Princess bride unveils a new era
Simple, yet sophisticated, and with a touching nod to the past, the bride looked a thoroughly modern royal, writes Holly Byrnes in Windsor
AND the royal bride wore … Givenchy. Peering through her delicate silk veil, bouquet hand quivering as she reached her prince, former Suits star Meghan Markle avoided the typical princess meringue gown in favour of her own simple but sophisticated style statement.
The thoroughly modern and structured design, designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, merged her natural sex appeal and new regal status. The Tudor-style bodice, devoid of the embellishment she turned to for her Ralph & Russo engagement dress, was given the royal seal of approval by her groom — who whispered “amazing” and “absolutely gorgeous”.
Offering a hint of shoulder, and reminiscent of Princess Mary of Denmark’s bateau neck wedding gown, the double-bonded silk-cady gown with three-quarter sleeves was the ultimate in reserved elegance.
Despite this being her second marriage, the new royal rulebreaker looked dazzling in her crisp white wedding dress — blinding in the spring sunshine.
With her devoted mother, Doria Ragland — relaxed and chic in a sorbet lime-coloured Oscar de la Renta suit dress — by her side for the journey from Cliveden House Meghan overcame the late withdrawal of her father Thomas Markle to walk part of the way down the aisle on her own.
Helping with her lavish fivemetre veil train were her page boys, Brian and John, the twin sons of her stylist best friend Jessica Mulroney - with one flashing a too othless grin as he walked behind her.
In a nod to Prince Harry's new roles as a Commonwealth Ambassador, the embroidered veil featured the flora of each of the 53 countries, including the golder wattle of Australia. The exquisitely simple gown drew gasps and approving applause from the 100,000-strong crowd, gathered around St George's Chapel and at live sites dotted around Windson
and across the capital centre of London. Givenchy was a favourite of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, America’s answer to traditional royalty.
In a sign she has been fully embraced by the Royal Family, Meghan borrowed from the Palace collections and wore Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara.
The tiara was designed to accommodate a brooch given to Mary in 1893 to commemorate her engagement to the then-Prince George. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the pieces in 1953.
The 10 flower girls and page boys, the youngest a toddling twoyear-old Zalie Warren, were not the handful first feared, walked into the church by their mothers.
Prince George, in a mini-me black frock coat like his dad, and Princess Charlotte, in a simple white frock dress, also by Givenchy, with a baby’s breath wreath in her hair, were both on their best behaviour as their mother Kate watched on in primrose yellow Alexander McQueen.
Harry and Meghan also remembered the late Diana, Prin- cess of Wales, by selecting forget-me-nots, her favourite flowers, for the bridal bouquet. Harry also contributed by hand-picking flowers from their private garden at Kensington Palace.
Myrtle sprigs from stems planted at the Isle of Wight’s Osborne House by Queen Victoria in 1845 also featured, furthering a long tradition. Sprigs were used from a plant grown from the myrtle in the Queen’s wedding bouquet in 1947.
Meghan’s bouquet also included scented sweet peas, jasmine and lily of the valley.
The bride walks down the aisle followed by a gaggle of page boys and young members of the bridal party.
Pageboys Brian and John Mulroney hold the bride’s train. Meghan and Harry at the altar saying ‘I do’.
The happy couple leaving the church, with the bride looking stunning in a Givenchy gown designed by Clare Waight Keller.
Meghan takes a glance back as the couple leave the church.