Princess Eugenie is the star of the second Royal Wedding of the year and though she might not create the same world-wide fervour as Meghan Markle – there’s no competition for a good American-actress-turned-princess fairy tale – she’s certainly making her own waves.
Like with her incredible dress. To the untrained eye, the princess went with a simple and elegant design that showed a little skin without making anyone – namely, the Queen – clutch their pearls.
It is an elegant gown, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a statement on every level and a symbol of its owner down to every little detail. Here are our favourite facts about Eugenie’s wedding look and what makes it totally iconic.
The dress showcases Eugenie’s back scar
The most notable detail of the ensemble became apparent as soon as the princess turned her back to cameras to mount the steps at Windsor Castle. The low V backline of the gown perfectly framed the scar on Eugenie’s back from a surgery she underwent as a child. Diagnosed at the age of 12 with scoliosis, the princess required corrective surgery to insert rods and screws around her spine – something she has been open about in the 16 years since.
Eugenie is a fierce advocate for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital where she received her surgery and treatment. There is still very little known about scoliosis, its causes and why it disproportionately affects girls. Eugenie works with the hospital to raise funds for research and even shared her own story and x-rays on Instagram earlier this year on International Scoliosis Awareness Day.
Today is International Scoliosis Awareness Day and I’m very proud to share my X Rays for the very first time. I also want to honour the incredible staff at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital who work tirelessly to save lives and make people better. They made me better and I am delighted to be their patron of the Redevelopment Appeal. To hear more of my story visit http://www.rnohcharity.org/the-appeal/princess-eugenie-s-story @the.rnoh.charity #TheRNOHCharity #RedevelopmentAppeal #RNOH #NHS
Ahead of the wedding, Eugenie told ITV, “I think you can change the way beauty is, and you can show people your scars and I think it's really special to stand up for that.”
She opted for no veil
Obviously, the dress’s strategic back wouldn’t be nearly as effective if there was a long veil covering it, but Eugenie’s veil-less look wasn’t just tactical, it also bucked royal tradition. According to Town and Country, every single bride in modern British royal history has worn a veil (with the exceptions of Camilla in her wedding to Prince Charles and Princess Anne in her second wedding).
Instead of a veil, Eugenie chose to focus strictly on the headpiece -- the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara. The piece – containing a 94-carat emerald at its centre – was lent to the princess by the Queen and once again defied expectations. Royal watchers speculated that Eugenie might pay tribute to her mother by donning the same tiara worn by Sarah Ferguson at her wedding, but instead of the diamond-encrusted York Tiara, she opted for the emerald. With the way the coloured stones make her eyes pop, can you blame her?
The designers defied expectations
Ahead of the wedding, there was much speculation over what designer would be tapped to create the dress. Eugenie was tight-lipped but revealed beforehand that the designer was “U.K.-based.” The brand certainly is, but neither Peter Pilotto or Christopher de Vos, the masterminds behind the Peter Pilotto brand, is actually British themselves. Australian-Italian Pilotto and Austrian de Vos founded their label in 2007, making them fairly new to the design scene considering the array of historic British designers in the business. The pair has also never designed a wedding dress before. What better place to start than at a royal wedding?
The custom fabric is covered in symbolism
The Peter Pilotto brand is famed for its unique digital print designs and certainly showcased their skills here. The entire collar, bodice, skirt and train of Eugenie’s dress is covered in a beautiful embroidery pattern that contains several meaningful pieces. The design includes thistles for Scotland (representing the couple’s love for Balmoral Castle), shamrocks for Ireland (and Sarah Ferguson’s side of the family), York Roses for the family’s title and ivy for the couple’s home at Ivy Cottage in Kensington Palace.
According to the palace, “Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos have reinterpreted these symbols in a garland of rope like motifs, woven into a jacquard of silk, cotton and viscose blend.” There isn’t an inch of this dress that isn’t representative of its wearer.
Eugenie was involved at every stage of the process
Typically, a bride wants to oversee every single detail of her big day and Eugenie was very involved in her wedding look. According to BBC, the dress was constructed layer by intricate layer starting with the corset over the course of several fittings. While that might not seem like much, we know from our time royal-watching that it’s not uncommon for the royals to have to make compromises to abide by strict traditions and rules. We don’t know how much input Kate and Meghan had in the design process, but it’s clear that every detail of Eugenie’s gown – from the low back to the garland embroidery – was meticulously planned with input from the princess.
And if bucking royal tradition (even if it’s just a little bit) isn’t badass, we don’t know what is.
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