On Friday, the world marveled over Princess Eugenie‘s royal wedding dress as she married Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle. The white gown was designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, and featured a folded v-shaped neckline, long sleeves, and what might as well have be a mile-long train. But one of the most important details of her wedding dress was the back, which was cut into a deep v-shape in order to highlight the spinal surgery scar that spans from her neck to her shoulder blades.
Prior to the event, Eugenie shared that she specifically selected a neckline that wouldn’t hide her scar. “I’m patron of [the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Appeal], and I had an operation when I was 12 on my back,” she told ITV. “It’s a lovely way to honor the people who looked after me and a way of standing up for young people who also go through this.” She added: “I think you can change the way beauty is, and you can show people your scars and I think it’s really special to stand up for that.”
It’s safe to say women around the world more than appreciated the gesture—they identified with it. Twitter users immediately began sharing their own experiences with spinal surgery, along with how much the validation of feeling seen meant to them.
Ashley Tait, a 26-year-old hairdresser from Kelso, Scotland, tweeted that Eugenie’s scar makes her feel “ok” about her own. And she tells Glamour that it’s giving her the power to show hers off as well. “I was very surprised—it’s not very often you see someone else who has gone through the same procedure such as scoliosis surgery,” says Tait. “I only really show off my scar if I’m telling the story about my surgery. But now that Princess Eugenie has shown her scar to the world, I feel like I should have the confidence to show mine also.”
Izzy Anstee, a 19-year-old student from London, feels similarly. According to Anstee, she’s struggled with self esteem issues after having surgery for scoliosis when she was 15. Eugenie’s gown, however, is changing her mindset. “Seeing her scar made me feel really empowered,” Anstee tells Glamour. “I’ve felt very self conscious about my scar for quite a few years and would never dream of wearing anything backless. But seeing Eugenie’s dress and how beautiful she looked in it made me realize that maybe I shouldn’t feel the need to hide it.”
While Jennifer Scarpinito, a 38-year-old accountant from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hasn’t had to receive surgery for scoliosis, she says she feels comfort in knowing that others can relate to what she’s gone through. Plus, she hopes this movement will help women everywhere feel confident in their own skin. “I think [Eugenie] showing her scar will continue to inspire women to feel beautiful and confident no matter what shape or size or pain they may be in. This was the biggest day of her life and she showed who is is both inside and out.”
For Melanie Pollard, 44, administrator in Warrington, Cheshire, UK, it’s a sign of hope for her 5-year-old daughter, who had spinal surgery at 14 months old. “My daughter Connie saw the picture of the scar and was absolutely thrilled that a ‘real life princess’ had a scar on her back just like she did,” she shares. “She thought that was amazing.”
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