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Woman & Home
Woman & Home
Emma Shacklock

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie's rare wedding rule that was broken in spectacular style

Prince Edward and Sophie wave to well-wishers from a carriage on their way from Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony 19 June 1999.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie's rare wedding rule was broken in spectacular style by a member of the Royal Family back in 1999.

There’s nothing quite like a royal wedding to capture the world’s imagination and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh’s big day was a little different to the ones we’ve seen more recently. Unlike Prince William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 and Prince Harry and Meghan’s in 2018, there were no military or ceremonial elements in Prince Edward and Sophie’s wedding in 1999. The couple tied the knot at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on 19th June and this year is their 25th anniversary. All those years ago, they reportedly made another unique choice for their nuptials that concerned the dress code.

As per, the couple are said to have asked people to wear evening clothing but not hats which are a staple accessory for most royal weddings. However, Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie’s wedding rule was broken in style by a member of the groom’s family.

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Prince Edward’s late grandmother the Queen Mother attended the wedding wearing a lavender feather-adorned hat that was nothing short of spectacular. The decoration was very statement and added texture to her look, whilst the soft pastel shade is one of this year’s biggest spring/summer fashion colour trends decades later.

She coordinated her hat with her pale blue outfit and finished off her wedding guest outfit with silver court shoe heels and a matching handbag, alongside her beautiful pearl necklace. It seems that the Queen Mother wanted to keep to her signature style rather than adhering strictly to Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie’s reported wedding rule.

(Image credit: Photo by UK Press/Getty Images)

The Queen Mother was generally always seen wearing some kind of hat and so upholding this tradition in 1999 was something that might not have entirely surprised the bride and groom and they likely wouldn't have minded at all.

Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, was also known for her love of hats but she only slightly bent the dress code rule at the Edinburghs’ nuptials by going for a lilac headpiece. This wasn’t a full-on hat and had plenty of feathers cascading over to one side for an eye-catching final effect. Princess Anne opted for a single green feather at the back of her hairstyle, though the other guests, including Zara Tindall, went headpiece-free. 

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie’s wedding rule seemingly reflected their desire for their wedding to be a little less formal and more low-key than the weddings of the rest of Queen Elizabeth’s children.

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Speaking ahead of their big day in early 1999, Prince Edward was asked about what kind of wedding he and Sophie hoped theirs would be.

"A family one, hopefully. I mean there's no such thing as a private wedding, but I hope that it will be predominantly a family wedding," he explained, as per Hello!

Meanwhile, Duchess Sophie remarked, "I think any marriage is a very personal thing, naturally there's going to be more interest in us than there would be in any other people, but it is a personal matter and it's a family occasion."

The day was certainly very personal to them and Duchess Sophie wore a gorgeous wedding dress by Samantha Shaw, as well as custom black and white pearl earrings and a necklace that were carefully designed by Prince Edward. 

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