Being in the public limelight means dressing the part – and the Royals definitely know how to do that. Of course, it helps to have very strict dress code for the best Royal garments. Let’s take a look at what they are permitted to wear…

Whether we’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix, or checking our Pinterest, we all remember Queen Elizabeth in the news – not only for her dignity and poise but also for her brightly coloured clothes. She chose to dress in bright solid colours for a reason. It was her way of standing out in a crowd. 

The people in the crowd wanted to see the Queen. They didn't mind even if they only caught a glimpse of what she wore, perhaps her glove or part of her hat.

Her Majesty loved wearing a single solid colour. She often chose to dress head to toe in green, or red, yellow or blue. 

She always dressed perfectly. She wore dresses with a conservative fashion style and decent knee lengths. Each dress had gloves and a hat to match, and a dark pair of pumps as well. That was her Royal gear in a nutshell.

The rest of the female Royals, including every prince and princess, tended to follow suit. Although they sometimes wore gorgeous patterns to the Chelsea Flower Show, for instance, or other special events.

Royal style

Every member of the Royal family has to follow strict dress codes for Royal clothing. This included Kate Middleton as well as Prince Harry, Prince William, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret, and even King Charles III. They are just some members of the Prince and Princess Royals who have to keep protocol when it comes to fashion.

Another member of the Royal family who also likes to keep to protocol when it comes to Royal fashion is Princess Beatrice.

Queen Elizabeth dictated much of the fashion clothing that they wore.

Colours fit for Royals

Often members of the Royals, Princess Diana included, wear or wore regal colours. These include white (which signifies purity), gold (wealth), purple, violet and blue (regal and pious).

The Queen sometimes wore bright green clothing, or yellow, even a pop of bright pink. She did so in order to be visible from near and far. 

When they're in town, Harry and Meghan tend to bow to Royal protocol most of the time. They sometimes wore muted or natural shades when it suited their mood. 

Princess Diana also did not always follow the Royal code. Although black should be kept for mourning or very serious occasions, she sometimes wore a simple little black evening gown or dress. 

At special events, the entire family sometimes chooses to wear just one colour. For instance, the Royals all wore blue on Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee weekend. But most times, the choice of colour is an individual one.

That unwavering dress code sometimes wavers

On occasion, Royalty broke certain rules and wore outfits that shocked the public. Aside from Princess Diana, other members of the Royal family have also broken the dress code and have stepped out in fashion items that don’t follow the rules.

Dress rules set by the Queen for a wedding and other occasions 

There are also some very strict dress rules that the Royals have to stick to:

  • Festive clothing: Can you remember what the Royals wore at Christmas time? If you can, you will have noticed that they have several changes of clothing in that one day at Sandringham – usually 5 different changes of clothing. Perhaps that’s because they made sure they looked good for photo opportunities?
  • Day versus evening wear: No diamonds before 6pm, although pearls are perfectly acceptable any time of day. Hats are a necessity during the day, and married Royal females should wear a crown or tiara at night. Princess Diana wore some beauties, and Kate has also followed suit.
  • On wearing black: Royals need to travel with a dark change of clothing in case of a memorial or funeral, but cannot wear this colour at any other time.
  • Coats: If it’s cold outside, a member of the Royals has to keep his or her coat on in public. Now we know why the Duchess Kate of Sussex dons such gorgeous fashion outerwear!
  • Men and women can only wear jeans in a casual setting: Harry and Meghan are often photographed clad in jeans at home or on casual outings. You’ll never see a Royal wearing jeans to an important social event.
  • Women should wear dresses, not trousers, on Royal occasions: This is because Queen Elizabeth preferred dresses to pants. Meghan has broken protocol regarding trousers a few times, but has rarely worn them to a Royal event. However, the media often photographs her wearing pants and jackets instead of a dress at less important occasions. 
  • Wedding attire: Queen Elizabeth had to formally approve a bride’s wedding gown when they married into the Royals. Aside from the gowns, the groom has to wear a ceremonial uniform or a morning suit.

    Accessories fit for a princess, including Kate

    • Kate shows the significance of a handbag: Unlike Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton only wears clutch bags, and Queen Elizabeth used to use her handbags to signal to her staff when a function was over, or a conversation should be interrupted. 

      The clutch bag has served numerous tasks, and isn’t just a fashion or style statement. The Duchess of Cambridge uses it so that she doesn't have to shake hands in awkward situations. Princess Diana used to conceal her cleavage with her clutch bag when the media was photographing her. 

      According to Royal protocol, women, as we saw Princess Diana do, have to wear handbags in their left hands. They also need to leave the right hand free to wave, shake hands and greet people.

    Rules for boys and men 

    • No long pants for little boys: The Queen insisted that when young, little boys only wore shorts. She considered this a sign of a higher class.

    • Men need to wear formal long pants most of the time: It’s rare to see a photograph of Prince William wearing casual pants, or jeans.

    • Formal events require a formal costume. This includes formal pants: Male members of the Royals usually wear dark blue, grey or black morning suits to these occasions. The costume includes waistcoats and ties. They then finish this off in style with a top hat, dark shoes and socks.

    Clothing with patterns

    As the Royals followed Her Majesty’s dress code, likes and dislikes, solid colours became the norm. However, sometimes even Her Majesty wore a patterned item of clothing.

    The most popular patterns are small ones, stripes or polka dots. One example is a dress Duchess Kate wore to Prince Philip’s memorial. Kate loves spots and has worn them to various occasions, including Wimbledon. Duchess Kate also loves wearing different patterns. Whatever Kate wears is always a great fashion look.

    Although she prefers a minimalist celebrity style that goes well with solid colours, Meghan Markle, like Princess Diana before her, often steps out in patterned clothing.

    Inspiration from the Queen

    Now that you’ve seen some photographs of Royals in patterned style clothing, we hope they have inspired you for making fashion garments. Now browse our extensive, inspirational Design Library. If you’re feeling creative, you can also design your own pattern from scratch and we’ll print it for you!

    Check out our fabulous range of fabrics that you can print on here. And make sure to order a Sample Book so that you can see what your choice of fabric looks like when it’s been printed on.

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    December 12, 2022 — Artemis Doupa