One of the best things about a royal wedding is guessing what the bride’s dress will look like. Which designer will she go for? Will she definitely wear white, and what fun little details will be hidden in the design? But Princess Beatrice took “something borrowed” to heart when it came to her gown. And she involved the Queen in her choice – for a good reason.
Beatrice’s wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi was a long time coming. And even though she’s a royal – with all the perks that entails – she still had to abide by the rules. So, when the big day eventually arrived on July 18, 2020, only a handful of family members were permitted to be there as the princess and her groom made their vows.
To begin with, the wedding was scheduled to take place on May 29 at the Chapel Royal near London’s St James’s Palace. That’s where the Queen tends to visit the most for prayer. But when the world changed, the couple moved the ceremony to Windsor’s Royal Chapel of All Saints – a quaint little church that dates back to the early 19th century.
And the final guest list was a far cry from what had originally been planned. If all had gone well, hundreds would have celebrated Beatrice and Edoardo’s wedding in person. That number was cut down considerably, of course. In fact, less than two dozen guests are said to have been there to witness the marriage. They included the Queen and Prince Philip as well as the bride’s and groom’s parents. The maid of honor was – as you may already have guessed – Beatrice’s sister, Eugenie.
Altogether, the ceremony was pretty low-key – for a princess, anyway. You may not have even been aware that Beatrice got married! Unlike, say, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day, the event wasn’t broadcast on television. Nor were there many photos officially released. That meant there wasn’t much chance for us to scrutinize Beatrice’s gown.
But the world still got to see the wedding dress in all its glory when it was put on show at Windsor Castle. And there was a lovely story attached to it, too. Yes, even though Beatrice’s wedding may not have been exactly as she’d hoped, she still took the time to work a sweet tribute to her grandmother into the ceremony.
You may not know it, but Beatrice seems to truly respect the Queen. In 2017 she told Hello! magazine, “I have two role models: my mother and my grandmother. They are both formidable women. I think having female role models is incredibly important, and I am very lucky that I happen to be related to these two incredible women.”
Does the Queen feel the same about Beatrice? Well, since the monarch doesn’t give interviews to the media, we’re only left to imagine how she interacts with her granddaughter behind closed doors. But when the two have appeared in public together, the signs have been good. That’s what body language guru Susan Constantine claimed, anyway, when she talked to Good Housekeeping in 2018.
And even though the Queen isn’t seen as often with Beatrice as she is with, say, Prince William or Kate Middleton, don’t assume they’re feuding. Chances are it’s because Beatrice isn’t actually a working royal. Yes, even though she and Eugenie both have titles, they also have regular jobs just like us ordinary folk. That means they’re less likely to accompany the Queen on official duties.
This arrangement seems to work out pretty well for everybody – as far as we know. And it may yet change. The rumor is that, in the future, Beatrice and Eugenie could both become working royals in order to fill the gap left by Harry and Meghan. That could bring the sisters even closer to the Queen.
And, yes, Eugenie’s married, too. She wed Jack Brooksbank in 2018, and just like her sister two years later, her dress told a story. The sumptuous gown featured a York rose pattern in a nod to her branch of the royal family. It also had an open back that displayed her scar from scoliosis surgery.
But Eugenie’s tiara was also important. You see, there’s a tradition of the Queen giving royal brides stunning headpieces from her own collection to wear as they walk down the aisle. Take Kate, for instance. She was lent the Cartier Halo Tiara – originally a gift from the Queen’s own mother – to wear at her wedding to William.
Eugenie, on the other hand? She was gifted the eye-catching Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara for her special day. The spectacular headwear originally belonged to an aristocrat named Dame Margaret Greville before passing into the royal family. And, interestingly, Beatrice sported a tiara in a similar style at her wedding a few years later.
The piece Beatrice borrowed may not have been as, well, green as the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik, but it was still pretty special – maybe even more so than the Greville. Why? That’s because the dazzling Queen Mary Fringe tiara was worn by the Queen on the day she became a bride in 1947.
Naturally, the Queen Mary Fringe comes with many memories attached. So, while it may not be the flashiest item in the Queen’s vast collection, it has incredible sentimental value. Mind you, not all of the stories behind it are happy ones. The Queen herself has revealed that a piece of the tiara suddenly snapped mere hours before she was set to marry Prince Philip. And that one misfortune threw the whole palace into a state of pandemonium.
In the end, though, the piece was fixed in double-quick time by a professional jeweler, and everything turned out fine for the Queen on her special day. The only evidence that anything ever went wrong? The tiara appears slightly crooked in photographs of the occasion – but you’d only really notice if you were looking very closely.
Then – and perhaps after a less hurried repair job – the tiara was handed down to Princess Anne to wear when marrying Mark Phillips. After that, the Queen brought the piece out on occasion, but it seemed to stop appearing on the heads of royal brides. Well, until Beatrice, that is!
And it’s quite telling that Beatrice went ahead with the wedding, even after the postponement and having to hugely reduce the guest list. Perhaps she didn’t actually want a massive party – or all of the pomp and circumstance that a royal wedding usually entails.
Maybe the princess was just wanting to start a new life with her beloved as soon as possible. That explains the swift nuptials, at least! Beatrice and Edoardo hadn’t even been engaged for a year at the time of their ceremony. The pair had apparently known each other for a while, though – even before they began dating.
Then, when Beatrice and Edoardo reconnected at Eugenie’s 2018 wedding, love began to blossom. Eugenie naturally congratulated her elder sibling when news of the engagement broke, writing in an Instagram post, “I’m so happy for you, my dearest big sissy and dear Edo. It’s been a long time coming, and you two are meant to be.” Sweet!
Edoardo wasn’t a royal per se, although his family tree does contain members of the Italian aristocracy. His dad, Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, even made a name for himself as an Olympic skier for Britain back in 1972. And there was yet another link between the happy couple before the two wed. Reportedly, Edoardo’s stepfather Christopher Shale had been a good friend of Beatrice’s parents.
Something else of note about Edoardo is that he has a son from another relationship. Little Christopher – also known by the adorable nickname of “Wolfie” – makes Beatrice a stepmom, which is still fairly unusual in royal circles. Prince Charles is the only other close relative of the Queen to be a step-parent, in fact.
Obviously, becoming a stepmom didn’t put Beatrice off marrying Edoardo – and in a gorgeous dress to boot. But the groom himself was pretty dapper on his big day. Edoardo’s since spoken about the suit he wore for the occasion, saying in a 2020 interview with the Financial Times, “For the rest of my life, every time I put [it] on… I’ll feel happy.” Aww.
And Beatrice may feel the exact same way about her dress. For starters – and just like her tiara – it comes with a rich royal history attached. Yes, the gown wasn’t created for her but for her beloved grandmother. The Queen was seen in the taffeta creation at the 1962 London premiere of Lawrence of Arabia, to name just one occasion.
Chances are that no one expected to see the dress again after that – let alone on a royal bride. But Beatrice’s choice turned out to be perfect. The stunning white gown is suitably regal and sparkles thanks to its many exquisite diamanté jewels.
The dress was originally created by Norman Hartnell – the favored designer of the Queen since her days as the heir to the throne. Not only did he help create her wedding gown, but he was also responsible for her coronation outfit. And Hartnell was duly rewarded for his service in 1977. That year, he was handed the title of Knight of the Royal Victorian Order, making him the first person in his field ever to receive the honor. Obviously it pays to know a royal!
You should know, though, that Hartnell’s original dress was slightly altered to look its best on Beatrice. Angela Kelly – the Queen’s own personal designer – teamed up with couturier Stewart Parvin to tweak the skirt and, in a flashy touch, add some billowy organza sleeves.
What else can we tell you about the dress? Well, apparently, Beatrice had originally planned to wear something else entirely! But as an alleged insider explained to People in July 2020, she instead “made a request [to borrow a dress from the Queen]” not long before the big day. “It was touching for both of them,” the source added.
That same individual also spoke about the devoted relationship between Beatrice and the Queen. According to the source, the pair “are exceptionally close… [with] a strong bond.” In their eyes, then, “[Beatrice’s] dress and tiara could not have been more perfect” as a tribute.
Beatrice also appears to have rearranged her wedding based on whether or not her grandmother was available. That’s according to another <People source, who claimed that the whole shebang had been “planned around the Queen’s schedule.” Even then, the monarch is said to have left early.
We bet, though, that Beatrice was just happy to have her grandma in attendance for a little while. She may also have been pleased by the reception her wedding outfit received in the media. The princess received praise for being eco-conscious and reusing an old gown. Her satin Valentino heels were ones she’d had for years, too.
And David Emanuel – who was partly responsible for Princess Diana’s wedding dress – thought that Beatrice’s choices could help start a sustainable fashion trend. Speaking to Hello! in July 2020, he said, “Beatrice’s dress was very simple and natural – especially when you’ve seen the formality of royal brides through the ages.”
The designer went on, “[The dress] just had a little puff sleeve [and] a panel at the bottom to update it. It was very clever, and it should inspire a lot of brides. Ask your relatives if they have a wedding dress that you can update without breaking the bank, or have a look in charity shops for a vintage piece.”
Vogue approved, too. The magazine’s Alice Newbold wrote, “As the fashion industry advances towards an environmentally conscious future, it is refreshing to see younger members of the royal family using their platform to promote sustainable dressing – even for life’s biggest celebrations.” According to the fashion bible, Beatrice’s engagement ring also contained ethically sourced jewels.
But while royal family watchers can only sigh over that ring in pictures, they were handed the opportunity to see the dress itself up close. Yes, the recycled gown went on show after the wedding – as has become tradition. And Caroline de Guitaut, the curator of the Windsor Castle exhibition, has seemingly been keen to stress the outfit’s green credentials.
Guitaut said in a September 2020 interview with Town & Country, “I think the key message, as it were, is very much around this idea of recycling and the idea of having a vintage dress. [This] was then adapted for Her Royal Highness to the kind of shape and silhouette that she very much wanted. I think the whole idea of that is such an echo of what we are feeling across the country at the moment.”
And although Beatrice’s Valentino shoes also featured in the display, the gown was the main attraction. Guitaut went on, “The adaptations [to the dress] have been made in a really subtle, really beautiful way. They are all completely reversible. So, the changes that have been made can be very easily undone. The dress, if desired, could be put back to its original form.” That has to be good news for the Queen!
Beatrice herself has since spoken up about the dress, retweeting news of the wedding exhibit in October 2020. Charmingly, she also paid tribute to the Queen by writing, “It was an honor to wear my grandmother’s beautiful dress on my wedding day, [and] I hope many of you are able to visit the exhibition.”
That same day, the princess spoke directly to her fans, writing on Twitter, “Thank you to everyone who has sent in and tweeted their best wishes for our special day in July. Edo and I are so excited to embark on this new chapter together.” And while she doesn’t speak much about her personal life – on social media or otherwise – we do know a little about how the newlywed is parenting her stepson.
In a March 2021 article for the U.K.’s Evening Standard, Beatrice revealed that she considered being a step-parent a “great honor.” Just like many kids across the country, Wolfie was having to learn at home, and the princess claimed that she was having a “remarkable time” reading him her beloved childhood classics. If she ever runs out of tales, though, perhaps she can tell the story of the touching hand-me-down dress?