It’s official: Queen Elizabeth II has been a reigning monarch for 70 years! This Sunday, February 6, marked the anniversary of her majesty’s ascension to the throne, making her the first royal in England’s history to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. In her seven decades as a ruler, she has not only served as the country’s head of state, but as a fashion icon, too, inspiring, surprising, and delighting us with her royal style, which has evolved right alongside the many phases of her storied reign.
Evolution of Elizabeth’s dresses
With her legacy of era-defining looks, Queen Elizabeth II is indisputably a style icon. As a young princess, the royal wore floral tea dresses and pleated frocks typical of the 1930s and 1940s, graduating to skirt suits and ball gowns as she stepped up to the stately dressing.
In 1947, she married in a dress fit for a future queen, designed by couturier Norman Hartnell; it featured delicate pearl and crystal embroidery and a dramatic 13ft train. Hartnell became one of her official dressmakers when she succeeded her father to the throne in 1952, keeping the Queen in elegant tulle gowns for state banquets and receptions overseas. For her day-to-day wardrobe, the Queen enlisted designer Hardy Amies (until 1990); while milliner Freddie Fox was among those entrusted with creating her vast array of hats, until his retirement in 2002.
Today, the monarch turns to dressmakers Stewart Parvin and Angela Kelly for her colorful skirt suits which, according to daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, she wears to ensure crowds can see her. As well as her bright ensembles, the Queen is rarely without her trademark Launer handbag and Anello & Davide loafers, which she has worn for the last 50 years. When off duty at the Balmoral and Sandringham estates, she’s often seen in tweed and her signature printed headscarves, sourced from the likes of Burberry and Hermès (as seen when she travelled to Norfolk for Christmas 2019). Here are the untold details of a few of her most popular dresses on the internet:
Annual speech at the State Opening of Parliment, 2017
It is widely believed that the Queen made a subtle political statement in her choice of outfit for the 2017 State Opening of Parliament, the first following the UK’s Brexit vote. Her Majesty wore an intricate royal blue jacquard coat and matching hat, which featured yellow-centered flowers, and bore a suspicious resemblance to the EU flag.
The Trooping The Color ceremony, 2016
Her Majesty’s love of color is well-known and reached its peak in 2016 when the Queen wore a very bright neon green coat-dress and matching hat by Stewart Parvin for a special Trooping The Color to celebrate her 90th birthday. The look quickly broke the internet and spawned hundreds of hilarious ‘Green Screen Queen’ memes.
Memorial service honoring Prince Philip, 2022
Livery, for a quick definition, is the distinctive clothing worn by a person of rank—and their household. The Duke of Edinburgh’s official livery color is dark green, known as Edinburgh Green. It has been used for staff liveries; the Duke of Edinburgh’s page at the coronation wearing dark green and silver, and private cars, according to the British monarchy’s official website. For Prince Philip’s funeral last April, the Range Rover carrying his coffin was retrofitted in the shade. The queen accented her Edinburgh Green outfit with a diamond-and-ruby brooch that was a gift from Philip in 1966.