All About Princess Beatrice's Wedding Dress Loaned By The Queen

Queen Elizabeth originally wore the Peau De Soie taffeta dress to a 1962 movie premiere.
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
by Joyce Chen
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
Joyce Chen
Wedding News Contributor
  • Joyce writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in celebrity wedding features and pieces on wedding trends and etiquette
  • Joyce conducts interviews with real couples about how they’ve adapted to the challenges of wedding planning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • In addition to The Knot Worldwide, Joyce also regularly contributes writing to Architectural Digest, Paste magazine, Refinery29, and TODAY.com
Updated Oct 07, 2021

Many things about Princess Beatrice's wedding to her beau, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, were unconventional. Her stunning vintage wedding gown, though, was a sweet nod to the royal family legacy. The couple first scaled down their May 2020 nuptials (scrapping the original Buckingham Palace reception) and then had to cancel their ceremony altogether due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But Beatrice and Mozzi were not deterred, and managed to find a meaningful way to celebrate their love: with an intimate summer wedding at The Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor, held on July 17, 2020.

There, Princess Beatrice turned heads in a vintage Norman Hartnell gown previously belonging to her grandmother, the Queen, and rang in her big day in good company: with her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York; her sister, Princess Eugenie; Mozzi's parents, Nikki Shales and Count Mapelli Mozzi; and her grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. And though the wedding may not have looked exactly as Princess Beatrice envisioned, it was one for royal wedding history.

Who Designed Princess Beatrice's Wedding Dress?

Somewhat bucking tradition, Princess Beatrice opted not to have a custom wedding gown, as many royal brides have done in recent years. (For instance, Kate Middleton's Alexander McQueen gown, Meghan Markle's Givenchy dress, and Princess Eugenie's Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos designs.)

Instead, the philanthropist wore a vintage Norman Hartnell gown she borrowed from the Queen, slightly altered to fit her frame. Hartnell was a famous 20th-century British designer who often worked with the Windsors, and who actually designed both Queen Elizabeth's coronation gown and the iconic dress she wore on her own wedding day in 1947. Princess Beatrice's wedding gown was a design the Queen had previously worn to the premiere of Lawrence of Arabia in December 1962. Her Majesty the Queen's personal dresser, Angela Kelly, worked with designer Stewart Parvin to help refit the gown for Princess Beatrice's figure.

The Style, Shape and More

Princess Beatrice's royal wedding dress was as elegant as it was unique. Hartnell integrated several materials and textures to create a design that truly stood the test of time. They included ivory Peau De Soie taffeta for the body of the dress with ivory Duchess satin trim and a diamanté and crystal-encrusted bodice. Official wedding photographs by Benjamin Wheeler revealed the dress had a more conservative, angular neckline, while a hem gave just a tiny peek of Princess Beatrice's Valentino wedding shoes.

According to the Royal Collection Trust, Kelly and Parvin tweaked the Queen's original full-skirted silhouette slightly for a softer, more modern look, and added triple organza sleeves for a subtle, personalized touch. Of note: any alterations that the designers made are fully reversible.

Accessories from Princess Beatrice's Wedding Day Look

Princess Beatrice fully embraced the vintage vibes of her wedding gown with the addition of a key accessory: Queen Elizabeth's tiara, which the Queen wore on her own wedding day. Known as the Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara, the sparkler was originally made for Queen Mary by jewelers Garrard and Co. back in 1919, using diamonds from a necklace given to her by her mother, Queen Victoria.

Princess Beatrice otherwise kept her accessories to a minimum to let the vintage gown take center stage, with the exception, of course, of her wedding ring. According to Hello! magazine, Beatrice's ring was designed Shaun Lane, and Edoardo's ring was a vintage gold band designed by Josh Collins.

Surprising Facts About Princess Beatrice's Wedding Dress

Princess Beatrice's decision to borrow her grandmother's heavily embroidered Norman Hartnell gown created a big buzz among fans of the royal family and among the press. For one, the royal family had largely kept the wedding itself under wraps, quite a contrast from her cousins Prince Harry and Prince William's high profile weddings. For another, her look was a uniquely classic throwback that set her gown apart from some of the sleeker, more modern gowns of her peers.

She made royal history with a secondhand dress.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Princess Beatrice's decision to borrow Queen Elizabeth's vintage gown was a historic one: she was the first royal bride to ever wear a secondhand dress for her big day. Princess Diana's own wedding gown designer, David Emanuel, told Hello! magazine, that Beatrice's choice could potentially start a trend of second-use wedding dresses. "Beatrice's dress was very simple and natural, especially when you've see the formality of royal brides through the ages," he said. "I thought it was lovely."

She only made tiny updates to the Queen's original dress.

Princess Beatrice didn't opt to change much about her grandmother's dress. The two main changes were sewing on the organza sleeves and adding ivory Duchess satin panel to the bottom of the dress to update it a bit. Beatrice called it an honor to wear Queen Elizabeth's gown on Twitter several months after the wedding, when the dress had gone on display at Windsor Castle.

She knew right away that the Norman Hartnell design was the one.

According to Caroline de Guitaut, curator of the display at Windsor Castle, Beatrice knew Queen Elizabeth's dress was "the one" the moment she laid eyes on it. "She said that it just stood out to her when she saw it, that's how she described it to me—it was the one that she thought would suit the occasion," de Guitaut told People. "I think the end result was so successful from a design perspective but also it really struck a chord in a way that other dresses maybe haven't because of the circumstances."

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