The Meaning Behind The ‘Mourning Veils’ At The Queen’s Funeral

Custom dictates that the ladies must wear black knee-length dresses or coats, black hats and may also wear face-covering veils.

Meghan Markle Camilla Catherine Queen's funeral

by Jane Mcfarland |
Published on

Mourning veils date back hundreds of years, serving both an aesthetic purpose as well as a practical one, used to grant privacy during a period of mourning. It was the prominent headwear of choice for today’s funeral, with both female members of the Royal Family and various global attendees opting for the traditional mourning veil.

Carrie Johnson Queen's funeral

Mourning veils were popular during Queen Victoria’s reign. After her husband Prince Albert passed in 1861, she famously chose to wear a mourning veil and some form of mourning dress up until her death in 1901. Traditionally mourning veils were much thicker and longer than they are today, and often covered both the front and back of the head.

Samantha Cameron Queen's funeral

It is expected Philip Treacy, milliner to the Royal Family, Madonna as well as fashion houses such as Chanel and Valentino, will have outfitted many of the guests today. In particular, the Queen Consort regularly wears headpieces by the Irish-born, London-based Treacy.  With over 2000 guests expected at today’s Royal funeral, according to reports by the Daily Mail, demand for black ‘pill box’ hats has soared. It is a style that proved popular with today’s political guests, including Brigitte Macron and Samantha Cameron who both opted for a black, small pillbox-style with attached veil. Carrie Johnson wore a thick black head-band, with a small veil that that partially covered the face.

Brigitte Macron Queen's funeral

As per protocol, not everyone followed suit: Sophie Wessex and Meghan Markle both wore large, black hats, without veils, as did Princess Charlotte, who wore a small, boater hat. She is also wearing a fitted coat, with pleated skirt, similar to the fit and flare dress coat worn by her mother, the Princess of Wales.

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