From jewellery to the wedding gown, the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding day was imbued with a symbolism hard to ignore.
As it happens with high-profile weddings, the marriage of Ms Meghan Markle to HRH Prince Harry brought the audience to speculate about meanings hidden in the ceremony setup, the bride’s wedding gown, her jewels.
Some of them are quite funny – like, for example, the interpretation that was given to the empty seat left in St. George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle, where the ceremony took place.
That seat was not left empty as a tribute to the late Princess Diana but, more simply, to allow the Queen to have a full and clear view in front of her.
Let us start with the most impressive piece of jewellery the Duchess wore. There was plenty of speculation about what kind of tiara Ms Markle was going to wear if none at all. In the end, she did choose to have her veil set by a tiara, and she went for Queen Mary’s Bandeau Tiara.
Also known as ‘Filigree Tiara’, and lent to the bride by HM the Queen, the platinum and diamond tiara is of English make (the jeweller was not disclosed) and it is a wonderful Art Deco piece dating from 1932.
It is formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds – according to a statement released by Kensington Palace.
At the tiara’s centre, there is a detachable ten-diamond brooch dating from 1893.
This diamond bandeau was made for Queen Mary of Teck, and specifically designed to accommodate a ten-diamond brooch, dating from 1893. The brooch was given to the Princess by the County of Lincoln in 1893 when she married Prince George, Duke of York.
When Queen Mary died, in 1953, both the tiara and the brooch were passed on to her granddaughter, the Queen. The tiara was last time seen in public in 1965, with Princess Margaret, and has remained in the royal vault since then.
It is interesting to remember that Queen Mary of Teck was the mother of King Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936 to later marry Wallis Simpson, an American and a divorcee.
Someone argued that this tiara was chosen to send a message of tolerance, of flexibility and of the will of building something new founded on traditions.
It might be if we think of the tiara’s flexible and personalized structure. However, let us not forget that Queen Mary never accepted Ms Simpson, that she always refused to meet her in public and in private, and that this matter was quite a hard one. It is quite risky to set a parallelism between Ms Markle and Ms Simpson and this is something that will not be discussed here.
What can be stated is that this tiara got the maximum stand out against the bride dress’ sleek and elegant cut. The jewel’s neat and defined Art Deco lines were very well matched by the wedding gown’s pure lines.
Together with Queen Mary’s bandeau tiara, the bride wore a pair of diamond earrings from the Galanterie de Cartier collection – already sported a couple of weeks earlier the wedding – and a superb diamond bracelet from the Reflection of Cartier collection, accompanied by matching earrings for the evening reception.
The bride’s wedding band was of traditional Welsh gold, a present from the Queen – following a royal tradition that dates back to the wedding of George VI and Elizabeth Bowes Lyon (the Queen mother, the Prince’s great-grandmother) in 1923.
In the picture below, the wedding band is matched with the engagement ring, which features a central cushion-cut diamond sourced by Prince Harry in Botswana (a country pretty dear to the couple), flanked by two smaller diamonds from Princess Diana’s jewellery collection.
Last but not least, the newly created Duchess of Sussex appeared wearing a beautiful aquamarine ring while leaving to attend the evening reception. This ring is very likely to be a ring commissioned by Princess Diana in 1997 to Asprey London, given to the Duchess of Sussex by the Duke as a wedding gift.
A lovely touch to keep remembering Princess Diana on such an important day.
From the bandeau tiara to the veil it set in place.
A veil long five metres, made from silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza.
A veil very important and full of significance. For it, the Duchess asked to have the 53 countries belonging to the Commonwealth all represented by their specific flora, all united in one flowery composition – a way to have them all with her on the occasion.
This was also a clear message stating the importance that, in the future, the Commonwealth will have in the Duke and Duchess’ future work.
Finally, the bride’s wedding dress. Designed by Claire Waight Keller, a woman and the first one to lead the French fashion Maison of Givenchy.
Paying tribute to a British talent, the Duchess chose to work with Ms. Waight Keller for her “timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour.”
On this point, we would like to quote Bethan Holt, Fashion News and Features Director, and her piece on The Telegraph, where she states:
“The last time that Givenchy was seen on the back of a major protagonist in a royal event was in 1972, also at St George’s chapel, at the funeral of the Duke Of Windsor. His widow, Wallis Simpson, wore a double-breasted black coat and silk veil which Hubert de Givenchy had toiled all night to create for her, one his best clients. After the royal family’s frostiness towards the woman- a divorced American fashion plate- who prompted King Edward to abdicate, it seems plucky of Meghan- another American divorcee whose style influence has gone stratospheric since her engagement to Harry- to choose the same design house 46 years later.”
What do you think? CC