British royal wedding ceremonies follow lots of traditions and rules that were developed during the House of Windsor reign that has lasted for decades. British monarchs equal traditionalism and their weddings go down in history. We decided to get acquainted with the most important royal marriage rules.
Bright Side wants to share the most interesting wedding traditions of the British royal family with you.
10. The approval to get married
According to the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, the first 6 people in line to the throne have to seek the Queen’s approval to marry. On the 14th of March, Elizabeth II approved the union of Prince Harry (the 6th person in line) and Meghan Markle and wrote a letter to Privy Council giving approval of marriage.
9. The bride’s rings should be made of Welsh gold.
This tradition dates back to 1923 when the Queen, Elizabeth’s mother and William and Harry’s great-grandmother, was the first one to wear this type of ring. The Welsh gold mine has been declared exhausted, meaning it’s difficult to mine gold from there. That’s why this gold is much more expensive than other kinds of gold. The rings of Elizabeth II, Diana, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall were made of very this metal. Meghan Markle’s Welsh gold ring was given to Prince Harry by the Queen shortly after their engagement.
8. A bouquet to be laid on the tomb of the unknown warrior
Instead of throwing a wedding bouquet, royal brides are to lay flowers on the grave of the unknown warrior at Westminster Abbey in London. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Queen Elizabeth’s mother, was the first one to place her bouquet at the tomb on her way into the Abbey as a tribute to soldiers and her brother Fergus who had died at the Battle of Loos in 1915. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was the first bride who didn’t have a bouquet at the church because she laid it on the grave right before entering. Nowadays, brides do that the day after the ceremony when all wedding photos have already been taken.
An official photoshoot is another tradition. It’s usually held between the ceremony and the wedding reception. The first British monarch who did that was King Edward VII. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose Alexi Lubomirski, one of the most famous fashion photographers, who had already taken the couple’s official engagement portraits. It was Lubomirski who took the romantic picture of the newlyweds sitting on the Windsor Castle stairs.
7. Official family portrait
6. The groom wears their military uniform
Men of the British royal family must serve in the army. They all have a title and a regiment they’re assigned to. According to the tradition, men marry wearing their dress uniform and medals they’ve managed to gain.
5. Meaningful dress or veil patterns
Elizabeth II, who got married in 1947, had a dress and a veil that were decorated with a flower pattern symbolizing peace after the Second World War. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, requested to decorate her veil with 53 flowers symbolizing the countries in the British Commonwealth: 53 sovereign states including Great Britain and almost all former colonies. Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, appointed Prince Harry a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Meghan’s veil symbolizes her pride in her husband and her readiness to help. On the official royal family website you can find the list of flowers embroidered on the veil.
4. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
According to the tradition, each British bride should have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Kate Middleton had new diamond earrings given to her by her parents, old Irish lace sleeves and accents, and a blue ribbon sewn into her gown. As for something borrowed, it was the tiara loaned to her by her new grandmother-in-law, the Queen.
3. Guests in hats
It’s a stipulation that dates back to before the 1950s when upper class and royal women rarely showed their hair in public, and now it’s just a tradition. This royal hat parade is even more beautiful than during the Ascot races.
2. Magnificent wedding cakes
The main symbol of the wedding is a big fruitcake. Bakers spent 5 days baking and icing each tier of William and Kate’s cake (on the left). After baking, cakes are soaked with rum and brandy every day. Meghan and Harry decided to escape the tradition a little and chose a lemon cake drizzled with elderflower syrup. Bakers used 200 lemons and 10 bottles of syrup. It’s unusual because it’s not a traditional tiered cake: all tiers were located on separate gold stands.
1. A piece of cake as a way to say “thank you”
After the wedding, each guest receives a piece of cake in a tin box and a thank-you card. British royals save the top of their wedding cake to serve at their future children’s christenings. They also save one piece to sell at auction: it’s a tradition too.
Which tradition surprises you most? Share your reaction with us!
Preview photo credit AFP/ East News, Associated Press/ East News