Tradition plays a huge role in royal funeral attire, and members of the Royal Family will have known for months in advance what they are wearing for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral next Monday, September 19. Everyone will be in black, but there will be key details to look out for.
Kate, the Princess of Wales, and the Duchess of Sussex are likely to be wearing black veils on the day of the Queen’s funeral next week, due to a long-held royal tradition.
Female members of the Royal Family, including non-working royals like Meghan, must wear a traditional black lace veil in some form.
Called “mourning veils”, the black lace veil is symbolic as it demonstrates that the one who wears it is in mourning.
There is also a more practical element to the accessory: it allows the wearer the privacy to grieve as it is more difficult for others to see their face.
Mathew Storey, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, revealed that it was Queen Victoria who set the standard for traditional royal mourning clothes. He said: “Mourning dress has been part of European royal culture for centuries, but it reached its peak in the 19th century with the influence of Queen Victoria, who set a standard for the rest of society to follow.
“When her beloved husband died in 1861 she abandoned the colourful clothes of her married life and, with the rest of the royal court, adopted black clothing as an outward sign of grief. Her subjects duly followed suit, causing a rush on suppliers of mourning fabric up and down the country.”
At their father’s funeral in 1936, the new Queen Elizabeth, her mother, her grandmother Queen Mary, and her sister Princess Margaret, all wore long black veils, said to be around 18 inches over the face and one and a half yards down the back.
The Telegraph said at the time: “There is no court regulation with regards to them, but the practice of wearing them has always been observed at the funeral of a sovereign.”
However, at the funeral of the Duke of Windsor, or King Edward VIII until his abdication, in 1972, the Royal Family didn’t wear veils.
But the late Duke’s wife, Wallis Simpson, went against the grain: she sported a couture coat and chiffon veil that Hubert de Givenchy had reportedly stayed up all night making for her.
Easy way to deep clean a ‘filthy’ rug in less than 10 minutes [VIDEO]
Keep bread fresh & mould-free for 3 wks with quirky food storage hack [EXPERT]
Easy way to clean pillows without a washing machine [COMMENT]
As for Meghan, she couldn’t attend Philip’s funeral as she was pregnant at the time and was advised not to fly to Britain from Montecito, California.
However, she paid her respects to her late grandfather-in-law in her own way by making sure that a personal wreath and a handwritten note were laid during the ceremony.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes also confirmed at the time that Meghan watched the televised event from home.
The wreath of flowers sent by Meghan and Harry was designed by one of the couple’s favourite florists, Willow Crossley, who also provided the floral arrangements for the evening of their wedding day, as well as for their son Archie’s christening.
It was understood that the special wreath included symbolic flowers that were picked with deliberate care, such as bear’s breeches, the national flower of Greece, and sea holly, which is a clear nod to the Duke’s time spent in the Royal Marines.
Other poignant flowers featured in the wreath includes campanula, which is said to symbolise eternal love and gratitude, and rosemary, a traditional flower of remembrance.
But, on this occasion, Meghan will not need to send a wreath as she will be at the Queen’s funeral in person on September 19.
Like Kate, it is expected Meghan will be wearing a subtle veil, as well as an all-black outfit and perhaps a hat.