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FashionHistory

Two famous royal bridesmaids reveal where their gowns are hidden away

Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales
Joe Haupt via Flickr

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh just celebrated 73 years of marriage last week, and with royal weddings on the brain, one of their bridesmaid’s daughters shared a special memory.

India Hicks and her mother Lady Pamela Hicks both served as royal bridesmaids, with India participating in the Wales’s 1981 wedding and Lady Pamela taking part in the 1947 wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip.

You might imagine the Hicks’s bridesmaid dresses are in a museum or some other special sort of display, but like many of us these days, the frocks are at “home to chill for a bit.”

India shared two photos of the dresses on her Instagram account Sunday, showing a sweet photo of herself with her mother and the two iconic bridesmaid gowns and another of them hanging on a staircase.

“Lots of questions asking if my mother still has the dress she wore as a bridesmaid to The Queen,” she wrote. “She does. See it here on the table in front of us. Next to the one I wore to Charles and Diana’s wedding. Both dresses have travelled the world in exhibitions and been on display in Museums before coming home to chill for a bit.”

The beautiful tulle bridesmaid dress Lady Pamela wore was designed by Norman Hartnell, with the skirt covered in appliques in “a theme copied from the bride’s dress,” according to Lady Pamela on the India Hicks Podcast. In the second photo, India’s puff-sleeved, very 1980s dress hangs next to her mother’s. The style featured a wide sash at the waist and a ruffle-trimmed neck and was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who also created Diana’s gown.

Lady Pamela is a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, whose assassination is depicted in the new series of The Crown. As a cousin of the groom, 18-year-old Lady Pamela was chosen to be one of Princess Elizabeth’s bridesmaids and went on to serve The Queen as a lady-in-waiting.

The younger Hicks had a similar royal connection, having been asked to serve as one of the five bridesmaids for her godfather, Prince Charles, at the age of 13. She recalled the day to Harper’s Bazaar, saying how she dreaded wearing a dress, since she was “a tomboy from rural Oxfordshire, never out of jodhpurs.”

“I sat munchkin like on a small red velvet stool, close to the King of Tonga,” she said. “I only really remember my buttercup-yellow satin shoes pinching; they were a size too small.”

The mother-daughter duo currently hosts their own podcast, and a recent episode shared some behind-the-scenes details of The Queen’s wedding including mishaps like a broken tiara and missing bouquet. Lady Pamela, who was living in India at the time, also recalled how she received a “very sweet letter” from Princess Elizabeth since she was unable to participate in all of the dress fittings from abroad.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.