Now that the Royal Wedding is over, it is time to look at the clothes that were worn by the main participants. First of all, I must say that the bride looked beautiful. While I am generally not a huge fan of sleeves on a wedding gown, one must bear in mind that she had little choice in that matter. Considering this, I think the delicate lace sleeves were a perfect solution and the dress designer, Sarah Burton, at Alexander McQueen did a marvelous job.
The men in uniform looked very dapper:
Prince William – Uniform of Colonel of the Irish Guards
First of all, let’s start with the groom. Not many would have expected to see Prince William in a scarlet red Irish Guards Mounted Officer’s uniform in the Guard of Honour Order, but I think he made an excellent choice! As a matter of fact, Prince William is commissioned in all three Armed Services. In the past, he has served actively with the Army (The Household Cavalry Regiment) as well as with the Royal Air Force (Search and Rescue Force). As such, he was basically entitled to wear a uniform of either service. In February 2011, William was appointed to the honorary rank of Colonel of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards by the Queen. While
some expected him to wear the more subdued Royal Air Force uniform, he obviously decided to wear the uniform of his senior honorary appointment in the Army, the tunic of the Irish Guards since it was his uniform with the highest rank. However, it must be mentioned that he decided to display the famous wings of the RAF on his light blue Garter Sash as well as the Garter Star and the Golden Jubilee Medal – not a bad compromise in my opinion.
Traditionally, on ceremonial occasions, the tunic of the Irish Guards is worn with a bearskin hat. However, Prince William went with a Forage Cap that had an eight-pointed Star of the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick insignia. Also, the regiment’s motto, “Quis Separabit?” was inscribed, which means “who shall separate us?” Of course, he wore the obligatory white gloves with it. Although he had gold sword slings on his left, he did not wear a sword. In addition, he wore another sash in gold and crimson red since he was in the presence of at least one member of the Royal Family.
The tunic itself has this wonderful scarlet red tone, which is also known as the Guards’ Red, with typical buttons in in groups of four – just take a look at the prominent sleeve buttons. Although you can not see them clearly in this picture, these buttons show the Harp of Ireland surmounted by the Crown Imperial. Interestingly, the precise arrangement of buttons on the tunic reveals to insiders that the Irish Guards’ position is in the Fourth Regiment of Foot Guards.
Prince William’s trousers feature the traditional red stripe and are cut very narrowly, as you would expect from a military uniform. His shoes / boots were black, simple and very shiny. Surprisingly, he also wore some gold spurs, as you can see in the picture!
Interestingly, the entire uniform, including headwear, was tailored and fitted by Mr Russell Kashket from KASHKET & PARTNERS LTD, and not by one of the Savile Row tailoring houses. In addition, Kashket also provided uniforms and clothing for the other men of the wedding party.
The last time a red uniform was worn by a groom in a Royal wedding was in 1973 when Captain Mark Phillips, at the time an officer with the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, married Anne, Princess Royal.
Irish Guards Background
Originally, the Irish Guards regiment was formed on April 1, 1900 by order of Queen Victoria in order to commemorate the Irish soldiers who fought in the Boer War for the British Empire. Based in Victoria Barracks, Windsor, The Irish Guards battalion consists of five companies with a variety of supporting arms. At the moment, it is deployed to Afghanistan. Members of the Irish Guards are generally recruited from all over the UK, but particularly from Northern Ireland.
Kashket & Partners Ltd are ceremonial, military & bespoke civilian tailors, with a shop located within the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
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Prince Harry – Blues and Royals Officer’s Uniform in Dismounted Review Order.
Prince William’s best man, his brother, Henry, who is better known as Prince Harry, wore a Blues and Royals officer’s uniform in Dismounted Review Order and a Forage Cap that carried the badge of the Blues and Royals, with inscriptions of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Moreover, he wore a gold
waist belt with sword sling, just like his brother, without a sword. Instead, he had gold aiguillettes (ornamental braided cords), a cross-belt and he proudly carried the Wings of the Army Air Corps and Golden Jubilee and Afghanistan Campaign medals.
The red stripe on his trousers was even wider than the ones on William’s trousers. Of course, he also wore white gloves, black shiny shoes and gold spurs. Note the red piping along the edges of the coat.
Prince Charles – Full Royal Navy Number One Ceremonial Uniform
Their father, Prince Charles of Wales, decided to wear his Royal Navy Number One ceremonial uniform with a sword, Forgage Cap and white gloves.
Prince Philip – The Duke of Edinburgh & Other Members of the Royal Family
The Duke of Edinburgh was dressed in a red Grenadier Guards uniform, which was very similar to William’s uniform, with the exception that he had considerably more decorations. The Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Gloucester as well the Duke of Kent also wore their military dress uniforms. I particularly like Michael of Kent’s vivid royal blue Sash.
Altogether, the uniforms looked very nice indeed.
Picture credit: AP, BBC One, Wikimedia.