Of the supporting cast that surrounds a royal wedding, none captures the attention quite like the bridesmaids. We look forward to finding out what they'll wear, whether they'll behave, and, if they're of marriage age, like Pippa Middleton when Prince William and Kate tied the knot in 2011.
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In 1946, the press got wind of the romance between the Queen and Prince Philip when he was spotted discreetly helping his love, then a shy young Princess, with her coat as she led her cousin's bridal party. Since royal fans are missing out on Princess Beatrice's ceremony, which was supposed to take place on 29 May but has been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to remember your favourite bridesmaids, from Pippa to Princess Charlotte.
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Pippa was Kate's maid of honour
When she stepped out in front of the global audience trained on Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011, perfect Pippa became an overnight sensation. Looking glamorous, yet demure in a slither of satin by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen that matched the bride's dress, the younger Middleton daughter instantly became the template for the maid-of-honour extraordinaire. The slinky cowl-necked number showed off her figure to perfection, particularly her pilates-toned posterior.
Meanwhile, the internet was full of praise for the events planner's gentle shepherding of the flower girls and page boys and her deft handling of her sister's nine-foot train. Social media was flooded with favourable comments about Pippa (including praise from Justin Bieber), or as she became known for a time ‘Her Royal Hotness’. Her arrival at the Cambridges' evening reception in a full-length green Alice Temperley gown was another triumph. That one day led to all sorts of media offers, many of which the brunette politely turned down, although she did publish Celebrate, a book on entertaining, as well as pen a number of newspaper columns.
Pippa holds Kate's train as they arrive at Westminster Abbey
Now, 36, she regards the hoopla over her appearance on that glorious day with self-deprecating good humour. "As I have found out, recognition has its upside, its downside and – you may say – its backside," she later joked. Her starring role also meant people speculated wildly about her love life, but she eventually married her own Prince Charming, hedge fund manager James Matthews, in the Middleton's family church in Bucklebury in 2017.
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Kate and Charlotte on Pippa's big day
At Pippa and James' wedding in Englefield, Berkshire, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's daughter came close to stealing the show. Just a few weeks past her second birthday, the little Princess looked as pretty as a picture scattering rose petals before the newlyweds, in an ivory silk dress by Spanish designer Pepa Gonzalez, featuring puff sleeves and a pink sash.
At one point, mum Kate had to step in to have a firm word with some of the bridal entourage including Charlotte's brother George, but the little girl was very charmingly behaved.
MORE: 7 times Princess Beatrice dressed like a bride
Charlotte cheekily pokes her tongue out at Harry and Meghan's wedding
Twelve months later when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged vows she was in a more mischievous mood, sticking her tongue out at photographers. Some of the other little helpers were so young that the first rehearsal was reportedly chaotic and they were asked to come back the next day to give it another go. Thankfully on Hary and Meghan's big day, everything went without a hitch.
To thank the bridesmaids for their hard work, each had their name and the date of the wedding embroidered in the white leather Aquazurra shoes they wore to go with their ivory silk radzimir Givenchy gowns. Meanwhile the boys, among them George and gap-toothed Canadian twins Brian and John, the sons of Meghan's friend Jessica Mulroney, matched the groom in miniature versions of the Blues and Royals military frockcoat, with their initials embroidered in gold on the shoulder straps as a keepsake.
Charlotte and George had starring roles at Eugenie's wedding
The Sussexes were followed to the altar of St George's Chapel, Windsor by Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank and Charlotte's godmother Sophie Carter also got married in Norfolk that autumn. At Eugenie’s wedding in October 2018, Charlotte, now clearly a professional, blew a kiss and waved enthusiastically to well wishers as she arrived at the church on what was a blustery day. She almost took a tumble on the chapel steps before she righted herself, unfazed by the windy conditions. The celebration was even more of a blast because a number of cheeky cousins joined in the fun - Princess Anne's three granddaughters, Savannah and Isla Phillips and Mia Tindall, and Maud Windsor, the daughter of Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor, who attends Thomas's school with Charlotte and George.
Robbie Williams and Ayda Field's daughter, Theodora
A surprise choice in Eugenie's wedding party was Teddy Williams, the daughter of former X Factor judges Robbie Williams and Ayda Field, who became friends with the royals on holiday in the Caribbean. She stepped out with confidence alongside the other little attendants, showing a striking resemblance to her famous father with her big brown eyes and dark hair. It was something of a public debut for Teddy who proved, like her famous parents, that she has some 'X factor' of her own as she took her first steps in the limelight, greeting crowds with a beaming smile. The six-year-old also provided a giggle when she asked Sarah, Duchess of York: "Are you the Queen?" When Sarah replied: "No", persistent Teddy, pressed on: "Are you a Princess?" To which the mother of the bride conceded: "Yes".
MORE: All the adorable times Prince George and Princess Charlotte have been pageboy and bridesmaid
Beatrice was Eugenie's maid of honour
Another vital part of "Team Euge and Jack", as the bride described her, was Princess Beatrice. Wearing a vibrant ink-blue Ralph & Russo dress with a Sarah Cant headband, maid of honour Bea, as she's known, steadied the nerves of their mother Sarah and also gave a wonderful reading from The Great Gatsby during the service. Her "big sissy" was the obvious choice for the role of maid of honour, said Eugenie. "We’re best friends and I can't think of anyone I'd want by my side more than her. It's a great honour for me that she said, 'yes'." While everyone was wondering if Beatrice was going to find romance at the wedding, her fiancé Edoardo Mappelli Mozzi may already have been on her radar. A longtime family friend, they’ve known each other for years and first confirmed their relationship in early 2019.
Zara, centre, arriving at Lady Sarah's wedding
The Queen's granddaughter had her first go at being a bridesmaid when Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, daughter of Princess Margaret, married Daniel Chatto in the summer of 1994. Then a bashful teenager, Zara looked lovely in a medieval-style dress to match Sarah's ruched bodice affair by Jasper Conran, with pink roses woven into her hair. Only 200 guests attended the intimate ceremony, but the occasion was of great interest to the media because among them were the Queen, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, who were seen together for the first time since he gave an interview about the breakdown of their marriage.
Zara chats to cousin Harry at Peter and Autumn's wedding
At the 2008 wedding of her brother Peter to Canadian-born Autumn Kelly, Olympic horserider Zara was one of three adult bridesmaids, having taken time out of her demanding training schedule to be there. Zara, who was glowing in a Vera Wang dress in pistachio green, softly falling into a train at the back, was the first to step forward to smooth out Autumn's dress, and had an even more vital role, helping the bride's family feel welcome and relaxed amid the pomp and ceremony of a royal wedding. After the newlyweds exited the chapel to a burst of spontaneous applause from guests, she told HELLO! happily: "Obviously I wouldn't have missed this for the world."
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