A special exhibition dedicated to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding last year is to go on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Opening tomorrow (Friday, 14 June), a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse will include the special exhibition A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a display of Their Royal Highnesses’ wedding outfits, and the page and bridesmaid outfits of His Royal Highness Prince George and Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte.
In a recording made for visitors to the exhibition, The Duke and Duchess (known as the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton in Scotland) discuss their plans for the wedding, including the choice of outfits, music and flowers.
The Duchess siad: ‘A great level of detail went into the planning of our wedding day. We knew how large the scale of the event would be, so in making choices that were really personal and meaningful, it could make the whole experience feel intimate.’
The Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress with a boat-neckline bodice was created by the British designer Clare Waight Keller, Artistic Director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy. It is made from an exclusive double-bonded silk cady, and its graceful lines were achieved using six meticulously placed seams. The seams extend towards the back of the dress, from where the train flows in soft round folds, cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza.
The Duchess’s five-metre-long veil is made from silk tulle and embroidered with the flora of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, including a thistle to represent Scotland, a reference to an important part of The Duke and Duchess’s official work following His Royal Highness’s appointment as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
The Duchess added two of her favourite flowers to the embroidered decoration: Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), the State flower of The Duchess’s place of birth, California.
Embroidered ears of wheat, symbolising love and charity, are symmetrically placed at the front of the veil, which is edged with embroidered organza flowers. It took the team of embroiderers hundreds of hours to create the design, washing their hands every 20 minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine.
The bride’s veil was held in place by a diamond and platinum bandeau tiara, lent to Her Royal Highness by Her Majesty The Queen. On public display for the first time, the tiara is formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds in a geometric design. At the centre is a detachable brooch of ten brilliant diamonds. Both the bandeau and brooch were bequeathed to Her Majesty by her grandmother Queen Mary in 1953.
A replica of The Duchess of Sussex’s bridal bouquet made from artificial flowers has been created for the exhibition. The bouquet was designed by florist Philippa Craddock and included sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia, sprigs of myrtle and forget-me-nots, the favourite flower of Diana, Princess of Wales. The myrtle sprigs came from a shrub at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, grown from a cutting brought from Germany by Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. Sprigs from the bush have been included in the bouquets of all royal brides since the 1850s.
The Duke of Sussex’s wedding outfit was the frockcoat uniform of the Household Cavalry (the Blues and Royals), specially commissioned for the occasion and made by tailors at Dege & Skinner on Savile Row. The uniform’s single-breasted blue doeskin jacket has figured braiding of Regimental pattern on the stand-up collar and sleeves. It is ranked to Major with large gold embroidered crowns on the epaulettes. The trousers, officially called ‘overalls’, are made from a blue and black barathea, a fine woollen cloth, and are fastened by a leather strap and buckle underneath the boot. His Royal Highness has loaned an identical uniform to the exhibition.
In the recording for visitors, the Duke added: ‘I chose the frock coat as a uniform, with permission from my Grandmother, because I think it’s one of the smartest Household Cavalry uniforms. It’s one of my favourites, and I was very fortunate to be able to wear that on the day.’
As one of four pages, Prince George wore a miniature version of the Blues and Royals frockcoat by Dege & Skinner, with His Royal Highness’s initials embroidered in gold thread on the shoulder straps.
Princess Charlotte, one of six bridesmaids, wore a high-waisted ivory silk dress designed by Clare Waight Keller. It has short puff sleeves and a double silk ribbon at the waist, tied in a bow at the back. Princess Charlotte’s white leather shoes were made by Aquazurra and embroidered with her initials and the wedding date.
A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex is part of a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse from 14 June to 6 October.
To book tickets or for visitor information, visit www.rct.uk