A look at Queen Elizabeth II’s style through the decades
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With 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II’s wardrobe has inadvertently become a signature of the English monarchy. As she prepares to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this year at 96 years old, fans have highlighted her style wins throughout her life as a royal, from her bright coats to her trademark tiaras.
Born in 1926 and the first daughter of King George VI and the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth’s style was of much fascination from the get-go.
She was often dressed in frilly cotton rather than anything too exuberant and soon began twinning with her younger sister, Margaret, when she was born 4 years later.
“She wore what she was told without argument, apart from a long, drab mackintosh that she loathed,” the Queen’s former governess, Marion Crawford, had said in her memoir.
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As the Queen entered her teenage years and her role as the apparent heir to the throne became clear, her style became much more practical. Norman Hartnell was deemed responsible for dressing the royal family, as well as the princesses as they began their public appearances.
Queen Elizabeth would often be seen wearing light-colored, short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses during her appearances as well as her photo ops with her future husband, Prince Philip.
As is custom with any royal wedding, Queen Elizabeth’s wedding was highly anticipated for both the royal family and fans. Due to the nature of foreign affairs post-World War II, materials used in the dress were confirmed to have come from “nationalist” China rather than “enemy” Japan.
In fact, the Queen saved up ration coupons to use towards her dress materials after thousands of U.K. citizens began sending in their own, according to Bethan Holt, fashion editor of The Telegraph.
“It showed the thirst there was in the country for this big moment of glamour,” Holt said.
The wedding was broadcasted on BBC Radio, with highlights later featured on television, according to BBC. Behind the scenes, the Queen was not immune to a few bumps in the road, with Queen Mary’s Fringe tiara snapping and rushed to repair before the ceremony.
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As a married royal, Queen Elizabeth began to carve out her style a bit more. She often sported “nipped-in waists” and pencil silhouettes, vastly different from the styles she uses today.
“In the early years of her reign, she really embraced Dior’s New Look aesthetic, and women looked to her outfits as a source of inspiration, much like people do with the Duchess of Cambridge today,” said Kristin Contino, Pag Six style reporter.
Starting in the 70s, the Queen began to play around with brighter colors, wearing a multi-colored evening dress to a 1999 Royal Variety Performance. The Queen has kept this style trait up until today.
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Despite the Queen solidifying her royal uniform of skirts and blouses, she would occasionally experiment with her looks. A standout of hers was in October 1952 when she wore a tuxedo-like Hartnell gown to the Empire Theater. Her unorthodox styling that evening landed her on the front page of newspapers the next day.
The Queen’s love for monochromatic looks has been a constant during her time on the throne but has become that much more apparent as the years have gone on. The Queen is more often known now for wearing bright pastels with a matching handbag and umbrella (if the weather calls for it).
“She’s a bit like a schoolteacher, a good schoolteacher. She never shocks. She gets it right,” Irish designer Paul Costelloe said.
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With the Jubilee just a few days away, fans can be assured the Queen will most definitely look the part no matter what she wears.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.