Princess Beatrice’s wedding dress will be on public display at Windsor Castle from Thursday, 24 September, to Sunday, 22 November 2020.

Photo: Benjamin Wheeler

Queen Elizabeth loaned the dress to her granddaughter Princess Beatrice on her wedding to Mr Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on Friday, 17 July 2020. 

Renowned British fashion designer Sir Norman Hartnell had designed the dress for Queen Elizabeth to wear during the 1960s.

Personal Advisor, Dresser and Curator to The Queen Angela Kelly and British fashion designer Stewart Parvin altered the dress for Princess Beatrice, to give a more contemporary, simplified shape, and the underskirt and petticoats were recreated and bound with silk tulle. 

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They added short sleeves of triple organza to the straps and embroidered with vintage diamantés to match the original Hartnell embroidery design. 

All the alterations can be reversed if needed.

The dress is made of ivory peau de soie taffeta, the skirt trimmed with a band of ivory duchesse satin, with geometric hand embroidery in crystals and diamantés over the bodice, waist and hips.

It was said to be an example of Hartnell’s signature crinoline silhouette and his love of embellishments.

Princess Beatrice’s wedding shoes, made by Valentino, will also feature in the display at Windsor Castle. 

She had worn these shoes on previous occasions including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011.

Visitors to Windsor Castle will see a replica of Princess Beatrice’s bouquet made from artificial flowers. Patrice Van Helden, co-owner of RVH Floral Design, designed the bouquet which contained trailing jasmine, pale pink and cream sweet peas, Royal Porcelina spray roses, pink O’Hara roses, pink ‘wax flower’ (Chamelaucium uncinatum) and baby pink astilbe, as well as sprigs of myrtle in keeping with royal tradition.

Windsor Castle. Photo: © Carolyn M Cash

Something Borrowed …

Queen Elizabeth first wore the taffeta gown for a State dinner at the British Embassy in Rome during a State Visit in 1961. 

Her Majesty wore it again to the London premiere of the film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, and again for the State Opening of Parliament in 1966. 

The dress design was an example of The Queen’s predominant style of State evening wear during the 1960s – a full-skirted silhouette, often executed in shades of ivory to provide a perfect foil for rich embroideries and the brightly coloured broad ribands of orders of insignia.

Sir Norman Hartnell

Norman Hartnell was born on 12 June 1901 in Streatham in southwest London and attended Mill Hill School, before studying Modern Languages at Magdalene College at Cambridge University.

He became involved in the university’s Footlights Dramatic Club with performing and designing productions before the London press noticed his talents.

Norman eventually opened his own business at 10 Bruton Street, Mayfair with financial help from his father and his sister Phyllis, his first business colleague.

At first he focused on providing original dresses for society ladies and their debutante daughters for a busy social life during the London Season.

He even dressed famous actresses such as Gladys Cooper, Merle Oberon, Gertrude Lawrence, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich and Jessie Matthews.

Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott commissioned Norman to design her wedding gown for her wedding to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester on 6 November 1935, and eight dresses for bridesmaids, including Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

He first became couturier to Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI, in 1937, when she ordered dresses for her maids of honour to wear at the Coronation.

Norman created her daughter, Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress, the going away outfit and her trousseau for her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947.

He was also asked to design Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation gown, with the national flowers of Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries, as well as the dresses for the six Maids of Honour.

Queen Elizabeth awarded Norman Hartnell a Royal Warrant in 1957 and designed many outfits worn for State events, tours and family occasions during the first half of her reign.

The Queen knighted Norman Hartnell in 1977 and he continued to work for the Royal Family until his death in 1979.

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