SHE was no slave to fashion, but Queen Elizabeth liked to dress with a message. During her 70-year reign, the British monarch had a keen eye for fashionable diplomacy.
here was a subtle message in her royal work wardrobe. This was often evident, from their enthusiasm for bold and bold colors to their choice of clothing and brooches as a gesture of diplomacy.
A glittering harp brooch in Ireland, a maple leaf brooch in Canada – the Queen made a point of wearing colors and symbols associated with the host country.
When she visited Ireland in May 2011, her absolutely perfect choices – from arriving in Baldonnel in a green outfit – contributed to the success of the trip and the immensely warm public reaction to her.
The Queen also wore green on her visit to Northern Ireland the following year.
I vividly remember the loud gasp of admiration as the 85-year-old stepped out into Dublin Castle’s cobbled courtyard for the State Dinner.
At that moment, we saw her floor-length evening dress, which was inspired by Ireland.
It featured 2,091 hand-sewn, embroidered shamrock motifs on the bodice and sleeves. She wore a tiara that was a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland to her grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1893.
Over the years, a team of trusted designers have been tasked with cultivating the Queen’s style, from Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies to Ian Thomas and Stewart Parvin.
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Her greatest fashion asset in recent years, however, has undoubtedly been her accomplished personal assistant and eventual dress designer, Angela Kelly.
Ms Kelly, of Irish descent from Liverpool, the daughter of a working-class crane driver, had a significant influence on the Queen’s style, helping her to be frumpy while remaining appropriate to her age and role.
Mrs Kelly worked for the Queen for 28 years. She organized her wardrobe and designed her clothes to get the proportions just right for the petite monarch.
Over the years, she has not been afraid to take risks
There was a bond of trust between the two women. Ms Kelly convinced the Queen to wear a hat backwards in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
During lockdown she has been part of the Queen’s bubble, cutting the monarch’s hair and even breaking in her new shoes for her. Convenient that both women took a size four.
In her book The other side of the coin, Mrs Kelly gave insight into the Queen’s wardrobe. She outlined how the monarch could have up to five outfit changes in a day. Clothing was worn two or three times before being modified.
There has been much debate over whether the Queen will make a political statement for the State Opening of Parliament after the Brexit vote.
She performed in a periwinkle blue coat and a blue hat with yellow flowers in the two colors of the European Union flag.
Was it on purpose? Ms Kelly, who has been appointed curator of the Queen’s wardrobe, says no, she just liked the color combination.
While the outdoor-loving monarch might not have been a natural clotheshorse, she became a savvy communicator through the realm of fashion, introducing different textures and embellishments.
Knowing that she needed to be seen when she couldn’t be heard, she insisted that the brims of her brightly colored hats were never too wide to ensure people could see them.
Irish hat designer Philip Treacy, from Co Galway, acknowledged in 2018 that the Queen’s constant use of hats single-handedly saved Britain’s millinery industry.
Over the years, she has not been afraid to take risks. There was the famous pink hat from her Silver Jubilee year in 1977, with 25 bell-shaped hanging flowers to symbolize her quarter-century on the throne.
It caused a lot of comments, not all positive. If her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton – the new Princess of Wales – wore it today, one would guess it would get much better press and be praised for its playfulness.
Her shortest hem yet appeared in 1969 for the inauguration of her son Charles as Prince of Wales.
In later years, their hems were weighted to ensure there were no awkward moments exiting the car.
She was seldom without her Launer London satchels, which were almost as faithful companions as her corgis.
However, friends and family admit the Queen was perhaps happiest outdoors in her Barbour jacket, tartan skirt and Hermes scarf knotted at the chin.
In recent years, her scarf collection has featured some whimsical blooms. These were sent to her by designer Richard Quinn, who had the distinction of winning the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in 2018.
After the Queen commented on his shawls featuring their signature saturated blooms, Quinn made some bespoke ones for her and sent them to Buckingham Palace.
Over the years, the Queen’s outfits have been chronicled in detail for millions of royal viewers.
For the Royal Variety Performance in Birmingham in 1999, there was a harlequin print sequined number that looked very loud compared to her usual wardrobe preferences.
The Queen has never been as daring with her looks as her younger sister Princess Margaret, but they did have some similarities when it came to fashion.
You can tell a lot about the Queen by focusing on her selection of occasion brooches.
At an event at the convention center she got to see the best of Irish fashion
At her grandson William’s wedding to Kate in 2011, she chose to wear the romantic True Lovers Knot brooch.
At her annual Christmas Day address last year – eight months after the death of her husband, Prince Philip – she wore the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch she wore in her 1947 engagement portrait.
For years, the ever-practical queen has demonstrated a savvy sense of sustainability, from dressing outfits again to subsequently modifying them for further use.
It is likely she was delighted that her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, borrowed one of her Norman Hartnell dresses for her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli at Windsor Castle in July 2020.
In post-war Britain, the Queen had to use ration coupons to order the ivory silk satin for her wedding dress. As a gesture, the government “gifted” her an additional 200 coupons.
The dress Beatrice chose from her grandmother’s wardrobe was an ivory peau de soie taffeta gown with a geometrically embellished bodice.
It was the same dress the Queen wore to the premiere Lawrence of Arabia 1962 London.
Whatever about the popularity of shows such as The crown – which has filled the British royal family with renewed curiosity – the reaction to Princess Beatrice’s dress has been tremendous.
This vintage recycle from Grandma’s closet opened the eyes of a whole new generation of fashionistas to the Queen’s incredible personal style.
When she visited Ireland 11 years ago, she was able to see the best of Irish fashion at an event at the Convention Centre.
She saw clothes by designer John Rocha, who was awarded a CBE for services to the fashion world in 2002.
Dubliner Paul Costelloe, who has been a firm favorite with the royals since Princess Diana in the 1980s, also showed up at the event.
https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/even-on-occasions-when-she-could-not-be-heard-queen-elizabeth-ii-let-her-fashion-choices-do-the-talking-41977880.html Even when she couldn’t be heard, Queen Elizabeth II let her fashion choices speak for themselves