14 Facts You May Not Know About British Royal Weddings

14 Facts You May Not Know About British Royal Weddings

September 19th 2022 is etched in history as the day Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Windsor (II) was given a state funeral in a farewell event broadcast across the globe. It was a somber day for mourners across the globe but also a celebration of a life that touched and blessed millions. King Charles Phillip Arthur George (III) is the new British king and he has to oversee some 15 territories and several traditions that are the pride of the British people. Prominent among those are the royal wedding traditions that span over 300 years. Here are some of them;

1.    Marrying royals is a family affair
In most traditions, the groom will ask the bride’s family for her hand in marriage. This is true for the royal family too. The  Royal Marriage Act 1772 requires members of the royal family to obtain consent and approval from the reigning monarch (currently King Charles III) for their marriage. This is especially required of the first 6 people in line of succession that is; Prince William ‘Prince of Wales’, his children; Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.  Add Prince Harry and his son, Archie Mountbatten Windsor.

The Royal line of succession as of Sept 1 2022 Credit; The New York Times

This is to safeguard against marriages that could diminish the status of the royal house. Marriage without the monarch’s consent would disqualify the person and his/her descendants from succeeding the throne even though the marriage would be legally binding.

2.    Royal engagements must be announced publically
The reigning monarch will make a formal engagement announcement to the public and press followed by an interview of the couple with the press. For example, the engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Philip was announced by her father, King George and mother, Queen Elizabeth via the court circular in July, 1947. Prince Harry and Meghan also appeared at Kensington Palace photo call and answered questions in a BBC interview.
Public announcement for Princess Eugenie’s engagement issued in 2018 Credit; Twitter

3.    Royal weddings are a Protestant affair
The reigning British monarch since 1544 is designated the title of ‘defender of the faith.’  As the head of the Church of England, the monarch is expected to be a Protestant and therefore uphold the values of the Protestant church. Roman Catholic marriages are therefore not permitted. George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews who married a Roman Catholic wife in 1988 faced the brunt of going against this tradition.
The Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, however, has since revised this provision and removed the requirement for those outside the first six persons in line to the throne. The thinking is that by marrying a Roman Catholic you lose your right to be in line for the throne but can regain it under the Act.  However, those ‘with a realistic prospect of succeeding to the throne’ would not be affected.
It was enforced on 26th March, 2015 and George Windsor was restored to the line of succession in 34th place after his father Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. The provision of the Act of Settlement prohibiting the monarch from being a Roman Catholic still ensues though.
Westminster Abbey usually hosts Royal Weddings Credit; Shutterstock

4.    Royal Wedding invites come from the reigning monarch.
For the last seventy years, the Queen sent out wedding invites on behalf of the Royal family. The standard rule for wedding invitations is that they are sent out six to eight weeks to the actual event. The wedding invites in the past were produced by Barnard & Westwood, the company holding a Royal Warrant for printing and bookbinding from Queen Elizabeth and have been making royal invitations since 1985.
The monarch actually commands the invite Credit: Pinterest

5.    Royal Weddings are a daytime affair.
Royal Weddings are not done in the dark. They are always held early in the day no later than noon. The simple reason is that in the past royal weddings were a political event meant to seal alliances and enter pacts to benefit the monarchy. And for transparency, this had to be done during the day.

Royal weddings are a daytime affair Credit: Rex/Shutterstock

6.    Royal Weddings have two receptions.
Immediately following the royal wedding ceremony, a wedding breakfast that is served for the guests which is similar to brunch or luncheon. An evening reception is then held later in the day where dinner and dancing take over the function.

The royal couple usually changes dresscode for the dinner Credit: Eonline

7.    Wedding guests follow royal etiquette
Royal wedding etiquette requires ladies to wear knee length dresses plus hats or fascinator. “For a royal wedding especially in England, it has to be a hat. Whether you start with the hat and then buy the outfit or buy the outfit and then the hat, you have to have a hat at a royal wedding.” says Louise Green, a British milliner. Bare legs and bare shoulders are forbidden. Black is usually a mourning color thus not encouraged, so is white to avoid outshining the bride. The dress code is usually specified at the bottom of the invitation cards. Men are required to dress formally in a morning or lounge suit and ceremonial uniforms for guests of the British monarchy.
Knee-length dress and a hat is the royal wedding etiquette Credit; Expatwomen

8.    Royal wedding bouquets don’t suffer the toss.
Single ladies, if you receive an invite to a royal wedding, don’t go hoping to fight for the bridal bouquet! After the wedding, the royal bride lays her bouquet on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior, a tradition started by Queen Elizabeth when she married King George VI to honor her brother Fergus, who was killed in 1915 during WWI’s battle of Loos.  The tomb of the Unknown Warrior commemorates those who died in international military conflicts.

Princess Eugenie laid her bouquet on the tomb of the Unknown warrior Credit; EkaHouse.ru

9.    Bridal Tiaras are mandatory
The bride is expected to wear a tiara likely from the family’s jewelry collection.  Meghan Markle wore a tiara known as Queen Mary’s bandeau tiara, a royal family heirloom on loan from the Queen who also loaned the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik to Princess Eugenie on her wedding while Kate Middleton wore the Cartier Halo tiara. We all know the princess look is incomplete without a tiara.
Tiaras are a royal wedding tradition Credit; Tineke

10.    Carriage rides are royalty.
A horse coach usually transports the couple from the ceremony venue to the reception as they wave to the crowds providing the public an opportunity to see them and join in the celebrations. The royal family has different carriages to choose from like the Ascot Landau carriage, the Glass Coach,1902 State Landau
At their wedding, Princess Diana and Prince Charles rode in the 1902 State Landau Carriage on their way to Buckingham Palace. The carriage was initially built for King Edward VII for his coronation procession through London.
The official royal wedding ride is a horse carriage Credit; GoodTo

11.    Royalty demands a public wave by the newlyweds.
Tradition requires that the newly wedded couple and members of the royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham palace and wave to the crowd. The first recorded royal balcony appearance was when Queen Victoria stepped out during the celebration for the opening of the Great Exhibition and since then it has become a center piece of most royal celebrations

King Charles waves to the crowds on his wedding day Credit; Cosmopolitan

12.    Groom wears military regalia.

It is customary for males of the royal family to serve in the military. And as an extension, it is customary for them to wear their formal uniforms for the ceremony as a sign of respect to the royal throne that they serve and stand for.

Princes Harry and William match in step on Harry’s wedding day Credit; Esquire

13.    Family photos are a royal wedding tradition.

Like for most weddings, it is customary at royal weddings to take a family photo for memories sake and as a reminder of the most important people in the royal couple’s life that attended the wedding. This is a royal family photo!

The Royal family wedding photo at Harry’s wedding Credit; British Vogue

14.    Royal weddings don’t do groomsmen or bridesmaids.

Sorry groomsmen and bridesmaids, you are not welcome at royal weddings! Instead the groom has pageboys and little girls who typically walk down the aisle bearing rings, flowers or carrying the bride’s train. The children are usually royals themselves. However, the couple is allowed to have a maid of honor and best-man as seen when Harry and William were each other’s best man on their weddings.

Flower girls and pageboys are a real attraction at royal weddings Credit; Shutterstock

Tell us in the comment section below which fact you found most fascinating.

Cover Photo: It was a red carpet affair as William married Kate credit; Easyday

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