The Duke of Sussex, the title bestowed to Prince Harry today, and Mrs. Meghan Markle married this morning and what a beautiful wedding it was! Before reviewing the royal hats worn today at St. George’s chapel, we first turn our attention to the bride, the groom and their very sweet wedding party.
After months of speculation and rumours of a spectacle dress of beaded splendor, the bride emerged from a vintage Rolls Royce in a surprise- an exceptionally streamlined gown by British designer Clare Waight Keller, who last year became the first female Artistic Director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy. Waight Keller realized Meghan’s vision of timeless purity with an exceptionally tailored gown in pure white double bonded silk cady. The design features an open bateau neckline and sculpted bodice with three-quarter length sleeves. Six vertical seams create a beautiful line to the gown, which, from the skirt, extends into a gentle trumpet. The back of the dress flows to a modest train in rounded folds supported by a triple silk organza underskirt.
The star of the ensemble is the five-metre long silk tulle veil. Following Prince Harry’s appointment as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, Meghan requested that a Commonwealth reference be incorporated in the design. Clare Waight Keller undertook significant research to identify a unique flower from each of the 53 Commonwealth countries and these flowers, along with Wintersweet from Kensington Palace and California Poppy from Meghan’s home state, are hand embroidered into the silk tulle to create a uniquely personal scalloped edge. Symmetrical wheat sheaves at the front of the veil, blended into the flowers, frame Meghan’s face and symbolize love and charity. Hundreds of hours went into the painstaking hand embroidery of the veil (those working on it washed their hands every 30 minutes to keep it pristine) and the result is truly exquisite.
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Meghan’s anchored her veil with another surprise. Queen Elizabeth loaned Meghan her own grandmother’s diamond and platinum bandeau tiara which has not been seen in public since the latter years of Queen Mary’s life. An piece of English origin, the diamond and platinum design was made in 1932 for Queen Mary and consists of what Kensington Palace describes as “a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds”. The tiara’s central, detachable brooch with 10 brilliant diamonds dates from 1893.
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The scale and shape is wonderful on Meghan and contrasted so beautifully against her classically elegant gown. Her other jewelry included small Cartier diamond stud earrings and a delicate bracelet.
Meghan’s hand tied bouquet of sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia, and sprigs of myrtle also included Princess Diana’s favourite flower, forget-me-nots, as a touching memorial. Kensington Palace further reported, “Prince Harry handpicked several flowers yesterday from their private garden at Kensington Palace to add to the bespoke bridal bouquet designed by florist Philippa Craddock.” So romantic!
The Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge both wore the black frockcoat uniform, complete with cap, of their former regiment, the Blues and Royals.
Clare Waight Keller designed the six young bridesmaids’ dresses in ivory silk Radzimir. The dresses feature a high waist, short puff sleeves, pleated skirts with pockets and a double silk ribbon detail tied at the back in a bow. Florist Philippa Craddock made their headdresses and posies from same varieties flowers as Meghan’s bouquet. The four pages wore a miniature, single breasted version of the Blues and Royals frockcoat uniform worn by Harry and William, also made by Dege & Skinner in Savile Row. The jackets feature a stand-up collar and the figured braiding of Regimental pattern while the trousers have three-quarter scarlet stripes and leather leg straps.
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It’s been a week since the wedding and looking back over all the photos and comments – it struck me that I haven’t seen any mention of Prince Harry in his black velvet dinner jacket !! I thought he looked terrific and very handsome … I don’t think that I’ve ever seen any of the Royal in velvet before – maybe he’ll start taking after his father in the natty dressing dept 😊
I am OBSESSED with the veil. That sold me IMMEDIATELY on the dress and the tiara and it sounds like it did Meghan too. The dress is OK. I thought it had a waist and I’m really disappointed now to see it’s just a crease at the waist because I think it would have been better with a waist. I also don’t like that you can see smack dab in the middle of that tiara where the brooch part can pop out (pretty ugly brooch on it’s own it looks like) but THE VEIL makes all these things go away. It’s like a magical veil of perfection. And those twins carrying it were super awesome.
Finally getting here to comment! I thought Meghan’s dress was too simple but all I’ve read here about the tiara and veil now makes me think it was perfect for her! The bridesmaids and pages are so sweet.
This was just perfect from beginning to end. The veil, the dress, the tiara, all they symbolism coupled with what we know of the Duchess’s style make this really perfect. Wonderful.
The simple lines of Meghan’s elegant dress let the tiara and veil be the stars of the show! I, too would like a closer look at all the flowers embroidered on the veil. What a work of art! What a way to endear herself to the entire British Commonwealth! The bridesmaids floral crowns were adorable! I would have liked it if their dresses were an inch or two shorter. They looked a little long for their ages. On another blog I read that Meghan had the initials of each bridesmaid and the wedding date monogrammed on their shoes. How sweet! Also, the Page Boys had their names embroidered on their shoulders. Great keepsake for them! I bet George loved being in a smaller version of his daddy’s outfit!
I’ve posted a just-released closeup of the veil embroidery and here is the original sketch of the dress and veil.
Meghan’s dress for the evening reception is a sleeveless halter by Stella McCartney
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The dress was a little simpler than I would prefer, but Meghan still looked so elegant. The tiara (a rare one too!) was a great surprise and choice for the occasion. My favorite part was the incorporation of all the Commonwealth nations into the veil.
I LOVED the dress! It’s a construction masterpiece and I thought it was wonderfully elegant. Meghan has shown her style to be quite understated and I loved that she didn’t compromise this for her wedding dress. It feels authentic to me. And wow- what an perfect dress to show off the tiara and the veil, which both make such amazing statements.
Breathtaking is the word. Meghan looked magnificent, nothing “meringue” about this dress, and the veil and tiara were just beautiful. The flower decorations round the door of the chapel, the sermon, the choice of music, it was really something quite special, this wedding and it had a very personal, almost intimate feeling about it that I found very moving.
May Harry and Meghan be very happy together.
Well said, Wies. I couldn’t agree more.
I loved this dress with its simplicity. The flowing, long veil was beautiful and the tiara was stunning! The flowers in the hair of the bridesmaids was so sweet. Harry, William and the page boys looked great. This has become one of my favorite weddings. Beautiful weather as well!!
I’m a fan of wedding gowns with beautiful lines and minimal embellishment, so I thought it was gorgeous. Excellent balance of ornate tiara with simple dress! I’d love to see detail of the embroidery of the veil.
FINALLY! A photo of a sample of the veil embroidery was just released- it’s posted above.
I have to say I was most impressed by the young train wranglers! Good work!
Since we are meant to comment on head pieces here, I want to say that the veil was a triumph! The thoughtful embroidery made it even more memorable. As a Canadian I am anxious to see which flower was ours!
Hi Glitter Girl, from a fellow Canadian, it was the Bunchberry. Apparently, it’s our national flower (I had no idea). 🙂
You can see a list of ALL the flowers and the countries they correspond to here, in the press release from Kensington Palace. It’s quite amazing
Thank you for this very interesting article HatQueen!
You’re most welcome. Here is an interview today with the designer, Clare Waight Keller.
Brilliant coverage and brilliant wedding … look forward to the rest. Was also lovely to see the Duchess of Kent, Duchess of York, and also Louise in her first (?) hat. Did anyone see if Camillas children (Harry’s step siblings were there?) I know this is a royal blog but with the lack of foreign royals
In attendance could we please get a review of some of the hats of the great and famous (Middletons, Fellowes, sports stars, celebrities). For people who rarely wear hats there were some (literal) toppers
I did see a photo of Tom Parker Bowles and his wife!
It was fabulous! The love shown between the two was breathtaking. The groom was handsome, the bride was exquisitely beautiful, and Meagan’s mother, Doria, was so proud, so emotional, and looked stunning. May this couple enjoy many, many years of love and happiness.
This was a gorgeous wedding … just gorgeous !! and Meghan walking down the aisle on her own – in the sunlight – shades of Julie Andrews there … just lovely ! Harry a d William looked superb in their frockcoats and I thought it was a very cool idea for the pageboys to be the same … I’m so glad it turned out the way it did -terrific music, good sermon , wonderful rapport with Doria loved her outfit her hat was very chic I thought ! Can’t wait to see the rest of the hats !
Nothing could have been sweeter than the sight of the bridesmaids and pages following the bride like a little flock of cygnets following a swan. A very beautiful occasion, and obviously nothing the bride and groom could do to make it so was spared. May they find happiness together for years to come.
I just loved it. So simple and pretty and that long veil was breathtaking. The tiara is a piece of Art Deco beauty. She just knocked it out of the park. One of my favourite royal wedding looks in years.