The fashionable mantle of the British monarchy passes to a new generation

PARIS/LONDON, Sept 20 (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, particularly Catherine, Princess of Wales, likely to receive a public Bigger. role.

The late queen had a precise fashion formula – elegant coats, ornate hats and square-heeled shoes shaped her signature silhouette, as did her bag, which became a symbol of stability.

“The Queen was aware of how useful a tool style was to help 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 Lady’s Maid: how to dress and care for your clothes”.

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“I think, to some extent, 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 seventies, meaning the camera lens will focus more on the children of Charles, William and Harry – and their spouses. .

This could see a shift in the royals’ association with fashion from formal structures to more intimate – if restrained – styles.

With Harry and his wife Meghan now living in California, William’s wife Catherine, popularly known as Kate, is set to maintain the public’s sartorial gaze, recalling the era of William’s late mother Diana, when she was the Princess of Wales.

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


The styles worn by Kate, 40, have been known to spark a shopping frenzy. The polka dot dress by Jenny Packham that she wore in 2013 after giving birth to her first child, Prince George, was subsequently sold. It was seen as a tribute to Diana, who was also spotted walking home with baby Prince William.

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

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

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

But doing so may be at odds with King Charles’ messages of stability.

“The expectation of Charles’ durability calls for a little more conscious fashion,” said Jennifer Castro, a West Palm, Florida-based digital marketer whose fashion blog RoyalStyleWatch has more than 67,000 followers on Instagram.

“Charles is someone who’s had the same camel coat for 25 years — he’s very much about buying quality items that will last,” Castro said.


Gerald Bodmer has lost count of the glittering Launer bags 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 60s.

He estimates she has commissioned about a dozen over the past 40 years, sticking to just a handful of models, such as the high-handled Traviata in a subtle trapezoid shape, which sells for around £2,090 ( $2,390).

In her last public photo, with Britain’s new prime minister Liz Truss, she carried a pre-1980s Launer bag, while the creamy vanilla custom Lisa hybrid she wore to William and Kate’s 2011 wedding evoked such a flurry of interest for the company. the website crashed, according to the label.

For many, the accessory will forever be associated with the Queen.

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

The Queen set a high bar when it came to striking the right tone, said Elizabeth Holmes, author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style.

“It is exceedingly clever of her to have recognized the power of robes and armor to promote a kind of monarchy and support her royal duties,” said Holmes.

“There was never a moment where the Queen missed the mark – where she was inappropriately dressed, where her outfits failed in some way. And for 70 years to be so consistent? I think we take it as of course.”

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

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Richa Naidu

Thomson Reuters

London-based journalist covering retail and consumer goods, analyzing trends including coverage of supply chains, advertising strategies, corporate governance, sustainability, politics and regulation. Previously wrote for US-based retailers, major financial institutions and covered the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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