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Detail from a portrait of the marriage of Princess Helena

The history of Royal weddings as seen through items in the Royal Collection

Wedding fans

A number of fans now in the Royal Collection have associations with royal weddings. Fans were an essential fashion accessory for ladies by the eighteenth century, and would be used in many social settings, including weddings. Marriage fans usually depict subjects associated directly with marriage. The imagery may reflect part of the marriage contract or the ceremony and accompanying celebrations, such as a wedding feast, or may be symbolic, such as the altar of Hymen, god of marriage. These fans may well have been used at weddings by the bride and possibly by her attendants. Queen Charlotte's wedding preparations for her marriage to George III in 1761 included 'a Dozen of Fans now preparing at Margarets in Bucklesbury'.