TV’s 7 Most Memorable Royal Weddings

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The Crown - Claire Foy
Robert Viglasky / Netflix

The Crown – Elizabeth – Elizabeth at Prince Philip’s investiture

DYNASTY - Joan Collins, Catherine Oxenberg, John Forsythe, Linda Evans
ABC Photo Archives ©American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Amanda and Prince Michael, Dynasty

On May 18, 1985, Dynasty’s fifth and highest rated season concluded with a momentous—and quite macabre—cliffhanger. Just as Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg), long-lost daughter to Alexis (Joan Collins) and Blake (John Forsythe), is about to tie the knot with Moldavia’s Prince Michael (Michael Praed), terrorists from her betrothed’s home country shower the chapel in bullets, leaving the ever-glamorous Carringtons bloodied and lifeless on the floor. It turned it out to be somewhat of a tease, as all but two minor characters survived, but even 30 years later, it remains one of the show’s most unforgettable moments.

The Crown

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, The Crown

In its premiere, Netflix’s The Crown recreated the 1947 wedding of Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and Prince Philip (Matt Smith) in stunning detail, and spared no expense in doing so. The on-screen extravaganza is just as sumptuous and swank as the real thing, and the wedding dress—an exact replica of Elizabeth’s that took seven weeks to make—cost a staggering $37,000. Talk about leaving a lasting first impression.

Gossip Girl - Leighton Meester
The CW

Blair Waldorf and Prince Louis, Gossip Girl

The Upper East Side’s reigning princess went from self-inducted ruler to bona fide royal when Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) wed Prince Louis of Monaco (Hugo Becker) in Gossip Girl Season 5. Their marriage didn’t last long, but the ceremony certainly served up the drama: They were interrupted mid-nuptials after the show’s titular blogger mass-circulated a video of Blair confessing her love for Chuck, and later, the bride dipped out of the reception early in an attempt to escape her newly vindictive husband.

Christos Kalohoridis/The CW

Queen Mary and King Francis, Reign

After ping-ponging between Bash (Torrance Coombs) and Francis (Toby Regbo) for half a season, Reign’s Queen Mary (Adelaid Kane) finally married the latter in a grand but romantic ceremony complete with a surprise appearance from the thought-to-be-dead Clarisa (Katie Boyland) and a mother-daughter feud.

Game of Thrones

Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey,
Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has seen many a twist across its seven seasons, but Season 3’s Red Wedding remains one of its most enduring. Following the wedding of Edmure Tully, Lord of Riverrun (Tobias Menzies), and Roslin Frey (Alexandra Dowling), their guests are massacred at the hands of Walder Frey (David Bradley), who orchestrated the killings as revenge for Robb Stark (Richard Madden) breaking his marriage pact.

Game of Throne - Jack Gleeson
Macall B. Polay/HBO

King Joffrey and Margaery,
Game of Thrones

Less monumental but still notable is Season 4’s Purple Wedding, which, true to Game of Thrones’ morbid predilection, resulted in the poisoning of King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson). Mere hours after marrying his new Queen, Margaery (Natalie Dormer), he chokes and dies in the arms of his mother.

Downton Abbey - Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery
Nick Briggs/© Carnival Film & Television Limited

Mary and Matthew, Downton Abbey

Okay, so this one is more royal adjacent than outright royal (Mary’s father is an Earl, which is a rank of nobility), but Mary (Michelle Dockery)
and Matthew (Dan Stevens) finally saying I do on Downton Abbey was such an anticipated moment for fans, it deserves an honorable mention.

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Ever since the first royal wedding was broadcast in 1960, such events have ballooned into cross-continental spectacles.

Approximately 300 million tuned in for the ceremony of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, the first to be televised; 750 million for Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981; and an estimated 2 billion for Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 (there’s been some debate about the validity of that total, but it was, inarguably, Britain’s most-watched marriage thus far).

Along the way, though, there have also been a number of other royal TV weddings — fictional, but in many cases, no less elaborate. On the heels of the announcement that Suits actress Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will head down the aisle next May, now seems like an apt time to look back at TV’s most memorable royal weddings. Click through the gallery above for a look back at all the romance and drama (and occasional massacre).