In May 2004, the people of Madrid celebrated something they hadn’t seen in almost a century: a royal wedding. The Prince of Asturias, now King Felipe VI of Spain, married his Spanish-born fiancee, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, in a grand ceremony in the city’s Almeduna Cathedral. Today, we’ve got a look at the astonishing gown and jewels worn by Letizia for the big moment.
Letizia arrived for the wedding ceremony wearing one of the most lavish and expensive royal wedding gowns of all time. Made by famed Spanish couturier Manuel Pertegaz. Here, in the official photograph, you’ll see that Letizia accessorized the gown with an antique fan, which comes from the family collection and dates to the nineteenth century.
Pertegaz and his workshop created an elaborate gown for the future queen, made of silk and richly embroidered with real gold thread. The gown’s floral embellishments included ears of wheat (a traditional sign of fertility, abundance, and life), and lilies (important symbols of the Spanish royal dynasty, the House of Borbón). The gown featured a distinctive high collar and long sleeves, as well as a lengthy train.
Here’s a great view of the 15-foot train. Letizia also wore a cathedral-length veil, which was a gift from Felipe. The silk tulle veil was also hand-embroidered with the same floral designs as the gown.
This photo, taken during the wedding ceremony, highlights the embroidery on the gown’s collar and cuffs. You’ll also spot Letizia’s diamond engagement ring on her left hand.
The spotlight piece of jewelry from Letizia’s bridal ensemble was the Prussian Tiara. The jewel was a loan from her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia of Spain, who inherited it from her mother, Queen Friederike of the Hellenes. The tiara was made in 1913 by Koch for Friederike’s mother, Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia. It was a wedding gift from Victoria Louise’s parents, the last emperor and empress of Germany. Queen Sofia also wore it for her wedding to King Juan Carlos in 1962.
Letizia also wore a new pair of diamond earrings, a wedding gift from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. The classic diamond design of the earrings includes a floralesque stud. To me, it looks a bit like another fleur-de-lis reference. The earrings have been among Letizia’s favorite jewels since her wedding, and she still wears them very often.
As the couple departed from the ceremony, Letizia’s brand-new gold wedding band was visible on her right hand.
During the wedding reception, Felipe’s ring was visible on his right hand as well. In his speech during the banquet, Felipe said, “we will always think of Spain and … our whole life will be dedicated to the welfare of the Spaniards.” Today, the couple’s lives are fully dedicated to the nation: they’re on the throne as King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain.