While it is normal for brides to feel nervous the night before the wedding, a royal bride-to-be could be excused for feeling more anxious than most knowing she is about to be watched by millions around the world.
Some whisk themselves away to a exclusive hotels to calm their nerves with, perhaps, a pampering session before their grand entrance.
Others have taken a more light-hearted approach with Zara Tindall joining her husband-to-be Mike for a cocktail party aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia for her last night as a single woman.
And there are those who have spent the night before their wedding in confusion and uncertainty. Diana reportedly almost called off her wedding after – it is claimed – Charles told her the day before that he did not love her.
From booking out a five-star hotel to breaking tradition by spending the night with their husband-to-be, here is how the royal brides spent the night before the biggest day of all…
Princess Beatrice, was forced to postpone her wedding to Italian property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi due to the Covid-19 pandemic, later holding a secret ceremony in July 2020
The Queen’s granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, was forced to postpone her wedding to Italian property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She eventually held an intimate wedding in July 2020 attended by roughly 20 guests, including the Queen and Prince Philip.
The couple exchanged vows at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, in the grounds of Royal Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, home to parents Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson .
Weddings of up to 30 people were allowed under government guidelines at the time and the chapel, which can accommodate 180 people, was an ideal choice for social distancing.
Guests were sworn to secrecy, with overnight accommodation provided at Royal Lodge and Beatrice and Edo broke with tradition by spending the night before the wedding together.
While Beatrice’s celebrations before her wedding were likely restricted because of the pandemic, her younger sister Eugenie revealed a glimpse into the princess’ final day as an unmarried woman on her Instagram.
Princess Eugenie posted a selfie on Instagram of her with her older sister on the eve of Beatrice’s wedding
To celebrate her sister’s 32nd birthday, Eugenie posted a selfie of her and Beatrice taken the day before her wedding.
The pair sported a natural no-makeup look with Eugenie wearing a black floral blouse and Beatrice in a casual striped t-shirt and a peach scrunchie in her hair.
The photo was paired with one of the two sisters with their mother when they were younger and Eugenie captioned the post: ‘Happy happy Birthday dear Beabea.
‘Here we are on the eve of your wedding. Still rocking a scrunchie or hair accessory (since the 90s) and huge smiles on our faces.’
Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland spent the night before the wedding at Cliveden House hotel
Before marrying Prince Harry on 19 May 2018, Meghan spent the night at the five-star Cliveden House hotel in Berkshire with her mother, Doria Ragland.
The stylish country hotel is famed for being where the war minister John Profumo began his relationship with 19-year-old Christine Keeler in July 1961. It has played host to a number of notable guests including Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and the Queen Mother.
The bride-to-be enjoyed afternoon tea with the Queen and then headed to Cliveden, donning a £1,350 navy Roland Mouret Barwick dress and greeting royal fans.
Meghan also asked her closest friends, her dress designer and hairdresser to join her in the hotel which is around 25 minutes from Windsor Castle.
The details of Meghan’s wedding preparations were revealed in Finding Freedom, a book by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
While staying at the hotel, the bride-to-be (pictured arriving with her mother) was treated to a facial by celebrity skincare specialist Sarah Chapman
The stylish country hotel (pictured) is famed for being where the then war minister John Profumo began his relationship with 19-year-old Christine Keeler in July 1961
According to Hello!, the book revealed that celebrity skincare specialist Sarah Chapman came to Cliveden House to give Meghan a facial and energy-healing session.
She was then treated to a meal with a choice of autumn squash ravioli or grilled Dover sole prepared by Michelin-starred chef André Garret.
On the morning of the wedding, the duchess ate cereal and fresh fruit for breakfast and had her makeup and hair done to the soundtrack Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Holly and Ben E King.
Meghan stayed separate from the groom the night before her wedding, with Harry spending the night with best man Prince William at Coworth Park, a five-star country house which has hosted many a royal polo match and was the spot for Harry’s first public kiss with Meghan.
Zara attended a cocktail party onboard the Royal Yacht Britannia the day before her wedding to Mike Tindall
Princess Anne’s daughter Zara did not hold back on the celebrations in the nights before her wedding to former rugby player Mike Tindall on 30 July 2011.
The couple opted for a Scottish wedding, exchanging their vows at Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk before a reception, held courtesy of the Queen, at Holyroodhouse Palace.
After arriving at her wedding rehearsal the day before her wedding in flip flops, jeans and a hoodie, Zara later stepped out in a £500 tie-dye silk dress from U.S. label Alice and Olivia for an evening celebration aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The couple married in Scotland. They are pictured celebrating before their wedding at Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk
She was accompanied by her husband as well as a number of guests including Kate and William, the bride’s mother Princess Anne, her father Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and the Earl and Countess of Wessex for a pre-wedding cocktail party.
Guests were photographed in dinner suits and evening suits sipping pink champagne as the sun set over Edinburgh.
The yacht, permanently moored in the historic port of Leith, served the Queen for 44 years – although she did not attend the festivities.
Zara’s parents also honeymooned on the ship, cruising the West Indies in 1973.
The royal then spent the night at The Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh’s city centre where she had earlier spent the afternoon with her brother Peter’s ex-wife Autumn.
The party was attended by guests including Dave Clark (Princess Beatrice’s ex-boyfriend, far left), Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
The event was the second night of drinking for many of the guests who had partied at the Tigerlily Hotel in Edinburgh the night before.
When the bar closed, they had then headed downstairs to the hotel club, Lulu.
The group drank Veuve Clicquot champagne and Brazilian caipirinha cocktails as well as Grey Goose vodka with coke, lemonade, soda and Red Bull. They happily posed for pictures with other revellers.
The following day, Zara was back on the bubbly by 11am in her hotel’s Bollinger Bar, drinking £95-a-bottle Laurent Perrier Brut Rose champagne with friends.
Accompanied by Autumn, Sky sports presenter Di Dougherty and television presenter Natalie Pinkham, an old flame of Prince Harry, she spent three hours in the bar, leaving not long before her wedding rehearsal.
Kate spent her last night before becoming a royal at The Goring Hotel in Belgravia with her family (pictured outside the hotel with sister Pippa, left and mother Carole, right)
Kate spent her last night before becoming a royal at The Goring Hotel in Belgravia with her family.
She was seen greeting excited crowds as she arrived at the family-owned luxury hotel with her sister Pippa and her mother Carole in advance of her wedding to Prince William on 29 April 2011.
The bride-to-be moved into the £5,000-a-night Royal Apartment on the top floor of the hotel which was filled by staff with more than 20 bouquets of flowers in anticipation of her arrival.
The flowers, including white and red freesias, Eucharist lilies and roses, were supplied by Jenny Tobin Flowers, who also provided blooms for the film Love Actually.
Kate’s suite featured a dark-wood four-poster bed and one of the bathrooms had a vast walk-in shower featuring an oil painting behind a glass screen.
Designers also packed the apartment with antiques, hand-made furniture and ornaments with walls covered in Gainsborough silk costing £500 per square metre.
The bride-to-be moved into the £5,000-a-night Royal Apartment on the top floor of the hotel which was filled by staff with more than 20 bouquets in anticipation of her arrival
The Middletons booked out all of the hotel’s 71 rooms for their family and friends with the bill for the exclusive hire estimated at £85,000.
The family is also reckoned to have paid £25,000 for two parties at the hotel.
The night before the wedding, Kate treated 120 friends and family to a buffet. Carole and Michael also hosted an extravagant wedding party for a wider circle after the ceremony itself.
Prince William spent the eve of his wedding having a private dinner at Clarence House with the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.
Camilla, Queen Consort
In keeping with tradition, Charles and Camilla stayed apart the night before their wedding on 9 April 2005
In keeping with tradition, Charles and Camilla stayed apart the night before their wedding on 9 April 2005.
Camilla remained at Clarence House, her residency with Charles in London, with her sister Annabel Eliot and her daughter Laura while Charles spent the night at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire.
According to Vanity Fair, Camilla was suffering from sinusitis on the day of her wedding and Lucia Santa Cruz, the woman who introduced Charles and Camilla to each other, said: ‘She literally couldn’t get out of bed.’
It was reportedly thanks to younger sister Annabel that Camilla managed to find the energy to attend the wedding as she helped her sister get dressed for her big day.
Diana spent the night before her wedding in anticipation at Clarence House, joined by her sister Jane. Diana is pictured leaving St Paul’s Cathedral with Charles after the final rehearsal before their wedding in 1981
Global audiences waited excitedly for the wedding of 20-year-old Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles on 29 July 1981.
The young bride-to-be spent the night before her wedding in anticipation at Clarence House, joined by her sister Jane.
But after sitting down for dinner with her sister, Diana had an attack of bulimia, after ‘eating all I could find’.
Former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown described in her book The Diana Chronicles that, while there had been bouts of uncertainty from Diana about the wedding given Charles’ attachment to Camilla, she had been practically giddy the night before her wedding.
Billy Tallon, who worked for the Queen Mother at Clarence House, told Tina that Diana came downstairs from her bedroom looking for company and drank orange juice with him and an equerry, who drank something stronger.
She then spotted Billy’s bike and proceeded to ride it around the grounds of Clarence House ringing the bell and singing: ‘I’m going to marry the Prince of Wales tomorrow.’
Despite the difficulties in the relationship, Charles had reportedly given her his signet ring that day, accompanied by a card that read: ‘I’m so proud of you and when you come up I’ll be there at the altar for you tomorrow. Look ’em in the eye and knock ’em dead.’
Diana reportedly considered cancelling her wedding the night before after Charles told her ‘he didn’t love her’
But ITV documentary The Diana Interview: Revenge Of A Princess, which aired in 2020, revealed Diana’s devastation as she came to terms with the reality of her relationship with Charles the day before her wedding.
According to Princess Diana’s astrologer Penny Thornton, Charles had told Diana ‘he didn’t love her the night before their wedding’.
She explained that he had made the remarks because he didn’t ‘want to go into their marriage on a false premise’.
Penny divulged that Diana had even considered cancelling the event, adding: ‘She didn’t want to go through with the wedding at that point, she thought about not attending the wedding.’
Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip was preceded by a lavish party at the palace
A lavish party was held at Buckingham Palace the night before Princess Elizabeth’s wedding as a celebration of her upcoming marriage to Prince Philip.
The event was recounted by American journalist Cobina Wright, writing in the Journal-American in 1947 that the ‘magnificent reception’ hosted by the bride’s parents was ‘one of the most gorgeous sights I have ever seen in my life’.
A description in the New Yorker noted that Princess Elizabeth had worn a gown of ‘oyster white satin with a very bouffant skirt in which panels or paillettes were set in’.
Queen Mary is said to have worn a grey-blue dress with the ribbon of the Order of the Garter and the writer was astounded by the array of jewels worn by the guests.
She concluded that Elizabeth ‘looked fresh and dewy as ever last night despite the great burden of royal wedding preparations’.