04.07.11

The Most Expensive Royal Weddings

Love isn’t cheap when monarchies are involved. From the multimillion-dollar wedding of Princess Diana to Grace Kelly’s dowry, The Daily Beast ranks some of the costliest ceremonies in royal history.

Gowns of gold and diamonds, cakes as tall as guests, weeklong receptions, custom-built stadiums, and hundreds of thousands of flowers—these are just some of the components necessary to throw the most extravagant wedding ceremonies. Of course, one of the most anticipated details of Kate and William’s wedding is her dress, though it will be hard to measure up to Princess Diana’s $15,000 dress with a 25-foot train.

Gallery: The Most Expensive Royal Weddings

Of course, excessive opulence to celebrate the union of royals (or royals to commoners) is nothing new. Modern royal weddings are an exercise in restraint compared to the weddings of royals past. In the 1800s, the extreme costs devoted to weddings forced the Egyptian royal family to put its half-stake in the Suez Canal on the market. Marie Antoinette walked down the aisle in a dress bedecked with diamonds while Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon arrived at the altar in robes of gold. When Crown Prince Friedrich Augustus of Saxony married Maria Josepha of Austria in 1719, the party raged for a full 28 days.

But these days, the festivities are orchestrated as much for the millions watching on television as for the relatively small crowd of official guests. To rank the most outrageous, The Daily Beast combed the history books and news coverage devoted to the glamorous nuptials of royal offspring worldwide. From the Hollywood fete between Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier to the $100 million affair to celebrate the 1981 marriage of the emir of Dubai’s son, these are the couples treated to the most expensive nuptials in royal history. All reported costs were adjusted for inflation.

To find out how Kate and William’s ceremony compares, click here.