Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II is now our longest serving monarch, having celebrated her sapphire jubilee. She has reigned the country for 65 years with grace, duty and dignity, impressing us all with her impeccable fashion.
Never allowing standards to drop, she leaves us wondering how she manages to look polished and effortlessly sophisticated at every single royal engagement. So what are the Queen’s biggest style secrets?
The Great British Weather
We can plan for a lot of things, but the weather? Even Her Royal Highness can’t plan for that! What can start off as a bright, warm day can switch to rain and wind in a matter of hours.
So, with the unreliable weather, the Queen needs to be dressed, somehow, for all weathers.
The fabric of her coats and dresses are all tested before she can wear them. She has a team which test the fabric with an electrical fan to establish the movement in wind. In some cases, small curtain weights are sewn into the hem to achieve the desired movement.
With the likelihood of a shower normally pretty high, the Queen is often never seen without an umbrella. Her choice? A clear, bird-cage, ladies umbrella designed by Royal Warrant holders, Fulton Umbrellas.
Each umbrella is designed in advance to match the colour of her outfit. They receive a swatch of fabric months before the engagement to ensure the clear umbrella’s coloured hem is a perfect match to her outfit.
Colour by occasion
The Queen is known for wearing an array of colours over the years – and she seems to suit them all. Believe it or not, each colour is carefully picked out for each event to reflect the nature of the engagement. For example, for her Diamond Jubilee concert, she wore gold influenced by the Queen Victoria Memorial statue the stage was built around.
In addition, careful consideration of colours is used to avoid her blending in. She must always stand out in the crowds. For example, when engagements are located in parks, the Queen will be difficult to see in a green outfit.
Finally, her team also need monitor when she wears each colour to make sure similar shades are not worn closely together. Her team actually keep their own hand written diaries to keep a record of what was worn, on what date, and to which occasion.
Royal engagements can be long – staying perfectly polish for the duration can be difficult. All of her majesty’s outfits must be practical for all occasions.
Visits that involve car journeys must be considered. The Queen must be able to access and depart the car with ease and grace. Her hats are designed with this in mind. Her designer, Rachel Trevor-Morgan has to consider height and width so that it does not obscure her face, or cause an obstruction when getting out her vehicle.
In addition to car journeys, some engagements involve long periods of sitting – for both, it is important that the Queen’s outfit remains pristinely pressed. For this, each designer is required to use a wrinkle-proof material.
Her accessories are no exception either. With shoes, her heel height is strictly kept at 2.25 inches to ensure her comfort at long engagements. Insoles are often added too for added greater comfort.
Launer’s Royale and Traviata bags are the Queen’s preferred handbag, specifically designed with a longer handle so that it doesn’t interfere with any handshaking or her three-quarter length sleeves. Even the contents are carefully considered with a thought for weight depending on how long she will be carrying it for. Although nobody really knows what’s inside her majesty’s handbag, it’s rumoured to contain reading glasses, mints, a compact mirror, lipstick and a fountain pen. She also only carries cash on a Sunday — and it’s always either a £5 or £10 note that is precisely folded.
With so many Royal engagements to attend, it’s no wonder she has a team to keep an outfit diary. The Queen will occasionally re-wear the same outfit, but her team will ensure that the rotation is never close together.
As she continues to make sophisticated and polished look easy, at least we too can give it a try now.