She has been at the head of the United Kingdom for longer than any other monarch, and seen her people through landmark events both good and bad – now we take a look back at the amazing fashion history of Queen Elizabeth II.
In June 1953, 27-year-old Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne and became the Queen of England and ruler of much of the free world. She used her wardrobe to convey an image of a stately world leader and was aided – to this end – by two couturiers in particular: Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. Hartnell was the designer commissioned to create her coronation and wedding gowns and many of the shimmering satin confections that she wore to glamorous state occasions, while Amies primarily took care of Her Majesty’s daytime wardrobe.
Over the years, the Queen has become famous for wearing bright, block colours, pearl necklaces, pristine white gloves, headscarves and plaid skirts. Now her style is iconic, with her Launer handbags instantly recognisable and synonymous with her and Dolce & Gabbana basing an entire collection around her signature looks.
Born in April 1926, the young Princess Elizabeth was one when this picture was taken.
On her 14th birthday, and wearing practical riding gear, the young Princess Elizabeth was pictured picking daffodils in Windsor Great Park.
Princess Elizabeth and her fiancé arrived at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh to attend a dinner given by the Duchess of Buccleugh, as policemen held back cheering crowds. The Princess chose a beautiful, fairytale-style, full-skirted dress with all-over draped detailing – accessorised with white gloves and pearls.
The ivory silk dress Princess Elizabeth wore on her wedding day was designed by Norman Hartnell, and was inspired by Botticelli’s painting of Primavera. The gown was embroidered with white seed pearls, imported from America, silver thread, sparkling crystals and transparent appliqué tulle embroidery. A 13-foot train was attached at the shoulders and a silk tulle veil covered the Princess’ face. The satin bridal shoes were created by Edward Rayne. At the time the dress was made, the country was still suffering the financial aftermath of the Second World War and the Queen famously saved her ration cards to pay for her dress.
Princess Elizabeth looked every inch the future Queen of England when she arrived at the Royal Opera House in this regal white gown covered with intricate embroidery. A fur stole and white gloves served as the evening’s accessories.
Two years before she was crowned the Queen of England, she wore a floral dress with pearls for this photograph with one of her beloved corgis.
Norman Hartnell was commissioned to create the gown that Elizabeth wore when she became HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
Enjoying the fashions of the day, the Queen wore a pink and green patterned double-breasted coat by Hardy Amies and matching floral hat for a royal visit to Malta. She accessorised with white gloves, a pearl necklace and two diamond brooches.
She didn’t have a hair out of place when she donned a pussy-bow blouse, a checked shirt, a brown cardigan and sunglasses to walk her dogs during the Windsor horse trials.
Her Majesty was draped in cashmere and fur for the opening of Parliament. According to tradition, she also wore one of the royal tiaras.
The Queen wore a scarlet suit to be shown the Sea King helicopter by Prince William at RAF Valley in Wales.
For a Diamond Jubilee thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty wore an outfit custom-designed by her senior dresser Angela Kelly – a mint green silk tulle dress with star-shaped embroidered flowers, a chiffon drape embellished with Swarovski crystals, and a matching hat.
The Queen wore a hat embellished with Swarovski crystals, in the same silk tulle as her dress, for the St Paul’s thanksgiving service.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground she wore a cream tweed coat with a matching hat and carried not only her patent black handbag, but also a bunch of spring daffodils and pink peonies.
She wore a white dress and red sash to attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
She wore pink to accompany the Duke of Edinburgh to the first day of Royal Ascot.
New official photographs have been released, showing the Queen at her desk wearing a Karl Ludwig dress, as she surpasses Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
She really is truly remarkable.
Queen Elizabeth II – The Longest Reigning Monarch In British History