18 July 2020

A Royal Wedding and Investiture in Windsor!

Benjamin Wheeler/Press Association

Friday turned out to be a very big day for the British royal family! The Queen was present for two important events: the knighthood of a national hero and the private wedding of her granddaughter.

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We'll start our coverage with the public event of the day: the knighting of Captain Thomas Moore. You may have read about Captain Tom in the press in recent months. The 100-year-old World War II veteran has raised more than £32 million for the National Health Service during the coronavirus pandemic. In May, it was announced that he would receive a knighthood in recognition for his incredible work and dedication. The title of Knight Bachelor was conferred on him on May 20.

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On Friday, Captain Tom and his family arrived at Windsor Castle for his investiture, which was held outdoors in the Quadrangle in front of a small group of press. The Queen knighted Captain Sir Thomas Moore with a sword that belonged to her father, King George VI. Before the investiture, Captain Sir Tom joked, "If I kneel down I'll never get up again!"

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During the short ceremony, the Queen told Moore that "one hundred is a great age." She would know -- her mother reached the milestone, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, is only a year away from the same celebration.

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The grand and uplifting investiture was the second important event of the day for the Queen. During the investiture, she told Moore and his family, "My granddaughter got married this morning!" Earlier on Friday, she and the Duke had been driven to Royal Lodge, home of the York family, for the private wedding of their granddaughter, Princess Beatrice. She had been scheduled to marry Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace in May, but the wedding was canceled because of virus restrictions.

Princess Eugenie/Press Association

Instead, the couple were wed privately on Friday at eleven o'clock in the morning at the Royal Chapel of All Saints on the grounds of Royal Lodge. Buckingham Palace issued a short statement and explained, "The small ceremony was attended by The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and close family." Reporter Emily Andrews confirmed that Beatrice's parents were both in attendance, as were Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank. Edoardo's son, Christopher Woolf "Wolfie" Mapelli Mozzi, was present as well and served as best man and page boy.

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But anyway, let's talk more about the biggest news from the wedding: the tiara!!! Princess Beatrice chose a very sentimental family diadem for her wedding day: Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara, which was worn by her grandmother, the Queen, on her own wedding day in 1947. The tiara is displayed above alongside the Queen's wedding gown.

Royal Collection

Made in 1919 using gold, silver, and diamonds recycled from a convertible necklace/tiara she received from Queen Victoria, Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara is a classic and elegant example of the fringe design. She commissioned the piece as a more modern and more wearable version of Queen Adelaide's Diamond Fringe Tiara (which is now set, presumably semi-permanently, as a necklace).

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In 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother). She wore it often during her tenure as Queen Consort. Especially famous are images, like the one above, taken during a portrait series around the time of her coronation in 1937.

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The Queen Mother lent the tiara to two famous British royal brides. In 1947, she loaned it to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), who wore it for her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey. This was the tiara that famously snapped in half shortly before the princess was due to walk down the aisle. The piece was hastily repaired, but you can tell in some photographs from the day that there's a slight extra space between some of the fringes, thanks to the quick fix.

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In 1973, the Queen Mother loaned the tiara to Princess Anne, who wore it for her wedding to Captain Mark Phillips, also held at Westminster Abbey.

Governor-General of New Zealand

The present Queen inherited the tiara in 2002. She has worn it only a few times since then, notably for an official portrait as Queen of New Zealand. On that occasion, she created a "mirror" effect by wearing it with the City of London Fringe Necklace.

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On Friday, Princess Beatrice became the fifth British royal woman to wear the tiara, which was loaned to her by her grandmother. Beatrice paired the tiara with a vintage wedding gown made by Norman Hartnell -- the same designer who created both the wedding and coronation gowns for her grandmother, the Queen. (I know that many of you read and enjoyed the recent novel about the creation of the Queen's wedding dress at Hartnell's London studio!) Like the tiara, the dress was also a loan from the Queen. A press release from the palace noted, "The dress is made from Peau De Soie taffeta in shades of ivory, trimmed with ivory Duchess satin, with organza sleeves. It is encrusted with diamanté and has a geometric checkered bodice. It was remodelled and fitted by Miss Angela Kelly and Mr Stewart Parvin."

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The dress was worn by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament in April 1966. The sleeves are a new addition to the gown.

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The press release also includes a few more details, several of which reveal that the wedding was a unique one for our times. The gathered family members adhered to social distancing measures, and while music was played (including the National Anthem), no hymns were sung. Readings were done by the couple's mothers, including Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, Corinthians 13:1-3, and e.e. cummings's poem "I carry you in my heart." Beatrice's floral bouquet, which included jasmine, sweet peas, roses, and the customary royal sprigs of myrtle, has been placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. Like her diamond engagement ring, the palace reveals that Beatrice's wedding ring was made by Shaun Leane. Her new husband wears a vintage gold wedding band from Josh Collins.

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The Royal Chapel of All Saints was the perfect location for Beatrice's wedding, given her family ties to the estate and her love for Queen Victoria. The chapel was built in 1825, and Queen Victoria worshiped there on occasion. The building includes tribute windows for her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and for one of her grandsons, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. For many years, Royal Lodge was the home of the Queen Mother, and her body lay in the chapel before her state funeral in London in 2002. By marrying at Royal Lodge, Beatrice joins the growing club of recent royal brides to wed in Windsor: the Duchess of Sussex, Princess Eugenie, and Lady Gabriella Kingston. (There's a long line of historical royal weddings that have taken place in Windsor, too!)

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The Queen wore the same outfit for both the wedding and the investiture, and the same brooch as well. This is one of the newer brooches from the Queen's collection. She began wearing it around the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and many have presumed that it may have been a gift from that period. We don't have a confirmed provenance, though, sadly. 

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Here's a closer look at the brooch from today's investiture. The piece features a pair of diamond roses set in warm-toned gold, perhaps rose gold.

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Before Friday, one of the Queen's most recent appearances in the brooch also came in Windsor. She wore it for the opening of the Alexandra Gardens Bandstand in Windsor on April 20, 2016, the day before her 90th birthday.