Fashion

Preloved fashion: Princess Beatrice’s wedding dress was a vintage piece once worn by the Queen

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Anna Brech
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Why buy a new wedding dress when you can get one on loan from granny? Princess Beatrice made the case for sustainability this weekend as she recycled a taffeta gown worn by the Queen in the 1960s.

Fashion never looks so good as when it’s preloved and reused: a principle Princess Beatrice stood by this weekend as she married her property developer partner Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a socially distanced ceremony in Windsor.

Only a handful of close family and friends attended the royal wedding on Friday, in keeping with post-lockdown guidelines that allow a limit of 30 guests per event.

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Beatrice, the ninth in line to the British throne, wore a vintage dress on loan from her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, for her big day. The gown was made by Norman Hartnell, the same designer who created the Queen’s own wedding dress when she married Prince Philip in 1947.

The ivory taffeta design is at least sixty years old, and features duchess-trimmed satin with hand-sewn diamanté embellishments.

Princess Beatrice with her new husband, wearing a repurposed dress owned by the Queen

The Queen was pictured in the same dress on several occasions in the 1960s, including a state visit to Italy and the film premiere for 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia

Since then, she’s evidently kept it safe to pass down to her family. In true sustainable style, two of the monarch’s dressmakers repurposed the dress to make it unique for Princess Beatrice, adding organza sleeves to the elegantly-fitted bodice. 

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Princess Beatrice’s look was completed by a Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara, which has also been passed down through generations. 

As well as wearing it for her wedding day in a post-war era, the Queen gave the tiara to her daughter Princess Anne (Princess Beatrice’s aunt) to wear for her 1973 wedding ceremony.

The Queen is understood to be very close to Beatrice, one of her eight grandchildren, and loaning a dress and tiara for her wedding day is a reflection of the relationship they share. 

The Queen pictured in the same Norman Hartnell dress at a film premiere in 1962

Princess Beatrice and Mapelli Mozzi were married in a  small private ceremony at Royal Lodge, Windsor, attended by guests led by senior members of the royal family. 

The couple released a number of photos from the day, including them posing outside a chapel adorned with pale pink roses, and one of them with the Queen and Prince Philip.

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Beatrice’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, also attended the wedding and Prince Andrew performed the tradition of walking his daughter down the aisle.

He did not appear in photos released by the couple, however, amid scrutiny over his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein who has just been arrested on sex trafficking charges (charges she denies). 

The newlyweds pose with the Queen and Prince Philip

Princess Beatrice’s wedding was originally due to take place on 29 May, with over 150 guests in attendance. However, the outbreak of coronavirus meant the couple had to opt for a far smaller wedding. 

Hymns were not sung during the ceremony although music was played. It’s thought that this is the first time the Queen, as guest of honour, has attended a family event since lockdown began in March.

In a statement from Buckingham Palace, the newlyweds said they had “been touched by the warm wishes they have received since their wedding”.

Images: Benjamin Wheeler, Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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