The Queen in her natural habitat
hacking jacket, jodhpurs and Hermes scarf, one of the few non-British brands that she has regularly chosen, the company’s equestrian roots chiming with her passion for horses Underfoot / Almay Stock Photo A taste for hacking jackets: the horse-loving monarch at her most British
Off duty, the Queen is at her most British and regal. King Von Outfits Britain focuses on the countryside and field sports: riding, shooting fishing, and windswept, impractical picnics. Classic British all-weather gear from Aquascutum, Burberry or Barbour is zipped up over cashmere twinsets, redoubtable tweed skirts or jodhpurs and hacking jackets, always accessorized by that triple strand of pearls given to her by her father, King George VI.
An abiding televisual image is of her
gait, full of direction and purpose, shod in stout brown lace-ups encircled by her beloved corgis. Her only nod to clothing manufactured abroad, the Hermes scarf, is, of course, the product of a company founded on equestrian saddlery. It is no coincidence that a recent photograph of Elizabeth taken to celebrate her platinum jubilee shows her standing against budding magnolias, holding the reins of a pair of grey (platinum) fell ponies. Interestingly, she wears a Laden caped coat, the traditional garb of the German upper classes. She is, after all, of the Hanoverian line.
She was never a fan of hippy clothing
because of its frailty, ephemerality, and informality. Her hair was properly coiffed, kept to a reasonable length, and kept under control. She employed the attributes of the early 1960s to support her objective, whereas those of the late 1960s would have undermined it. She was alert to message and aware of how her garments had to perform. She has only worn trousers on an official occasion once, in the 1960s. It was judged a failure, and she did not attempt it again. The Queen was kept away from the wilder borders of fashion by duty and a lack of vanity, despite the fact that her sister, Princess Margaret, enjoyed it. Controlling one’s image has been crucial. This was also the decade in which bright, plain colour—tomato red, cerulean blue, Wedgwood blue, mint green, daffodil yellow—was exploited, so that the Queen stood out in a crowd, but also as a tool of the televisual age. The BBC and ITV launched color right across the schedule in
originally designed to be embroidered
(in silk, silver and pearls) with the Tudor rose, the thistle, the leek and the shamrock, in honour of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. On seeing the preparatory drawings for the gown by Norman Hartwell — who had consulted the Garter King of Arms on symbolism—the Queen made a politically
The investiture of the Prince of Wales,:
Looking back over the decades, it is remarkable how the Queen negotiated the Sixties, a period of dramatic sartorial change. She cherry-picked the elements that served her purpose, alive to their connotations; freedom of movement but not from propriety, a whiff of youthfulness but not of irresponsibility, a nod to relaxation but not to disorder.