The world watched as Princess Eugenie arrived at her fairytale wedding to Jack Brooksbank in a low-cut bridal gown that showed off a scar on her backstemming from scoliosis surgery – and now royal fans can hear from the Queen’s granddaughter herself about her decision to display her scar on one of the biggest days of her life.
Outfits from Eugenie and Jack’s nuptials are now on display at Windsor Castle. Just like Meghan Markle and Prince Harry did when their wedding ensembles went on display last year, Eugenie lent her voice to the exhibition’s audio guide, opening up about choosing to let her scar show.
“I had always wanted a low back – part of it was showing my scar and I believe scars tell a story about your past and your future, and it’s a way of getting rid of a taboo,” the royal, who had surgery at 12 years old to correct her scoliosis, says. “For me, it’s a way of communicating with people who are going through either similar situations with scoliosis or having a scar of their own that they are trying to deal with.”
She continued, “We started getting a lot of letters from people who were happy that I had stood up and showed my scar, and people with scoliosis, letters from girls that are going through the same thing and I definitely was very touched by everyone’s support.”
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Eugenie’s stunning gown, which featured a fitted bodice and full pleated skirt, was designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, who founded the British-based label Peter Pilotto, in London in 2007. The brand is known for its innovative textile design, paired with a modern, feminine silhouette – yet this was a brand new task for them.
“It was actually the first wedding dress we ever did so it says a lot about how forward-thinking Princess Eugenie is to trust us with this very important task,” Pilotto says in the audio guide.
The design team took inspiration from Queen Elizabeth’s bridal gown, using very intricate jacquard fabric to weave meaningful motifs and symbols – such as a shamrock representing mom Sarah Ferguson’s Irish heritage, the White Rose of York and an Ivy representing the couple’s home of Ivy Cottage – into the dress.
“The fabric is so extraordinary, the level of detail and attention that has gone into creating this bespoke jacquard weave is really fascinating,” explains curator Caroline de Guitaut. “It does the same job as embroidery but in a totally different very modern way. There’s a tradition and modernity and I think that goes through everything. I think that really comes through.”
Princess Eugenie was heavily involved in the designing process, revealing that she “immediately could vision” her look after Jack proposed.
Part of that vision? No veil.
“I think it was interesting for her not to have a veil which is very modern but I suppose it’s because she wanted there to be this attention on the back silhouette and a veil would have covered that,” says de Guitaut.
Also on display – for the first time ever! – is the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara that Eugenie wore for her big day.
“I’ve never worn a tiara before in my life,” she says. “It was the most incredible thing to wear such a piece of history that my grandmother had lent me, very proud moment and the beautiful earrings were a gift from my husband.”
After the wedding comes the evening reception – and an outfit change! Princess Eugenie’s gorgeous blush silk gown from American designer Zac Posen, which she wore for her private evening reception at Royal Lodge on her wedding night, is also on display.
“I’ve had a lifelong admiration for him as a designer – and because Zac is based in New York and I lived there for some time when I was younger, and for me it was an easy decision to make and Zac is such a cool, fun, brilliant designer and friend,” Eugenie shares. “I wanted something reminiscent of Grace Kelly in ‘To Catch a Thief,’ so I showed that for reference and Zac came up with this silk that he had found from Manchester, every single draping effect, every single detail, every button is all painstakingly done by him and his team.”
Eugenie’s big sister, Princess Beatrice, served as her maid of honor in a deep royal blue dress by Ralph & Russo — a surprising choice since the bride’s right-hand woman has worn ivory in previous royal weddings. She accessorized with a thick headband-style fascinator in shades of purple by Sarah Cant and added a bee brooch.
“I’ve always looked up to Beatrice as a big sister and she looked so beautiful on that day in this wonderful Ralph and Russo creation that I was so proud and honored to be able to walk down the aisle and immediately see her smiling face in such a beautiful outfit,” Eugenie says.
Visitors to the exhibition can also see the page boy and bridesmaid outfits by Amaia worn by Louis De Givenchy and Theodora Williams on the big day.
Eugenie ends the audio recording, “This was the most special day of our entire lives and we’re so grateful to all the wonderful people who were able to take part and to make this day so unbelievably perfect for Jack and me and we just hope you really enjoy seeing all these beautiful parts of our wedding.”