The British monarchy’s fashion coat is passing on to the younger generation


FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds her baby outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital before leaving with Prince William, in central London July 23, 2013. REUTERS/John Stillwell/POOL / Reuters_tickers

This content was published on September 20, 2022 – 10:50

By Mimosa Spencer and Richa Naidu

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) – The death of Queen Elizabeth II marks a shift in the relationship between fashion and the British monarchy, with younger members of the royal family, notably Catherine, Princess of Wales, likely taking on a bigger public role .

The late queen had a definite fashion formula – elegant coats, neat hats and block-heeled shoes shaped her familiar figure, as well as her handbag, which became a symbol of stability.

“The Queen was aware of the usefulness of a tool style to convey her image as a monarch,” said Alicia Healey, who worked in the Queen’s household for four years and has since written a book called “Wardrobe Wisdom from a Royal Lady’s Maid: how to dress and take care of your clothes”.

“I think, to some degree, her clothes were a uniform for her.”

While the fashion choices of the new monarch, King Charles III and his wife Queen Consort Camilla, will inevitably attract attention, they are both in their 60s, which means camera lenses will be more focused on the children of Charles, William and Harry – and their wives .

This could see a shift in the royal family’s association with fashion, moving from formal structures to closer – albeit restrained – styles.

With Harry and his wife Meghan now based in California, William’s wife Catherine, better known as Kate, is expected to command the sartorial gaze of the public, reminiscent of the days of William’s late mother Diana when she was Princess of Wales.

“I really think people are interested in the younger members of the family and what they wear because they relate a lot more to us, what we wear to parties or to work,” said the fashion critic and historian Suzy Menkes.


The styles worn by Kate, 40, are known to trigger buying frenzies. Jenny Packham’s polka dot dress she wore in 2013 after the eldest Prince George was born then sold out. It was seen as a tribute to Diana, also pictured polka-dotted as she returned home with baby Prince William.

Kate’s style is usually understated, but when she dresses up, it generates excitement, fashion experts say.

“Whenever the future queen wears something a little sexy and glamorous, people get really excited because Kate isn’t really someone who dresses like that,” said Menkes, who describes her style. like laid back but smart.

“It’s interesting to see how it’s going to change and if it’s going to take it up a notch and look a little more glamorous,” she said.

But that could be at odds with King Charles’ message of sustainability.

“Charles’ sustainability push calls for fashion to be a little more conscientious,” said Jennifer Castro, a West Palm, Fla.-based digital marketer whose fashion blog RoyalStyleWatch has more than 67,000 Instagram followers.

“Charles is someone who’s been wearing the same camel coat for 25 years – he’s very interested in buying quality items that will last,” Castro said.


Gerald Bodmer has lost count of the shiny Launer handbags Queen Elizabeth II bought from his company during her seven-decade reign, but the classic hand-stitched accessories have been part of her wardrobe since the 1950s and 1960s .

He estimates she’s ordered a dozen over the past 40 years, sticking to just a handful of models, like the subtle trapezoidal-shaped top-handle Traviata, which sells for around 2,090 pounds ( $2,390).

In her last public photo, with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss, she wore a pre-1980s Launer bag, while the creamy vanilla bespoke Lisa hybrid model she sported at William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 brought such a surge of interest that the company’s website crashed, according to the label.

For many, the accessory will forever be linked to the Queen.

“I never noticed any handbags except those carried by Her Majesty,” Menkes said. “Other people, of course, must have handbags, but they haven’t quite entered my soul.”

The Queen has set the bar high when it comes to finding the right tone, said Elizabeth Holmes, author of ‘HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style’.

“It’s incredibly wise of him to have recognized the power of clothing and harness to promote a kind of monarchy and support his royal duties,” Holmes said.

“There was never a time when the Queen missed the mark – when she was dressed inappropriately, when her wardrobe somehow failed. And for 70 years to be as consistent? I think we take that for granted.”

($1 = 0.8745 pounds)

(Reporting by Mimosa Spencer and Richa Naidu; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell, Matt Scuffham and Mark Potter)


About Author

Comments are closed.