Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria
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?
PRINCESS ELISABETH OF BAVARIA - 19th Century by C. M. Rubin and Theresa BlakePrincess Elisabeth of Bavaria (1837 – 1898), Empress of Austria and Queen Consort of Hungary, has inspired filmmakers and theater producers for decades. Her husband and first cousin, Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, selected Elisabeth to be his queen when she was only 15 years old. Elisabeth bore the Emperor four children (Archduchess Sophie, Archduchess Gisela, Crown Prince Rudolf, Archduchess Marie Valerie). The Princess was known for her beauty, her passion for fashion, her 20 inch waist (she followed a strict diet and exercise regimen), and her reputed love affairs. During the course of her life, she faced many tragedies including the death of her oldest child, Sophie, and her only son, Rudolf. The scandal surrounding her son’s suggested murder-suicide with his lover Baroness Mary Vetsera (the scandal was known as the Mayerling Incident), increased public interest in Elisabeth. She spent little time in Austria during the later years of her life when travel to countries all over the world consumed her interest. On September 10, 1898, she was assassinated in Geneva, Switzerland by a young mentally ill anarchist named Luigi Lucheni.
The beautiful wedding gown below, of ivory lace satin and tulle, was inspired by a painting of Elisabeth. It is a reproduction of a classic Victorian court dress - a triple layered lace skirt, scattered with mother of pearl sequins, worn over many petticoats and a crinoline hoop. The velvet train is edged with appliqued details in gold, a theatrical interpretation of the original intricate gold lace. The corseted bodice is encrusted with intricate beaded patterns in crystals, sequins, pearls, and facetted stones, and has layered pearl-edged ribbons at the shoulder.
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