We can credit the royal family for establishing some of the most common wedding traditions known to brides throughout the world, like white wedding dresses. We asked the Ancestry research team to uncover other traditional displays we might see at the ceremony of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
We have a queen to credit for the tradition of brides being married in white. The tradition of wearing white wedding dresses started with Queen Victoria in 1840 when she married Prince Albert. In lieu of the expected blue or black wedding dress, Victoria selected a white dress so the crowd could more easily spot her on her way to her wedding. She banned guests from wearing white as well, another faux pas avoided by wedding guests to this day.
In 1923, The Queen Mother was all the rage when she decided to use Nottingham Lace for her wedding dress in an effort to, “revive interest in the Nottingham lace industry.” Since then royal wedding dresses are typically made with lace.
The groom always wears military regalia to his wedding because it is tradition for royal males to serve in the military.
Royal brides always carry a sprig of myrtle in their bouquet as it’s believed to be the herb of love. This tradition was also popularized by Queen Victoria. Ever since, each bride has carried myrtle in their bouquet. Meghan Markle will no doubt carry it as well.
Most royal brides wear a tiara as part of her official gown and accessories. Most of the tiaras worn by royal brides are loaned by the Queen and its unknown which tiara Meghan will wear.
Some of the most notable tiaras from weddings have been fringe tiaras. Popularized by Queen Victoria, the fringe tiara style is a common choice among royals. Queen Victoria wore a diamond fringe necklace that she inherited from Queen Charlotte (Victoria’s grandmother) as a tiara during her reign. Queen Mary (Victoria’s granddaughter-in-law and Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother) wore the same necklace as a fringe tiara until she decided to have a fringe tiara made. She dismantled a different necklace that was given to her by Queen Victoria and used the diamonds for her new tiara. The necklace had been made in 1893. This tiara is known as Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara. Queen Mary gifted the tiara to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when her husband assumed the throne in 1936. Elizabeth lent the tiara to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II for her wedding in 1947. On the morning of the wedding the tiara snapped in half and had to be repaired in a hurry. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother also loaned the tiara to Princess Anne for her wedding in 1963. This tiara has only been spotted once or twice after being used by Princess Anne.
Much like Queen Victoria, who created the fashion trend, Queen Elizabeth wore crown of orange blossoms on her wedding day. She wore the crown of orange blossoms without a tiara.
Here is a newspaper clipping with the specifics of her wedding dress, including her crown of orange blossoms:
All royal wedding bands contain Welsh gold. This tradition was also started by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when she married King George VI in 1923.
Women who marry royal male successors assume their husband’s titles. They will never have “Princess” or “Duchess” in front of their name, instead it will follow their first name. As an example, Diana, Princess of Wales or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
If predictions are right and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Markle will be known as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
One of the most sentimental of traditions unique to the royal family is the tradition of laying the bridal bouquet on the Grave of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth established this traditions when she walked into the Abbey for her wedding she stopped to place her bouquet on the grave in honor of her brother who was killed in WWI. Since then, every royal that has been married in the Abbey places their bridal bouquet on the grave the day after the wedding day.
We’re anxious to see how Meghan Markle and Prince Harry carry out the traditions developed by previous generations of royals. Who knows, maybe they’ll create some of their own for later generations to follow.