Prince George, Duke of Kent, and his wife, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark the year before (keep an eye out for their beautiful wedding, soon to appear on Chic Vintage Brides). A planned public ceremony at Westminster Abbey was scratched, out of respect for the loss of her father, in favor of a wedding in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace – though the bride did still make her entrance in the glass carriage and there was still the obligatory balcony appearance afterward.
After her husband’s death, Alice was granted the courtesy title of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester by the Queen, despite the fact that she was never a princess of blood herself. Alice didn’t want to be known as the Dowager Duchess (need I add at this point, who’s looking forward to Downton Abbey Series 3??) She died in 2004; at 102 years old, she was the oldest living royal in history.
What a bride and what a life!