Skip to main contentSkip to footer
Digital Cover brides

Princess Beatrice's borrowed wedding dress was uncannily similar to royal bride 60 years earlier

Beatrice recycled Queen Elizabeth II's dress for her 2020 wedding with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
7 May 2024
Share this:

Princess Beatrice's second-hand wedding dress may have been familiar for more than one reason.

Prince Andrew's daughter famously chose to recycle a gown from the closet of a close family member for her royal wedding, instead of having a new one designed like other brides such as Princess Kate and Zara Tindall. Despite her unique decision, the style and silhouette of her gown were not as unusual as you may expect.

View post on Instagram

When pictures emerged of Beatrice secretly exchanging vows with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in July 2020, they showed her looking radiant in one of the late Queen Elizabeth II's ivory frocks complete with a geometric jewelled bodice, an A-line cropped skirt, a straight neckline and thick straps. In a modern twist, she had shortened the hem and added organza puff sleeves – a tweak done by the Queen's trusted dressmakers Angela Kelly and Stewart Parvin.

Princess Beatrice's dress © Alamy
Princess Beatrice's dress was on loan from Queen Elizabeth II

Beatrice's dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, the mastermind behind her grandmother Queen Elizabeth and great-aunt Princess Margaret's wedding dresses. A new photo by the Royal Collection Trust showed off the Queen's sister's bridal gown, which featured a V-neck and long sleeves made with a simple unembellished 30 metres of silk organza.

While that was wildly different to Beatrice's gown, the princess-style silhouette was strikingly similar, with the material skimming her figure and gathering in a fitted waist before cascading out into a wide A-line skirt.

The Instagram caption read: "This glamourous photograph of Princess Margaret in her Norman Hartnell wedding dress was taken #OnThisDay in 1960. Cecil Beaton was chosen by Princess Margaret and her fiancé, fellow photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, to portray them on their wedding day. Beaton continued to be commissioned on various occasions over the years by the couple, often also accompanied by their two children."

Princess Margaret wearing the Poltimore tiara on her wedding day to Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960© Getty
The royal wore a Norman Hartnell wedding dress

According to royal expert Tom Quinn, Her late Majesty was very close to her grandchildren and saw her sisterly bond with Margaret reflected in Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. He said on Channel 5 documentary 'Beatrice and Eugenie: Pampered Princesses?' that she "adores" Beatrice and Eugenie and sees "something of her own relationship as a child with Princess Margaret."

Antony Armstrong-Joens and Princess Margaret surrounded by bridesmaids© Keystone-France
Princess Margaret was engaged to Captain Peter Townsend before she married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960

Princess Margaret had previously been engaged to Captain Peter Townsend, but they called off their relationship after receiving criticism about his status as a divorcé. She then found love with photographer Antony, with whom she had a secret relationship before surprising fans by announcing their engagement in February 1960.

"Nobody knew about their relationship, there wasn't a whisper about it, " Anne de Courcy, author of Snowdon: the Biography, told Town & Country. "She would see him in secret at his studio and yes, he would join her at parties, but no one could pinpoint which man she was in interested in. The press focused more on the ones who were seen to be eligible. They didn't think of Tony who was often in the background."

Following their announcement, Margaret and Antony were pictured in Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park with the royal showing off her engagement ring – the same place Beatrice and Edoardo posed for engagement pictures by photographer Misan Harriman. The couple married that May and welcomed two children Lady Sarah Chatto and David Armstrong-Jones before divorcing in 1978.

READ NEXT: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's dancing at the Met Gala is couple goals

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Weddings

See more