Monday, May 2, 2011
While few dresses have survived the 200 years since the Regency Era, Princess Charlotte's silver wedding dress of 1816, still exists. Princess Charlotte of Wales, born Charlotte Augusta on 7 January 1796 – 6 November 1817, was the only child of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, and George, Prince of Wales who later became King George IV.
The Museum of London recently exhibited this gorgeous creation. This elaborate gown in silver lace, called "net" in those days, lays over white silk and cut in the very popular apron style so popular during the Regency Era. Plenty of silver lace also trims this gown. I find it interesting that this dress doesn't look exactly as the dress depicted in the etching published in the May 1816 issue by La Belle Assemble:
As we have been gratified with a sight of the wedding dresses of this amiable and illustrious female, a particular yet concise account of them cannot but be acceptable to our fair readers.
The Royal Bride, happy in obtaining him whom her heart had selected, and whom consenting friends approved, wore on her countenance that tranquil and chastened joy which a female so situated could not fail to experience. Her fine fair hair, elegantly yet simply arranged, owed more to its natural beautiful wave than to the art of the friseur; it was crowned with a most superb wreath of brilliants, forming rosebuds with their leaves.
Her dress was silver lama on net, over a silver tissue slip, embroidered at the bottom with silver lama in shells and flowers. Body and sleeves to correspond, elegantly trimmed with point Brussels lace. The manteau was of silver tissue lined with white satin, with a border of embroidery to answer that on the dress, and fastened in front with a splendid diamond ornament. Such was the bridal dress …
Princess Charlotte died following childbirth at the age of 21. If she had outlived her father and grand father, she would have become Queen of England. Though her life was short, she is still remembered 200 years later in books, magazines and museums.