History

Vintage Photos of Royalty Around the World

As Britain enjoys the royal wedding, take a look at these images of royalty from the National Geographic archives.Saturday, May 19, 2018

By Heather Brady
view gallery

Prince Henry of Wales (more commonly known as Prince Harry) and Megan Markle have rekindled international interest in the lives of royalty as they enjoy their wedding celebration.

In Britain, large weddings that offer the public a peek into royal lives are a modern affair. Prior to World War I, members of the royal family married privately in royal chapels or palaces, and the marriages were often a matter of international diplomacy and strategy. In an effort to strengthen their connection to the British people and minimise their relations with Germany after World War I, the royal family began using Westminster Abbey—a location that could house for more guests than a small royal chapel—as a wedding venue.

With each modern royal wedding, public fascination is reignited—especially now that the events can be televised. Interest grows during the weeks before the lavish event, and many of the people responsible for putting on the wedding are sworn to secrecy or kept in the dark about their true clients to keep prying eyes at bay.

These grand celebrations and public presentations are by no means exclusive to the British crown, though. Elaborate clothing and events have long marked the lives of royalty from countries of all shapes and sizes.

These historic photos offer a glimpse of well-dressed royals from around the globe—some on their wedding day, some in their military attire, and some in traditional status-signifying garb—pulling back the veil of mystery that sometimes shrouds monarchs and their families.