Queen Elizabeth II: 70 years in style
On Thursday 8th September, Buckingham Palace announced the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, generating a wave of profound sadness across the nation.
There is no doubt the longest-reigning sovereign of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth has left an unparalleled legacy. She will be remembered for modernising the monarchy, her unwavering Christian faith and her ability to unite people – not forgetting her commanding sense of style.
Queen Elizabeth frequently used fashion as a means of communication or reflection of the country’s state. For example, her Norman Hartnell wedding gown was crafted from Duchesse satin, purchased with ration vouchers, as was typical for brides of the time.
The nation repeatedly witnessed The Queen’s diplomatic colour choices. When visiting Canada, she selected red and white ensembles to reflect the Canadian flag, along with a diamond maple leaf brooch. Meanwhile, a visit to Ireland saw her wearing the Republic’s national colour, green.
The Queen’s senior dresser and personal adviser, Angela Kelly, explained in her book, “When Her Majesty visits a school or a children’s centre, she is always dressed in a bright, jolly colour, and her hat has the kind of details that will appeal to youngsters – feathers, twirls, twists, flowers and ribbons.”
The Queen’s wardrobe was underpinned by several staples, including a Launer bag, gloves, block-heeled pumps and an unrivalled collection of heirloom brooches, which saw her through thousands of royal engagements. She also owned countless “Birdcage” umbrellas, made by Fulton, to match each outfit in case of wet weather, with the edging and handle corresponding to the exact shade of her clothing.
Queen Elizabeth famously said, “If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am,” and, subsequently, head-to-toe colour became synonymous with the monarch’s presence. Her consistent, well-chosen wardrobe ensured she always stood out from the crowd, despite being just 5’4 in height.
It is, therefore, safe to say that the world knew – and admired – Elizabeth ll, not only for her extraordinary generosity, graciousness and unceasing sense of duty but also for her notable style repertoire.