Mary Henrietta Stuart, Princess Royal
On April 29, 2011, Westminster Abbey will be the setting for the most anticipated wedding of the year — the Royal Wedding of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Kate (Catherine) Middleton. To honor the event, author C.M. (Catherine) Rubin and designer Theresa Blake have joined forces to bring you a series of stories which focus on wedding dresses worn by famous Royal Princesses and Queens over the centuries that continue to inspire wedding dress designers and brides to this day. Who knows? Perhaps one of these historic royal gowns has already inspired the best kept secret for April 29, 2011 — what will Princess-to-be Kate Middleton be wearing?
MARY HENRIETTA STUART - PRINCESS ROYAL - 17TH CENTURY By C. M. Rubin and Theresa Blake
Mary Henrietta Stuart, Princess Royal, Princess of Orange, and Countess of Nassau was born at St. James’s Palace, London in 1631. She was the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland, and Queen Henrietta Maria of France. Mary’s father designated her Princess Royal (making her the first daughter of a British Sovereign to hold that title).
King Charles wished her to marry the son of Philip IV, King of Spain. However, Mary’s German first cousin, Karl Ludwig, the Elector Palatine, was also a suitor for her hand. Both proposals fell through and Mary was finally betrothed to Willem (William II), the Dutch son and heir of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. The marriage took place on May 2, 1641 at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall Palace, London. The marriage was not consummated for several years, understandably, since the bride was only nine years old when she was married. The couple’s only child, Willem, later became King William III of England, Ireland and Scotland. Mary died in 1660 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Theresa Blake’s restoration period wedding dress, inspired by Princess Royal Mary Henrietta Stuart, is made in a beautiful blue and gold silk brocade with matching plain blue silk overskirt and adornments of silk taffeta ribbon. This was very popular in the seventeenth century. An element of artistic license was used with the representative of shift sleeves (the undersleeve part). Theresa has used silk rather than lawn or linen. This seems very appropriate for a wedding or royal court gown. The slashed sleeves have piped edgings and blue-gold looped ribbon decoration.
C. M. Rubin and Theresa Blake met when they collaborated on a reproduction of the design of the original wedding dress worn by Alice Pleasance Liddell (the Alice behind Wonderland) at her wedding in 1880 in the world reknowned Westminster Abbey in London. An illustration of Alice Liddell’s dress was featured in C.M. Rubin’s bestselling book, The Real Alice In Wonderland.
To Dress A Princess