Princess Charlene’s astonishing Armani gown

Monaco’s Serene Highness the Princess Charlene came to the altar for her religious wedding to Albert II of Monaco on Saturday wearing an astonishing Giorgio Armani gown studded in crystal and pearl.

The palace said the gown took the Italian designer’s team 2,500 hours to prepare, including 700 hours for the embroidery alone, as “kilometres” of platinum-coated thread was sewn into 130 metres (430 yards) of off-white silk.

Charlene’s broad swimming champion’s shoulders also had to bear the weight of 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother of pearl tear drops and 30,000 “stones in gold shades”, the palace announced.

The stones and crystals were arranged in floral patterns and the ensemble was topped off with a long train and subtly embroidered off-white veil made from 20 metres of silk tulle, itself requiring 100 hours of labour.

The groom, His Most Serene Highness the Prince Albert II, wore the cream summer uniform of Monaco’s palace guards, its sleeves embrodered with oak and olive leave and the front fastened with monogrammed golden buttons.