Something Borrowed; A Royal Step Towards Sustainability

Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on the 17th July, wearing a gown she had borrowed from the Queen. The couple had originally intended to marry in May, with a full-scale royal wedding at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. However, in light of the current pandemic, the couple chose to scale down the ceremony with a mere twenty guests at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor.

This was a thoughtful and considered change of plan, as a lavish wedding in the current climate would certainly not have been appropriate.

On top of her mindful change of venue, Princess Beatrice also decided against wearing a custom-made wedding dress from a modern designer (the usual royal choice). Instead she selected a gown that was created for the Queen by Norman Hartnell. The diamanté-encrusted gown is made from Ivory Peau De Soie and trimmed with Duchess satin. It was originally worn by the Queen when she attended the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ premiere in 1962 and later at the state opening of parliament in 1966.
Hartnell was a popular choice amongst royals and was particularly famous for his richly embellished, sparkling gowns. He was once quoted in saying that simplicity was the “negation of all that is beautiful”. Beatrice certainly paid homage to this mindset as she chose to add organza puff sleeves to the dress, an on-trend addition which also personalised the borrowed gown. The princess wore the Queen Mary tiara, which the Queen herself wore on her wedding day. Not only is the choice of a borrowed wedding dress far more sustainable, it is also a sentimental decision which celebrates the close bond between Beatrice and her grandmother, the Queen.

The updated gown looked wonderful on Beatrice and she has truly set an example for adapting to the current climate appropriately. Sadly, not all of us have a monarch for a grandmother who might be willing to lend a couture dress. Nonetheless, searches for vintage wedding dresses are up by 38 per cent and there are many beautiful options available.
Vestiaire Collective has a wonderful selection of ‘pre-loved’ luxury pieces. Alternatively, Mother of Pearl and Reformation are two brands which have long been dedicated to sustainability and both have excellent bridal collections. Wedding celebrations are inherently unsustainable and a conscious choice of dress can make a considerable difference. Particularly as Princess Beatrice has proven that borrowed can still beat brand new.

Sophie Easton