I’m obsessed with royal weddings.
I don’t care if it’s a big event where I have to get up super early to watch it like Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton and Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle, or if it’s a surprise ceremony like Princess Beatrice’s wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi over the weekend.
Like many brides during the COVID-19 pandemic, Princess Beatrice had to change some of her original wedding plans. It was supposed to be at the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace, followed by a private reception at Buckingham Palace, but she and Mozzi got married in a small ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints on Friday. Her grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were in attendance.
Beatrice Borrowed Her Dress from the Queen
The adage is to have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue at your wedding. Princess Beatrice took wearing something borrowed to a new level when she borrowed her wedding dress and tiara from her grandmother, the Queen. Her tiara was the same one the Queen wore when she married Prince Philip in 1947, but the dress is what really turned heads.
Queen Elizabeth II, at her wedding, wearing Queen Mary's fringe tiara, and Beatrice in the same tiara.
The Queen originally wore the Norman Hartnell gown to an official state dinner in Rome, the premiere of Lawrence of Arabia, and the State Opening of Parliament. All three events took place in the mid-1960s. Hartnell was one of the Queen’s favorite designers. He designed her wedding dress and coronation gown. He was a favorite among other royals like the Queen Mother and the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret. Hartnell died in 1979 and was famous in his lifetime for his elegant designs and famous clients.
Queen Elizabeth wears the Norman Hartwell gown in the 1960s.
This is special for several reasons. Borrowing something from your grandmother to wear on your wedding day is one of the most special things you can do (I tear up at the thought of wearing my grandmother’s earrings when I eventually get married), but wearing her dress is truly amazing. The dress is also timeless, looking as beautiful on Beatrice as it did on Elizabeth in the 1960s.
History of Royal Wedding Dresses
There’s a reason why royal wedding dresses are always a big deal. Queen Victoria made the white wedding dress a staple when she married Prince Albert in 1840, so the royals have big shoes to fill.
In recent years, this has led royal brides to have their gowns custom made by top designers.
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
Meghan Markle, ex-Duchess of Sussex
Meghan’s dress by Clare Waight Keller is much simpler than Kate’s, but it’s still just as elegant. Plus, she changed into a much more chic white gown for her reception festivities — because who doesn’t love an excuse to wear more than one dress?
Princess Eugenie, Beatrice’s sister and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth
Like Meghan, Eugenie had two stunning dresses for her wedding day. Her first gown by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos has total vintage vibes. Her reception dress was also inspired by Grace Kelly. Clearly, she was quite the royal icon.
Princess Alexandra of Denmark and Albert Edward of Wales
Some of the most iconic royal wedding dresses (and some of my personal favorites) after Victoria and before the 21st century include Princess Alexandra of Denmark’s gown when she married Albert Edward of Wales in 1863.
Princess Victoria of Teck and Prince George
Princess Alexandra’s daughter-in-law, Princess Victoria of Teck, followed in her footsteps when she married Prince George in 1893.
Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Elizabeth’s (currently Queen Elizabeth II) gown when she married Philip Mountbatten in 1947 is iconic to this day. Even Netflix’s The Crown made sure to faithfully replicate the famous dress for Elizabeth’s wedding in the show.
Lady Diana Spencer
Nothing beats Lady Diana Spencer’s gown when she married Prince Charles in 1981. Princess Diana’s iconic dress has stood the test of time, still inspiring brides today.
There’s a lot of stress on brides during COVID-19, and being royal likely didn’t help in Princess Beatrice’s case. However, she managed to follow in the footsteps of the stylish royal women before her and stole the show at her small wedding ceremony on Friday. The fact that the dress was borrowed from her grandmother, the Queen, makes it so much more special and reminds us why weddings are so wonderful.