There’s nothing Britain loves more than a royal wedding. But even princesses have to swap multi-million pound celebrations for something more modest in the midst of a pandemic.
On the 17th of July Princess Beatrice married her own Prince Charming Italian property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at The Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor Great Park in a service that was fully corona-compliant.
However, this scaled back ceremony wasn’t the most memorable thing about the whole day. Beatrice shocked the world by not opting for a famous designer to create the most important dress of her life. Instead – in a very modern move – Beatrice chose vintage. And not just any vintage. She chose a Norman Hartnell gown that belonged to her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
This distinctive gown was worn by the Queen on several occasions. It premiered at a state dinner in Rome in 1961. The Queen then wore it again at the premiere of the film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, and recycled it once more in 1966 at the State Opening of Parliament.
The gown itself is made from Peau De Soie taffeta and organza, trimmed with Duchess satin, and encrusted with diamanté. Beatrice chose to have some adaptations made to the gown, and the Queen’s personal dresser Angela Kelly altered the previous puff ball skirt and also added some puff sleeves, the latter making the dress more appropriate for a traditional church wedding.
I personally loved Princess Beatrice’s gown on so many levels. I’m a sucker for all things vintage, and the fact the dress originally belonged to her royal grandmother is such a lovely familial touch. Puff sleeves are also a personal fave of mine, and very on trend. Its a far cry from when Beatrice attended Kate and William’s wedding with what was basically a giant pretzel on her head, sparking a million memes in the process.
But the main reason I loved it? It always takes guts to break tradition – especially royal tradition – but Beatrice did just that with her dress selection. Her wedding dress will go down in royal history for all the right reasons.
Why Princess Beatrice’s Wedding Dress Is Historic
- Princess Beatrice is the first royal bride to opt for a second hand wedding dress. In recent history, royal brides have opted for big name designers (Kate Middleton chose Alexander McQueen and Megan Markle chose Givenchy), often championing homegrown talent. Choosing a recycled wedding dress is unheard of for royalty, but makes Beatrice’s dress relevant at a time when climate change and sustainability is a hot topic.
- It is also unheard of any fashion designer being bestowed the honour of creating more than one royal wedding dress, but by Beatrice choosing to wear vintage Norman Hartnell there are now THREE British royal brides who chose this designer for their wedding day – the other two being the Queen herself, and her sister Princess Margaret.
- Equally important as the dress is the tiara chosen by the royal bride. Beatrice wore the Queen Mary Fringe tiara for her big day – exactly the same as her granny. Princess Anne also wore the same tiara for her first wedding, making the Queen Mary tiara the most popular wedding tiara in modern royal history.
Other Reasons Why Beatrice’s Wedding Is Historic
- The Royal Chapel of All Saints is a church in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Its been used by the British royal family since the 19th century, and the present Queen uses it for regular worship. Despite it being such a familiar church to the royal family, it has never been used for a royal wedding before – probably because of its small size. Beatrice is definitely the first royal to use this wedding venue – talk about exclusive!
- Since 1923 and the wedding of the Queen Mother, all royal wedding rings have been crafted from Welsh gold. Beatrice has chosen to break with nearly 100 years worth of tradition by opting for a platinum ring instead. The ring has been designed to compliment and fit around the 0.5 carat Art Deco and Victorian inspired engagement ring that Edoardo gave Beatrice.
- Beatrice did keep up with royal historic tradition in one noticeable way – with her bouquet. Royal fans will have spotted the obligatory sprig of myrtle amongst the bouquet of sweet peas and roses. This tradition originated with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and continues with royal brides to this day. Its a German tradition signifying the innocence of the bride.
I am confident that when we look back at the royal weddings of the 21st Century Beatrice and her vintage dress will stand out for all the right royal reasons. In a time of fast fashion and budget-breaking weddings, Princess Beatrice surprised the world by recycling a beautiful vintage dress and paying tribute to her beloved granny.