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The Deeper Meaning Behind Princess Beatrice’s Gorgeous Wedding Day Tiara
Princess Beatrice, like so many spring 2020 brides, was subject to unfortunate timing: her May 29 wedding in London was postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus epidemic. Buckingham Palace stayed mum on any rescheduling details—would Beatrice and her fiancé, Edoardo “Edo” Mapelli, ever have their reception in its gardens? With so much in flux, it was impossible to know.
The couple didn’t wait to find out. This weekend, they wed in a small ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor. It was a small, socially distant ceremony, where, due to government regulations, not even a hymn was sung. The palace confirmed “close family” was in attendance, which included the bride’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
On Saturday, the royal family released several pictures from the affair, which captured a set of sumptuous details. First, the floral arch which surrounded the chapel door: ivory roses, pink hydrangeas, and assorted greenery from Windsor Great park, all by florist Rob Van Helden. (He also did sister Eugenie’s wedding.) Then, the bride herself, wearing a vintage Norman Hartnell dress made from peau de soie taffeta and adorned with ivory duchesse satin. It was on loan from the Queen herself, who wore the same gown to Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 (it was refitted by the monarch’s dresser, Angela Kelly).
But that wasn’t her only something borrowed. Upon Beatrice’s head was the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara.
In 1919, Queen Mary asked the London jewelers, House of Garrard, to turn a necklace into a tiara. That necklace had a special significance: it had been gifted to Mary by Queen Victoria, who had received it as a wedding gift in 1893. Garrard made a diadem comprised of 47 tapered diamond bars. The design was influenced by a Russian kokoshniks, or, ornate halo-shaped headdresses worn by women of the country’s Imperial court. (Though, true to British sensibility, this one was much simpler than those donned by the recently-overthrown Romanovs).
In 1936, Mary passed it onto to Queen Elizabeth (now referred to as “the Queen Mother”). Eleven years later, the Queen Mother lent it to her daughter, the then-Princess Elizabeth, for a very special occasion: her wedding to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.
It’s then that the tiara had its most famous—and infamous—moment. Before Elizabeth was due to walk down the aisle, it snapped. Luckily, a court jeweler quickly mended the rare piece.
In 1973, the Queen Mother loaned the tiara for another royal wedding—that of her granddaughter Princess Anne. An estimated 500 million people watched the Westminster Abbey ceremony to Mark Phillips. Now, just like her mother before her, Queen Elizabeth extended the same offer to her own granddaughter, Princess Beatrice. Now, an emotional connection to five Windsor women lives on.
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