Princess Beatrice's dress, which was first worn by her grandmother Queen Elizabeth in 1961, will be on show starting September 24

By Simon Perry
September 07, 2020 12:12 PM
Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on their wedding day.
Benjamin Wheeler/PA Wire

Royal wedding fans will have the chance to get an up-close look at a doubly special dress later this month.

Princess Beatrice’s hand-me-down wedding gown, which was loaned by her grandmother Queen Elizabeth for her July 17 wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, is going on display at Windsor Castle on September 24, the palace announced on Monday.

Beatrice, 32, asked the Queen, 94, for the Norman Hartnell-designed 1960s-era dress as she rearranged her wedding amid the coronavirus pandemic. The original ceremony had been set for May.

The July service – just yards from Beatrice's family home of Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park – was undertaken in great secrecy and privacy because of the pandemic, and only a small number of guests were in attendance.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on their July 17 wedding day.
Benjamin Wheeler/PA

The dress was a touching gesture from the Queen and served as a very outward symbol of both her love for her granddaughter and the unusual last-minute nature of the event. The bride and groom and their mothers, including Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, only had about two weeks to pull the day together.

Beatrice follows her sister Princess Eugenie, 30, in showing off her gown to the public. Eugenie’s plunging-back wedding dress was displayed at Windsor Castle (as was Meghan Markle’s) about four months after her October 2018 wedding.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
Benjamin Wheeler/PA

Made of ivory peau de soie taffeta, with a skirt trimmed in ivory duchesse satin, Beatrice's dress is said by the Royal Collection to be an example of Hartnell’s "signature crinoline silhouette and love of embellishment, as seen in the geometric hand embroidery in crystals and diamantés over the bodice, waist and hips." It was refashioned for Beatrice by the Queen's personal assistant and dresser, Angela Kelly, and couturier Stewart Parvin.

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The Royal Collection, which is in charge of the exhibit, explains that the full-skirted silhouette was "softened to give a more contemporary, simplified shape, and the underskirt and petticoats were recreated and bound with silk tulle." Short sleeves of triple organza were added to the straps and embroidered with vintage diamantés to match the original Hartnell embroidery design. Each alteration made to the dress is reversible.

Beatrice's Valentino wedding shoes and a replica of her bridal bouquet will also be displayed.

Reverend Anthony Ball and Toby Wright, son of the Reverend Paul Wright, who brought Beatrice's wedding bouquet straight from the wedding in Windsor. Like those of other royal brides, the bouquet was placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.
Yui Mok/PA

The Queen first wore the taffeta gown for a State dinner at the British Embassy in Rome during a State Visit in 1961. Her Majesty wore it again to the London premiere of the film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 and for the State Opening of Parliament in 1966.

Queen Elizabeth during the 1967 State Opening of Parliament wearing the dress that Beatrice would later wear to her own wedding.
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

The wedding display runs from September 24 to November 22, 2020 and tickets must be pre-booked in advance.