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Fashion Police Files
Queen Elizabeth II : 1952-2012 : 2  
Fri, 8th Jun 2012


PART 2 : 1970 - 2012

In this, the second part of my look at the Queen's working wardrobe and her personal sense of style, I cover the decades from the 1970s up to the present Diamond Jubilee Celebrations this week...and what a week it's been !!

The 1970s saw a certain amount of relaxing in her style - this was in keeping with the trend of the day, and was also a sign that she was much more confident with the style she would adopt for the rest of her life - she was a bit older than when she started out, and knew that she must always dress appropriately for her age as well as the occasion, but at the same time, style protocols and dress codes were relaxing all around her in this decade, and so she followed suit - she became much braver and brighter in her colour choices too !!
In this, the second part of my post about our Queen, I will look at how she has adapted her look to suit her age, her job and her own personal sense of style...

During this tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970, she instigated the first Royal Walkabout, thus ensuring that her bodyguards would be kept on their toes for the rest of her reign, right up to present day !! Here she is, talking to a large group of schoolchildren, completely on a whim - she spotted them across the playing field, and turned many heads and raised many eyebrows by leaving her planned route to chat to them unannounced !! Thus, the Royal Walkabout was born...

1970 New Zealand - the first walkabout !!

Here she is meeting the Apollo 11 Astronauts after their trip to the moon in 1969 - an ice-blue satin cocktail dress ensures that she is seen against the black of their suits...

1970 with the Apollo 11 astronauts

Visits to the hotter climate countries always involve careful clothing choices, but the same rules and regs must be adhered to - here, in Jamaica, she wears a mustard-yellow dress with a white collar and white hat and gloves, of course !! Always the same 2" height heeled shoes for maximum comfort, and her ubiquitous three-strand pearl necklace
This necklace will be seen again and again, even though she wears a brooch too - it's almost a good luck necklace, as if things just wouldn't be the same without it !! Later on, she seems to wear it to every single event...

1975 Jamaica

Another visit to the US, and a meeting with the US Navy Commander, Tyrone G Martin, who welcomes her aboard the 'Constitution' - she chose a print day-dress and a white/coloured straw hat for this occasion - I'll bet that the hat matches the dress:-

1976 Meeting Commander Tyrone G Martin (US Navy) aboard the 'Constitution'

In 1977, it was exactly 25 years since she succeeded to the British throne, and thus the Silver Jubilee took place and this is the beautiful gown she wore for the official portrait taken in Buckingham Palace - it looks rather like a dress designed by Prada today, or maybe Valentino, with the zig-zag beading design all round the skirt !!

1977 Official Silver Jubilee portrait

For a second visit to the Pope in Rome, she again wore a full-length black gown with a black veil - she is a real stickler for tradition and protocol, compared to various other Royal families who have visited the Papal palace in Rome recently...

1980 with Pope John Paul II in Rome

For the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, she went for a beautiful shade of turquoise blue - this colour we see again and again on the Queen, in various different outfits - it is one of the best colours for her as it's bright and visible without being unflattering...again, the hat matches the dress and everything goes with white gloves and a brooch, and her other favourite pearl necklace, the two strand one:

1981, appearing on the Palace balcony with the newly-weds !!

Incidentally, this necklace was equally well known, but has been somewhat superseded in recent years by the triple-strand necklace, which she was given as a young girl in 1935 by her grandfather, King George V, to celebrate his Silver Jubilee - she wears these in the daytime mostly. However, the bigger double-strand necklace here is actually two separate strands worn together - they are the ones she received as a wedding gift from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The one string is said to have belonged to Queen Anne, last of the Stuart monarchs. The other to Queen Caroline, wife of King George II. She wore these necklaces on her own wedding day in 1947, and for Charles and Diana's wedding day in 1981.

The beautiful flower-shaped brooch she is wearing is the famous Williamson Brooch, created from the finest and rarest pink diamond in the world, which was discovered in South Africa in 1947. Pink diamonds constitute only 0.1% of all the diamonds in the world,and this is the best one of all !! Dr. John Thornbum Williamson was a Canadian geologist, famous for establishing the Williamson diamond mine in Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania). This rare pink diamond had been unearthed in Williamson's mine the month before the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and presented as a wedding gift to the happy couple by Dr Williamson himself !! The Queen wears it often and it's clearly a favourite:

In 1983, she went walkabout during her Canadian tour, choosing this gorgeous cobalt-blue and pink mohair coat - she also chose a toning hat in purple-blue and pink to echo the two-tone colours of that marvellous coat !!
In 1984, a bit of a style departure for the Queen, attending the Royal Guards polo match, with this beautiful coat and matching shawl, pinned with a diamond brooch - very unusual and very smart actually !!

1983 Canadian Royal Tour                                                             1984 Guards polo match

During a trip to the Beijing, a walk along a section of the Great Wall of China, dressed on a tailored suit of heather-purple with the inevitable matching hat - very smart and very flattering for the older Queen...

1986 Beijing, China - on the Great Wall

The 90s were a bit of a fraught decade for the Royal Family really, what with the break-up of three of the royal children's marriages, and the big fire at the Queen's favourite home, Windsor Castle, and ending up with the horrific death of the Princess of Wales in an underpass in Paris in 1997 - by the end of this decade, you will notice that the Queen's hair has turned quite white !!
She has never lost her sense of style though - through it all, she deported herself with the regal air of dignity and refined sense of taste and style that has never let her down !!

In 1997, she attended a ball in Marlow wearing a tailored gold-brocade column dress - this is a style that she has adopted for evening-wear in her later years - it's a style that is much more flattering now that she no longer has a waist of a mere 23 inches, and is always dignified and regal looking !!

1997 Banquet in Marlow

Here's an outfit that I rather liked - a richly coloured plaid outfit with glowing shades of purple, pink, and teal-blue - fabulous and so very late-90s !!

1999 - Nottingham University

The new century saw the Queen as busy as ever, with trips all over the world, including all the Commonweath countries of course - and America and Canada - it is extremely important to her to keep the channels of diplomatic communication open with all of Britain's allies, and this as good a way of doing it as anything else, in my view. If we didn't have a reigning hereditary monarch, we'd have to have an elected President as our Head of State, and that means it could be an ex-Prime Minister - Tony Blair or even Margaret Thatcher - imagine !! They would cost just as much but wouldn't carry the sheer weight of history with them.
Putting it in very basic terms, our Royal Family is as big a tourist attraction as the Tower of London or the London Eye...and it concerns both the Queen and Prince Charles, the Heir Apparent, that they should be giving us value for our money as Ambassadors for Britain!!

The Queen has sat for many artist's and photographers, but one of the most interesting set of pictures that resulted from a controversial photo-shoot were these two photographs from the lens of Annie Leibowitz - they are controversial because Annie, apparently ignorant of the protocol involved in such a shoot, requested that the Queen remove her crown - which she did !! :- 

With crown...

Without crown...

I rather like both photos actually - they have a rather melancholy contemplative quality which is probably the result of the side-lighting and the hugeness of the room...

In 2007, the Queen visited Uganda and attended an official banquet in Entebbe, dressed in a white sparkly column dress with the 'Girls Tiara' on her head - beautiful and regal as always !!
White has always been one of her favourite colours for evening-gowns, and they are often sparkly or have a sheen on them...

2007 Official Banquet in Entebbe, Uganda

In 2008, she visited the newly democratic nations of Slovakia and Slovenia, and came out with some rather cracking outfits...

October 2008 - Bratislava, Slovakia

I loved this nubbly bouclé tweed coat and matching hat in shades of cream and soft grey, with that lovely hat adorned with feathers - just beautiful !!
Later on she chose this dark red outfit, with one of her favourite brooches and a matching hat.

October 2008 - Bratislava, Slovakia

She also attended various balls and banquets, this one had her in a floor-length gold and white brocade dress with the 'Girls Tiara' again, and her white fur stole from the 50s - who said that she never wore things twice ? The dress too has been worn before - we looked at the two photographs of her further up, sitting for photographer Annie Leibowitz - well, I think this is the same dress !!

October 2008 Bratislava, Slovakia

Later on, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, she went for another white gown, this time a white brocade dress with a white fur collar, and the famous Burmese Ruby tiara, and a diamond and ruby necklace/earring/bracelet set..

October 2008 Ljubljana, Slovenia

The tiara she wears is the famous 'Burmese Ruby Tiara', ordered by her as a beautiful setting for the 96 rubies which were a gift from the Burmese people. Crediting the ruby with prophylactic properties, the tiara was specially designed to protect the wearer against the 96 diseases the Burmese people believe can afflict the human body.
The Queen received these rubies from the people of Burma as a Coronation gift.  After 26 years, she finally sent the rubies to Garrard’s to create a new tiara in 1973.  She selected a design where the rubies were arranged in clusters to look like the Rose of England, surrounded by diamonds.  The Queen wears the crown often with her many ruby necklaces and bracelets.  Since the passing of the Queen Mother, she has worn the magnificent ruby necklace, The State Rubies, left to the Crown by Queen Victoria.

Back home, she and Prince Philip attended the Opening Day at Royal Ascot, and she wore a beautiful black and white outfit almost as striking as it was expensive, probably !!

2008 Day 1 at Royal Ascot

The following year, she opened a new clinic, the Carole Brown Health Centre in Dersingham, and she wore this amazingly eye-catching pink and black coat and dress with a black fur hat and cuffs - fabulous !!

2009 Carole Brown Health centre in Dersingham

She also went off to Trinidad for a State visit the same year, and wore a very bright lime-green, black and yellow print dress with a lime green hat to match - she never was afraid of brilliant colour combinations, and very bright visible blocks of colour - she practically invented the idea of colour-blocking, although her stylists are very much responsible for that principle, I think !!

2009 Trinidad visit

Here are some of the outfits that I have noticed her wearing on more than one occasion, as described by her stylist further up - that spread-sheet with all the details of every outfit is clearly a working document, and succeeds in keeps everything up to date, and is, no doubt as invaluable to the Queen as the stylist herself !!
Here she is in 2008, attending a church service at Sandringham in a two-tone tweed coat with bright red trim, and a matching dress, and a hat with a beautiful feather trim:-

2008 Church service at Sandringham

Later on, in 2010, she wore the same outfit again to pay a visit to the new Gherkin building in the City of London, and also the control-room of the Tower Bridge !! She took the coat off to reveal the matching dress underneath !!

2010 Visit to the Gherkin and the Tower Bridge control-room

The second outfit that has had at least two airings, is this one - back in 2008, she wore this shocking-pink coat and print dress with matching hat in pink and turquoise blue to the Epsom Derby...


2008 - June Epsom Derby

The following year, it came out again for the first Summer Garden Party at Buckingham Palace - marvellous !! This outfit is absolutely typical in that it is brilliant colour that can be seen for miles, worn with a small-brimmed hat (visible face) in a matching colour, and worn with her triple-strand pearls and a brooch !!

2009 Summer Palace Garden Party

This deep purple and black ensemble was worn to the 2009 Armistice Day Service and wreath-laying at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, and one year later again, she chose it for the South African Presidential visit in 2010 :-

2009 Armistice Day

Meeting Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa in 2010

Here she is with the South African President Jacob Zuma inspecting gifts - she has removed the coat and hat as she is indoors of course, but you can now see the matching dress, which just shows at the neck of the coat:

2010 South African presidential visit

This amazing shocking-pink and white coat and printed dress has also seen light of day twice at least over the last five years - here she is wearing during her state visit to Turkey in 2008 - she went to the Modern Museum in Ankara, and looked perfectly cool and bright in it !!

2008 Visit to the Modern Museum in Ankara, Turkey

The following year, she wore it for the second day at Royal Ascot - same hat, same dress, same coat - so every outfit on this spread-sheet appears to stay together, with just the jewellery changing !!

2009 Royal Ascot - Day 2

Here's another outfit she has worn twice - this deep heathery-pink tweed coat and dress, with its accompanying maroon hat was worn in 2008 to the New Zealand Tourism Exhibition in London, and again, when she opened the London Clinic in 2010:

2008 New Zealand Tourism Exhibition in London

2010 Visit to the London Clinic

So as you can see, far from spending too much public money on her wardrobe, she often recycles outfits and reworks coats and dresses for another wearing - getting your money's worth is as important to the Queen as anyone else !!

Of course, we're not very far into this decade yet, but there have been two very significant events already, the first being the Royal Wedding of Prinvce William to Kate Middleton last year:

Queen Elizabeth wore a primrose yellow outfit designed by her stylist Angela Kelly, who then had this coat restyled into a dress for her recent trip to Australia - very clever as it means she doesn't have to wear anything else underneath in a warmer climate !! Watch out for this outfit again as it's clearly a favourite, but we won't see it again for at least a couple of years !!


2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William to Katherine Middleton


Queen Elizabeth II has worn three amazing outfits, all designed and created by Angela Kelly, during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend.
On the right is the silver and white dress and coat worn for the Thames river pageant. It was created from white bouclé, threaded throughout with silk ribbon, embroidered with gold, silver and ivory spots and, once again, embellished with Swarovski crystals.

In the centre is the gold lame cocktail dress that The Queen wore to Monday night's concert, with sweeping trimmings of antique gold lace and Swarovski crystal adornments.

On the left is her outfit for Tuesday's service of thanksgiving and carriage procession - a dress of fine silk tulle with mint green and silver embellishments, a mint green chiffon drape scattered with Swarovski crystals, and a hat covered in the same fabric.

Here she is in all three outfits :-


I loved this white coat with its pleated edging down the front edge and delicate silver and gold spots incorporated into the weave of the fabric - it also comes with a matching dress underneath. Her hat is particularly interesting - I love the sweep of tiny feathers anchored down with crystal beads - just look at the close-up below !!


Day 1: The River Thames Jubilee Pageant

Here she is in that beautiful gold brocade column dress with its thickly encrusted embroidery all down one side, attending the Jubilee Concert taking pace on her doorstep !!

Day 2 : Jubilee Concert and Lighting the Palace Beacon

Finally, on Day 3, she went for a white coat and matching hat with swathes of delicate ice-blue chiffon draped over her shoulder, matching the ribbon around the hat's brim - and I just love the enormous diamond brooch - marvellous !! I have uncovered the details of this lovely jewel below...

Day 3: Thanksgiving service in St Paul's Cathedral and Procession down the Mall to Buckingham Palace

The brooch is the 'Cullinan III and IV' brooch, which is a reference to the truly marvellous diamond from which they were cut. The Cullinan Diamond was the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found. The stone weighed 3,106 carats in its rough state when discovered at a mine near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905. At first it was thought to be crystal, as it was three times larger than any other diamond that had been found. It went on to be cut into nine major stones with no less than seven of them belonging to the Queen. Two of the biggest are officially the largest colourless and flawless cut diamonds in the world, the biggest, the 'Great Star of Africa', was set in the Sovereign’s Sceptre and the second gem, the 'Second Star of Africa', was set into the Imperial State Crown.. Until 26 January 1905 no one had ever seen a diamond of this size. So incredible was its discovery that the moment it was found at the Premier mine it was thrown out of the window of the mine manager’s office because it was thought to be a worthless crystal !! Luckily, someone retrieved it just in case...

All in all, the Queen has developed a very clear style that works well for her, and any other working person in their later years - her work-schedule is punishing and would no doubt finish off any of the dissenting voices of those who thinks she does nothing for a living !! The sheer amount of hard graft it entails, travelling all round the world representing your country for business and socio-political relations, is actually gruelling and tiring, especially for an old lady of 87 !!
Will she abdicate in favour of Prince Charles - certainly not, unless she falls ill, but I think she will slow down a little and gradually let him take her place to represent her on many duties over the next few years !! He, Princes William and Prince Harry are already doing that to a certain degree, but she has every intention of reigning until she dies !!

I hope you have enjoyed this little two-part piece on our Queen, and her hard-working wardrobe - of course, inevitably, I have left out dozens and dozens of the most glorious outfits but if I included them all, we would all be here for a very long time indeed !! It has been a bit of an eye-opener though - I never realized that she has had so many outfits recycled until I started to look at the photo-stream for her on Zimbio - there are almost 170 pages of thumbnail pics dating back just to 2004, so you can see at a glance what she wore and where - here is the link if you want to go and check it out :


I hope you've enjoyed my two-part look at the Queen's style over the past sixty years. If you have enjoyed this piece, and think that others would like to read it too, please feel free to link to both of them in your own journals, or indeed, where-ever you think appropriate - Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Stumbled upon, Pinterest or any of the other social networking sites you may be a part of - it's time this journal needs to spread its wings and get out there beyond the confines of Live Journal, I feel...
Let's do it !!

Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
More lovely outfits - thank you so much for putting this article together.

Thank you also for your comments with regard to a republic. You're perfectly right, and I've tried to argue the point, but anti-Monarchists simply don't want to listen - although they never have an answer when I ask who they'd like to see as President!
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
I think that many anti-monarchists haven't really thought through the whole process for appointing a President, and the fact that the Royal palaces will still have to kept up, and used for official functions etc, and will still have to pay their way to a certain extent by being open to the Public, just as they are today and just like any other stately home !!
The expenses aren't going to go away simply because someone is elected - and our Royals, at the moment, are pretty popular, as they fulfil an important function in our culture and for our tourism. They don't wield any real political power nowadays, but they do have an enormous amount of influence, which can, and is, being used for doing good, especially by Prince Charles, who seems to genuinely care about preserving our art and architectural heritage.
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for this follow-up. I love having a closeup view of all her lovely outfits.
At 87 so it's possible she may only be with us for awhile longer, so this retrospective was well-timed and I appreciate the hard work that went into putting it together.
Nicely done!
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Why, thank you again, for your nice comments !!
I think she'll be around for another ten years at least anyway - her own mother lived until 101, her grandmother until 85, and Queen Victoria lived until 81 - so the women in her family have mostly been pretty long-lived really !!
I agree with Lilagrubb below - if she gets a bit incapable, she will remain in her position as the reigning Queen but appoint Charles as her Regent, I reckon !!
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
She wears some beautiful clothes and always looks good in them. I like the first picture, when she was caught with her eyes closed! It's different.

She does work hard, and I agree with you about the value of our monarchy. I don't think she'd abdicate under any circumstances. Even if she was too sick to continue, I think she'd remain Queen with Charles as Regent. It's happened before, but I hope she continues in good health as long as her mother did.
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Oh absolutely - I agree about the Regency thing - this is by far the most likely scenario should she become a bit infirm !!
I'll bet that she has appointed the Power of Attourney to a board of advisors to make some sort of decision in that respect, should she become senile and be unable to make the decision for herself !!
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
It's been very interesting, not only to see the Queen's style specifically, but the fashion trends over the years.

Although in Oct. 2008 - is it me or is she wearing knee high leather boots!? o_O That seems like such a young person thing.
Sat, 9th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Yes, she is wearing black boots, but I can't see how high up her leg they go as her coat and dress are both mid-calf length !! The boots may well be only mid-calf length, but they may be up to her knee - these aren't just a young fashion here in the UK - in the winter months, everyone wears them, especially if it snows !!
(Deleted comment)
Sat, 9th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Why, thank you Kenaiqueen,
I've enjoyed doing all the research for this actually, and it's made all the easier when all the photos from recent years are all together on Zimbio - you can see at a glance what she wore to which function, and when, and you can see straightaway when she wear something twice - her stylists must hate sites like that !!
I think there are many, many American people who have a British background and maybe upbringing, for whom the Queen represents a little bit of home - my own parents-in-law, who live in Canada, are very big Royalty fans, and just love all the pageantry, and collect all the memorabilia etc, etc...

I must admit I never thought about her wearing her jewellery in quite that way, but now you come to mention it, it's true - we get to see many of the items that belong to the Crown Jewels on a regular basis, simply because she is a woman !!
However, not everything belongs to the Crown - lots of the pieces she wears are from her own personal jewellery collection, which is extensive - the triple-strand pearls for instance, were a present. Most of the gifts she receives from visiting dignitaries however, are items which belong to the Crown Estates, like the rubies from Burma that were made into that glorious tiara !!
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
This may be a silly question, but has she ever worn pants that you're aware of?

p.s. great post again, Wendy!!
Sat, 9th Jun 2012 (UTC)
"This may be a silly question, but has she ever worn pants that you're aware of?"

LOL - this is one of those moments where US English collides spectacularly with UK English and all comes crashing down in a whoop of laughter !!
The word 'pants' mean underwear here - ladies knickers specifically, so I'm pretty sure she wears those - well, most of the time anyway!!

Trousers however are most definitely a favourite garment of the Queen when she is relaxing up there in Balmoral, or out walking the dogs round the gardens, and she wears jodhpurs when out riding of course, but for official engagements, no - she has always worn skirt-suits or dresses with matching coats - trousers are very much seen as a casual garment for women ever since she was a little girl, so I guess she is traditional that way !!
Fri, 8th Jun 2012 (UTC)
I have to admit, I loved what she wore for the flotilla...But, I really love her in red. She just looks great in red.
Sat, 9th Jun 2012 (UTC)
I agree - but I think when the whole family appears like this together, there must be a certain amount of discussion about what is being worn by who, as they don't want to be appearing in too similar outfits - for the River Thames pageant, Katherine wore red, and also the Queen probably wore white to stand out against all the red on the boat !! She has to be visible, you see...
Sat, 9th Jun 2012 (UTC)
This has been a remarkable series for a truly remarkable and historic woman. My respect for her grows each year. I was thrilled to be able to visit London and see all the prep work going on for the Jubilee.
Sat, 9th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Hi and welcome to this journal,
I'm glad you enjoyed this two-part post - it's been hugely entertaining to write and research actually !! London is calming down now that the main public events of the jubilee are done, but the Queen's official engagement diary is as full as ever - she hasn't stopped since last week !!
Sun, 17th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Loved the pictures and commentary, as always, but I noticed something rather startling in the wedding photo for Charles and Diana. Actually to be fair, my husband noticed it and recognized it for what it was, though I was aware of something strange going on behind the royal couple: there appears to be an image of Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots from the Transformers movies behind them on the balcony. Given that the picture was taken well before those movies were even thought of, I was wondering how he got there, and if anyone else noticed.
Wed, 20th Jun 2012 (UTC)
Oh my Lord - LOL, I never even noticed - how did this get past me ?!! Pesky Photoshop in the hands of mischief-makers !!

I have searched out a more accurate alternative !! What made me laugh is that the site I got it from also hadn't noticed, and someone mentioned it in their comments too !! How funny...
Tue, 19th Jun 2012 (UTC)
I really enjoyed the queen's retrospective you did for her Jubilee! I wished we could have watched the concert here in the States. Her majesty really does look regal and beautiful.
Wed, 20th Jun 2012 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that there will be a million clips on You Tube, or maybe a Google search may turn up a complete video where you can watch it from beginning to end.
It was a pretty good concert, featuring the best of British musician's from the last forty years or so...
Sun, 24th Jun 2012 (UTC)
I look at the Queen and all I can think is, "CLASS all the way." She always looks classic; I'm sorry, Classic & Beautiful.

Edited at 2012-06-24 06:37 pm (UTC)
Tue, 26th Jun 2012 (UTC) - Wonderful!
Really enjoyed these entries, Wendy; thank you! :)
Wed, 27th Jun 2012 (UTC) - Re: Wonderful!
Thank you Scarlet - lovely to hear from you - it's been ages !! How's life treating you these days ?
Mon, 6th Aug 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for this series! Lovely stuff!