With the engagement of Princess Beatrice to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, it’s time for another royal wedding and we have lots of questions about what to expect. How will Beatrice’s wedding compare to Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle’s recent nuptials? And can we expect either duchess to act as a bridesmaid for the Princess?
While Princess Beatrice hasn’t made any official announcements about her future bridal party, we can make a few assumptions based on tradition. Here’s what we know so far about royal weddings.
Royal weddings don’t have bridesmaids and groomsmen
In the United States, bridesmaids usually represent a group of the bride’s closest friends, but that’s not the case for British royal weddings. A different protocol has been in place since Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947.
Traditionally, British royal weddings do not have adult female bridesmaids. Instead, the bridal party is typically made up of children. Any adult friends or family of the bride and groom are traditionally called “supporters.” For example, when Prince Charles married Prince Diana, his brothers — Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — acted as his supporters.
The younger generations of royals have started to alter these traditions slightly, with the addition of a Maid of Honor or Best Man, instead of supporters. The Duchess of Cambridge asked her sister, Pippa Middleton to act as Maid of Honor, but she was the only adult female in the party besides the bride. Likewise, Prince William asked his brother, Prince Harry to act as Best Man. Then, when Prince Harry tied the knot a few years later, he returned the favor by asking Prince William to act as his Best Man as well.
However, a royal wedding does not require a Maid of Honor or a Best Man, or any adult bridesmaids and groomsmen.
How did Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie organize their wedding party?
Following tradition, Markle’s bridal party was made up of all children, including her new niece and nephew — Princess Charlotte and Prince George — and the three children of Markle’s best friend, Jessica Mulroney. She was unable to choose a Maid of Honor from among her friends, and so decided to follow tradition with only children in the bridal party. However, as noted earlier, Prince Harry did choose Prince William as Best Man.
When Princess Eugenie tied the knot last year, she organized her wedding in a similar way to her cousins. She chose her sister, Princess Beatrice, as the Maid of Honor. But, otherwise, Princess Eugenie had children in the bridal party. It’s likely Princess Beatrice will choose Princess Eugenie as her Maid of Honor as well since they are close sisters.
Would Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle be allowed to serve as bridesmaids?
Generally speaking, it’s unlikely that Duchess Kate or Duchess Meghan will be asked to be in the bridal party for Princess Beatrice’s wedding. She would likely choose Princess Eugenie as Maid of Honor and bridesmaids will probably not be used. However, there may be another reason as well.
When Pippa Middleton married her husband, she was unable to have her sister, Kate Middleton, be the Maid of Honor even though Pippa had served this role for Duchess Kate. Etiquette coach William Hanson told Cosmopolitan that it wouldn’t be becoming for Duchess Kate, who will be Queen Consort one day, to follow a commoner down the aisle.
While Princess Beatrice is not a commoner, she is lower down the royal line than the Duchess of Cambridge. As such, it would likely be against tradition for her, as future Queen Consort, to follow Princess Beatrice or act in a serving manner towards her.
There is always a chance that Princess Beatrice will do something unexpected with her wedding. Because she is further down the royal line, she does have more freedom in what she can do.
However, it would be unlikely that Middleton or Markle would be allowed to break tradition to serve Princess Beatrice, even if that was something the princess wanted. At this point, it seems very unlikely that Middleton or Markle would have any official role in Princess Beatrice’s wedding.