Last year saw two British royal couples tie the knot, both in the prestigious surrounds of Windsor Castle. Prince Harry married Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel in May, while Princess Eugenie of York married her long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank at the same chapel in October. This spring, Windsor Castle launches A Royal Wedding: HRH Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank, an exhibition inviting visitors to admire the new nuptials’ wedding outfits. An hour’s drive from The Rubens at the Palace, the exhibition, combined with Windsor Castle’s wealth of history, makes it an ideal day trip.
Originally built by William the Conqueror to resemble a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, Windsor Castle was part of the king’s defence system to protect London. Edward III gave the castle in a Gothic makeover in the 14th century, with St George’s Chapel added by Edward IV in the 15th century. It took an impressive 50 years to complete. The castle’s famously long entrance, an elm tree-lined avenue that stretches for two and a half miles, was created at the request of Charles II, while the castle underwent its most extensive renovations during the reign of George IV. The king had the fortress remodelled to fit his idea of how a castle should look, which included raising the height of the Round Tower by a sizeable 30m.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, Windsor Castle served as the hub of the monarchy and played host to the world’s most important sovereigns, heads of state and ambassadors. Tragedy struck in the 1990s when a fire blazed through the royal residence, causing large-scale damage. It took five years of painstaking work to restore the building to its former glory.
Now open to the public, Windsor Castle is as much a part of British history as it is a home for the modern day Royals. This spring’s display includes Princess Eugenie’s exquisite wedding dress by Belgian brand Peter Pilotto. The fabric of the dress features symbols of the couple’s life together, such as the White Rose of York and ivy, which alludes to Ivy Cottage, where the newlyweds live. Eugenie requested a low back on the dress, so that the scar from an operation she had to correct scoliosis aged 12 would be visible.
The bride paired the dress with the stunning Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara which was lent to her by HM The Queen. Featuring brilliant and rose cut diamonds set in platinum, the tiara is adorned with emeralds on both sides and was originally made for Mrs Greville by Parisian jeweller Boucheron in 1919 and given to Queen Elizabeth in 1942.
The exhibition also showcases the groom’s impeccable morning suit, created by Savile Row tailor Huntsman, alongside Princess Eugenie’s evening gown. Designed by Zac Posen, the elegantly draped blush pink dress was inspired by Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief and worn by the bride for the private evening reception.
Allow the concierge at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Rubens at the Palace to arrange your day trip to Windsor Castle.