Princess Beatrice’s Vintage Wedding Dress Is Now On Display At Windsor Castle

Like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle before her, Beatrice was able to see her dress again before the exhibition is open to the public.

princess beatrice wedding dress

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

Most wedding dresses gather dust after the big day, but what about royal wedding dresses? Are they tucked away in layers of tissue paper? Or does an altogether more exciting fate await them? Well, it depends. Many wedding dresses have been displayed at royal residences in the past, includingKate Middleton's Alexander McQueen dress, designed by Sarah Burton and Meghan Markle's Givenchy dress, created by Clare Waight-Keller. Now, Princess Beatrice's wedding dress has gone on display at Windsor Castle, in an exhibition open to the public from 24 September.

Forced to cancel her wedding due to coronavirus, the young royal married Edo Mapelli Mozzi in an intimate ceremony on 17 July this year. And she borrowed one of her grandmother’s Norman Hartnell gowns for the occasion, adding a romantic set of organza sleeves.

Princess Beatrice (R) with Caroline de Guitut at Windsor Castle
Princess Beatrice (R) with Caroline de Guitut (L) at Windsor Castle ©Getti Images

Today, Beatrice joined Caroline de Guitut, the Royal Collection Trust Curator, at Windsor Castle to see her wedding dress on display before it is open to the public from tomorrow.

princess beatrice wedding dress sleeves
A close-up look of the organza sleeves which were added to the dress ©Getty Images

The royal residences, including Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse have only recently reopened, as has Buckingham Palace. The latter is now open to the public again but with certain safety measures in place due to the ongoing pandemic.

Kate Middleton wedding dress
The Queen and Kate Middleton at Buckingham Palace in 2011 ©Getty

Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, a long-sleeved lace gown by Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton, was exhibited at Buckingham Palace in 2011. Meghan Markle’s, by Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller, was also available for public viewing, this time at both Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2018. Princess Eugenie’s dress, along with husband Jack Brooksbank’s morning suit, went on display in Windsor Castle’s Grand Reception Room in 2019.

SEE: The Best Royal Wedding Dresses Throughout History

Gallery

Royal wedding dresses through history - Grazia

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Queen Victoria, 1840

Queen Victoria is one of just two British Queens to have married while reigning (the other is Queen Mary). For her wedding to Prince Albert at St James' Palace, the young Queen chose a simple off-the-shoulder style in white satin, with a flounce of Honiton lace at the neckline. Instead of a coronet, she wore a simple orange blossom garland.

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Victoria, Princess Royal, 1858

Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria, wed Prince Frederick William of Prussia, in January 1858 wearing a rich white moire antique decorated with three flounces of Honiton lace designed to resemble bouquets of rose, shamrock and thistle in three medallions. Each flounce of the dress had a wreath of orange and myrtle blossoms, which were the bridal flower of Germany.

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Princess Beatrice, 1885

For her wedding to Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885, Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, wore a fashionable white satin dress, trimmed with lace (which the Princess is said to have loved) and orange blossom. She was the only of Victoria's daughters to wear her mother's veil down the aisle, too.

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Princess Mary of Teck, Queen consort, 1893

The future Queen Mary's wedding dress was designed by Arthur Silver of the Silver Studio, whose designs epitomised the Art Nouveau look. Her classic gown was embroidered with roses, shamrocks and thistles, with the choice of orange blossom for the trim echoed in small wreaths adorning her neckline and her hair. Her 'something old' was a small piece of Honiton lace from her mother's own wedding gown, with diamond jewellery from future mother-in-law Queen Victoria ticking off 'something borrowed.'

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Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother, 1923

The future Queen Mother's wedding dress was quintessentially 1920s in style, with a simple drop waist. Designed by Madame Handley-Seymour, the dressmaker to Queen Mary, it was made of ivory silk crepe and embroidered with pearls. Her Flanders lace veil was held in place by a wreath of orange blossom and white roses, the latter a nod to the her future title of Duchess of York.

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Queen Elizabeth II, 1947

Court couturier Norman Hartnell described the wedding gown of the then-Princess Elizabeth as 'the most beautiful dress I had so far made.' Patterned with stars and floral embellishments, the dress – and its 13 foot train – was said to be inspired by Botticelli's Primavera, and to symbolise the nation's rebirth following the war. As clothing rationing was still in place (even for a Princess), Elizabeth had to purchase the fabric with ration coupons (though she was inundated with coupons from young women across the country, she had to return them to their owners).

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Princess Margaret, 1960

When Princess Margaret married photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, she opted for a design by royal couturier Norman Hartnell. Comprising 30 metres of silk organza, the dress's simple shape and clean lines were designed to flatter the Princess's petite frame.

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Princess Anne, 1973

Ahead of her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Anne seemed to take sartorial inspiration from times past, specifically the court of Queen Elizabeth I: her wedding gown, designed by Maureen Baker for Susan Small, featured a Tudor-style high neck and sweeping, almost medieval sleeves.

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Diana, Princess of Wales, 1981

Lady Diana Spencer's now-iconic 1981 wedding dress set bridal trends for years to come, with its puffed sleeves, 25-foot train and full skirt. Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the ivory silk taffeta gown was embellished with tiny sequins and pearls in a heart motif.

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Sarah, Duchess of York, 1986

Lindka Cierach designed this quintessentially '80s wedding dress for Sarah Ferguson's wedding to Prince Andrew. Made from ivory duchesse satin, it boasted a 17 foot long train embroidered with bees and thistles (a nod to her family's crest) and anchors and waves (symbolizing Prince Andrew's naval career). The York Diamond tiara which Fergie wore on the day was commissioned especially for her by her mother-in-law, the Queen.

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 1999

Samantha Shaw was tasked with designing and making a dress for the wedding of Sophie Rhys-Jones (now the Countess of Wessex) to the Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward. The long-sleeved style was embellished with 325,000 cut glass and pearl beads.

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 2005

Camilla's embroidered coat in pale blue and gold and matching chiffon gown were designed by Robinson Valentine for her wedding to the Prince of Wales at St George's Chapel, Windsor. Her statement headpiece – which featured Swarowski diamonds – was the handiwork of the royal family's favourite milliner, Philip Treacy.

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Autumn Phillips, 2008

Canadian-born Autumn Kelly opted for a classic gown by British designer Sassi Holford, which featured a bodice fashioned from hand-beaded lace and a silk duchesse skirt, worn with a beaded shrug. The Festoon tiara which the bride wore on the day was borrowed from the collection of her mother-in-law, Princess Anne.

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Zara Tindall, 2011

Zara Phillips wore a simple, classic gown with a full skirt and corseted bodice by Stewart Parvin, one of her grandmother the Queen's favourite couturiers, when she married rugby player Mike Tindall at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh. The diamond tiara was the bride's 'something borrowed,' a loan from her mother Princess Anne.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, 2011

Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen landed the biggest fashion gig of the century so far when she was chosen by Kate Middleton to design a dress for her Westminster Abbey wedding to Prince William. The gown itself was made from ivory satin with long lace sleeves and floral motifs which were cut from machine-made lace then appliqued onto silk net by workers at the Royal School of Needlework.

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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, 2018

We all know that Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller designed Meghan Markle's wedding dress, but there's a fun fact about the detailing. The flowers embroidered into the veil represent the 53 nations of the Commonwealth, a nod to Prince Harry's role as Youth Ambassador.

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Princess Eugenie of York, 2018

Princess Eugenie had a very particular request when it came to her wedding dress, which designer Peter Pilotto accommodated. He designed her dress with a low-back as to reveal the scars from her scoliosis surgery.

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Lady Gabriella Windsor, 2019

Lady Gabriella Windsor walked down the aisle in a Luisa Beccaria gown, which as made "entirely in Valencienne écru lace layered with ribbons of flowers and buds" says the designer.

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