5 Facts About Meghan Markle's Thoughtful Wedding Veil
Meghan Markle's royal wedding to Prince Harry was an event to remember. The Suits actress and activist had royal fans speculating about her wedding day look for months leading up to the nuptials held on May 19, 2018. In the end, she was radiant in a custom Givenchy gown designed by the fashion house's former creative director, Clare Waight Keller. The gown was made of a simple silk crepe with a bateau neckline, structured three-quarter sleeves, and a fitted waistline. The train, comprised of triple silk organza, measured a relatively modest nine feet (by contrast, Princess Diana's 1981 wedding dress featured a whopping 25-foot train). But beyond the uniquely simple, modern cut of her wedding gown, the Duchess also surprised the royal family and royal fans by adding a number of sentimental touches to her wedding day look, including an exquisite silk tulle veil that paid homage to the Commonwealth and all 53 of its countries.
In a statement at the time, Kensington Palace announced, "Ms. Markle expressed the wish of having all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her on her journey through the ceremony. Ms. Waight Keller designed a veil representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition." Meghan secured the veil to her well-coiffed head with the Queen Mary Bandeau Tiara. Below, we've rounded up five reasons why Meghan Markle's veil will forever be remembered as remarkable in its own right.
The custom wedding veil was a surprise for the royal family.
The Duchess of Sussex's dramatic veil took the world by storm, but it also, as it turns out, came as a complete surprise to the royal family as well. In the 2018 documentary Queen of the World, Meghan revealed that Prince Harry was touched by how she chose to incorporate the Commonwealth into their wedding day in such an intimate way. "[Harry was] really over the moon to find out that I would make this choice for our day together," she said. "I think the other members of the family had a similar reaction."
In the documentary, Meghan also shared that she wanted to pay homage to the Commonwealth as a way to acknowledge her new role as a member of the royal family. "[They have an] appreciation for the fact that we understand how important this is for us and the role that we play, and the work that we're going to continue to do within the Commonwealth countries," she remarked.
The details of the veil linked the Duchess directly to Queen Elizabeth II.
Nick Kent, the executive producer of the HBO documentary Queen of the World, told Glamour that Meghan's decision to include flowers from all 53 countries of the Commonwealth was a significant tribute to the Queen herself. "Apart from being something she gave a lot of thought and care to, it shows an appreciation of something not everybody necessarily understands, which is that symbols are really important to monarchy," Kent said. "... That particular symbol of having flowers embroidered into a dress—I don't know if [Meghan] was aware of this—but 65 years earlier the Queen did the same thing on her coronation. She had the eight flowers of the then-eight Commonwealth countries embroidered into her gown. It says something really personal and individual; but also as a symbolic gesture. It was a great tradition of how symbols have a powerful significance in terms of bonding monarchy to people."
Meghan also added a few special flowers into the mix.
The Duchess of Sussex went above and beyond with the details of the veil, which she worked with Clare Waight Keller to design. Among the embroidered flowers was the Wintersweet, a flower that grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy, the state flower of California, Meghan's home state. It reportedly took those who worked on the veil hundreds of hours to hand-sew the flowers onto the silk tulle garment; they had to wash their hands every 30 minutes so as to maintain the integrity of the veil.
The sweetest detail largely went unnoticed on their wedding day.
Meghan made sure to incorporate an extra personal detail into the veil: a piece of blue fabric from the dress she wore on her first date with Prince Harry, which she used as her "something blue." In the HBO documentary Queen of the World, the Duchess got the chance to see her wedding dress for the first time since she exchanged vows with Harry in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Nick Kent, the executive producer, said, "What was really touching was one of the first things she said, and one of the first things she did, was to examine the dress to try and find that little piece of blue fabric which she'd had sewn into the dress from the dress that she'd worn on her first date with Harry—that was a very spontaneous, natural moment."
Her look inspired a trend in understated wedding gowns paired with ornate veils.
Following Meghan and Harry's wedding, there was an uptick in interest in classic dress silhouettes and elaborate veils, both in celebrity weddings and real weddings. Meghan's close friend Priyanka Chopra, for instance, wore a massive 75-foot cathedral-length veil with her custom Ralph Lauren wedding dress. Hailey Bieber rocked a cathedral-length veil by late Off-White designer Virgil Abloh with the words "TILL DEATH DO US PART." Much the same way Kate Middleton's Alexander McQueen gown inspired countless copycats, so did Meghan Markle's veil reignite excitement amongst brides about over-the-top, dramatic veils.