“The Queen’s style has always been timeless,” historian and royal expert Amanda Foreman tells us. “No matter what decade you look at her, it’s always been slightly ahead of fashion, and yet at the same time, unplaceable. And that’s what makes her so special.”
Having spent a remarkable 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-serving monarch in British history, and her image has become inextricably linked with that of the United Kingdom. As such, her style has always been considered a signifier of the times; while in her later years she has become known as “the Queen of colour”, thanks to her penchant for block-colour brights – making her seem a pillar of strength and consistency – in the early years of her reign, she demonstrated through her wardrobe what it meant to be both a fashion-conscious mother and head of state.
“The Queen’s style evolved over time,” says costume designer Michele Clapton, who was responsible for the historically accurate looks seen in season one of royal Netflix drama, The Crown. “I think part of her style came around through necessity. Even before she became the Queen she was a style icon. People loved her and followed her like a movie star… She adapts to any situation, yet she always does it with dignity and with an eye for style.”
“She’s always on point – she never gets it wrong,” adds celebrity stylist Miranda Almond, who is also contributing fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s classic, it’s chic, it’s bold, colourful, sophisticated. She always makes sure that she stands out, but she never overtly stands out.”
So what style lessons can we learn from Her Majesty?
“For the older ladies, she’s such a style icon,” says Almond. “Why do you have to give up on your fashion choices as you get older? The Queen clearly hasn’t and I think that’s really encouraging. So I think the best style lesson you can take from the Queen is to stick to what you know and what works for you – and have a little bit of fun with it.”
Foreman agrees: “What’s so important about the Queen is that she is able to promote an idea of femininity and womanhood that is completely authentic and honest to being a woman. She hasn’t had to try to wear extra make-up or wear ‘sexy’ clothes, or pretend that she’s something other than what she is. That is very empowering for all women – to know that as they get older they can dress comfortably, they can dress beautifully, they can wear colours, but above all, they can be themselves and be respected.”
In our exclusive video above, the three experts dissect the Queen’s various looks through the ages, discuss what exactly it is that we all find so fascinating about royal fashion, and share what they think her enduring style legacy will be.
Videographer: Eleonora Cristin
Senior producer: Lauren McCall
Digital editor: Sarah Karmali
Hair and make-up: Laura Tucker
Locations: The Biltmore Mayfair and One Aldwych
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