The Palace of Holyroodhouse is home to hundreds of years of royal history, and Friday it welcomed a more modern exhibit to its grounds. A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex debuted at the palace last week, and I stopped by on its opening weekend to see the iconic wedding outfits worn by the couple.
The exhibit, which first came to Windsor Castle, features Meghan’s wedding gown, veil, tiara, and shoes, as well as a copy of Prince Harry’s Household Cavalry frockcoat uniform and the bridesmaid and pageboy outfits worn by Princess Charlotte and Prince George.
After climbing a staircase with a stunning wedding photo of the couple at the top, you enter a room featuring some early sketches of the veil and gown, along with pictures of the couple. Turn the corner, and you might, like my son, yell “There it is! I can see the dress!”
Before you get any ideas about a Meghan wedding gown selfie, keep in mind photos are not permitted inside the palace. But seeing the outfits up close is certainly a treat, and you also get to hear some insider information from none other than the Sussexes themselves.
Guests are treated to an audio commentary by the bride and groom on the free headsets provided on the palace tour, and you can hear Meghan speaking about how she chose her wedding dress designer, Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. She notes having a female designer was important to her, as well as someone who was British in order to embrace her new home.
“I knew at the onset I wanted a bateau neckline, I wanted a cropped sleeve, I wanted a very timeless, classic feeling,” the Duchess says on the guide commentary. “What was amazing in working with Clare is that sometimes you’ll find designers try to push you in a different direction. But she just completely respected what I wanted to see for the day, and she wanted to bring that to life for me.”
Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, on public display for the first time since its creation in 1932, sparkles beautifully above the gown. But her showstopping five-meter-long veil featuring flowers from each Commonwealth country is absolutely the centrepiece of the exhibit. Although you could get an idea in photos and on television, you really can’t appreciate how long the train is or how beautiful the embroidery is until you see the piece up close.
The Duke of Sussex speaks on the audio guide about his choice of outfit for the wedding, too. “I chose the frock coat as a uniform, with permission from my grandmother, because I think it’s one of the smartest Household Cavalry uniforms. It’s one of my favourites, and I was very fortunate to be able to wear that on the day.”
Although Harry’s uniform on display is a copy, the miniature version of his outfit worn by Prince George is featured in the final room of A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“The biggest challenge for them was replicating the embroidery from the full-size frockcoat that I was wearing into mini versions,” the Duke of Sussex said. “It was the first time it had ever been done, and the pageboys got to keep their frockcoats, and they have their initials on the shoulders.”
Wrapping up your tour through the royal wedding outfits you’ll see the adorable puffed-sleeve Clare Waight Keller dress worn by Princess Charlotte, along with her tiny white shoes, which were made by Aquazzura and embroidered with her initials and the wedding date.
“There was a great level of detail that went into the planning of our wedding day,” Meghan said on the guide. “I think for us, we knew how large the scale of the event would be, so in making choices that were really personal and meaningful, it could make the whole experience feel intimate, even though it was a very big wedding.”
The royal wedding exhibit runs at the Palace of Holyroodhouse through 6 October, and entrance is included with admission to the palace. Book your tickets here.