The Queen reportedly has the final say on this major element of all royal weddings

There are many rules surrounding royal weddings – and the Queen signs off on this one particular feature

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart Westminster Abbey after there marriage on April 29, 2011 in London, England
(Image credit: Samir Hussein / Contributor via Getty)

Protocol dictates that the Queen has the final say on a big (possibly the biggest!) element of all royal weddings – meaning some of the most iconic weddings in history could have looked very different.

Over the years we’ve seen many a beautiful royal wedding. Prince William and Kate Middleton will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary this year, having got married in April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. How time flies!

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave from the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England

(Image credit: WPA Pool / Pool via Getty)

Then in 2018, both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank tied the knot at St George’s Chapel, Windsor – in May and October respectively.

The most recent royal bride, however, was Princess Beatrice, who married her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a low-key ceremony last July during the ongoing pandemic.

But all of these royal wedding photographs could have looked very different indeed, as the Queen has the final say on the bride’s gown. While the bride will usually choose her dress and designer initially, the monarch reportedly has to give her final approval before the wedding day. 

Harper's Bazaar reports that Duchess Catherine showed the Queen her Alexander McQueen dress (designed by Sarah Burton) during the design process, as well as the final gown ahead of her big day.

Meghan's Markle's wedding dress would have been shown to the monarch ahead of her wedding day, as would Princess Eugenie for her beautiful dress designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos. Princess Beatrice’s wedding dress was in fact lent to her by her grandmother. 

According to HELLO! there are also some royal restrictions surrounding a bride's choice of wedding gown.

Jack Brooksbank and Princess Eugenie leave St George's Chapel after their wedding ceremony on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England

(Image credit: Pool/Max Mumby / Contributor via Getty)

Rules around royal brides’ wedding dresses exclude short hemlines, low necklines and having one’s shoulders on display.

However, there is clearly some flexibility for the evening reception, as Meghan Markle’s simple and elegant high-necked second gown showed off her shoulders.

Just think, all those royal weddings could have looked so different if Her Majesty had said no to the iconic dresses!

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.