The Royal Family has long been a fascination for Americans. The idea of having a queen may be foreign to us, but that doesn’t stop people from idolizing the British monarchy and following their daily lives. The curiosity people have about them influences fashion on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Royal Fever” continues to grow as the world follows the courtship and upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, an American woman (wow!). Close watch is on everything from the wedding trousseau and her bridal stylist, Jessica Mulroney, to Markle's daily outfit choices. This fascination and appreciation for the Royal Family comes from long standing admiration as well an unusual relatability for people with seemingly dissimilar lifestyles from the average family. Psychologists have analyzed the craze and found that the root of the fascination is simply the normality of the family. Despite being royal and “superior”, family members hold twitter accounts and use social media like any other celebrity. They marry outside of royalty and find partners in the same way many people do. The family apparently has such a familiar appeal that it has cultivated in the public a near obsession with their daily lives.
Not all things for them are the same as for us commoners, though; a royal fashion faux-pas could have far more wide-reaching consequences. To minimize this possibility, the Royal Family follows some fashion rules which were outlined in a 2016 exhibition at Kensington Palace, Fashion Rules: Restyled. Some of the rules revealed were: to block colour, stay on trend, dress diplomatically, pay attention to details, and most importantly - aim to look regal. There are less ambiguous rules as well. The little boys of the family are only allowed to wear shorts as it signals that they’re aristocrats. Low cut wear was generally frowned upon, though Princess Di found a way around this by using purses called “cleavage bags” to maintain modesty. Further rules including no coloured nails and no tiaras for unmarried women keep the royal decorum intact. The exhibit also looked at some of the stylists and designers that have catered to the family through the years. Although there are rules and traditions to navigate, there is no doubt that individual family members have made it a priority to showcase their personality while still maintaining the royal guidelines.
The Royal Family has always been known for their impeccable and influential style, and none moreso than Princess Diana. Princess Di was a fashion maven of her time, always perfectly turned out in beautiful dresses and suits. Her style endures as iconic today, and in early 2016 Kensington Palace even opened up an exhibit in her honor called “Diana: Her Fashion Story”. It’s not too late to get a glimpse of her influential style at this exhibit, but you will have to hurry as it is due to close February 28, 2018. It isn’t only Princess Di who became a fashion inspiration in the royal family; Kate Middleton’s fashion is quickly approaching icon status and her outfits are frequently sold out within hours of her wearing them. Her essential pieces such as signature coats and the tailored styles she favors always look chic and polished. Meghan Markle, new to the royal family, has also prompted a rush on particular styles which have sold out quickly, such as the recent Marks & Spencer jumper.
The spotlight isn't only on the young Royals either; Queen Elizabeth II is lauded for her vibrant style and the various coloured suits she has worn over time. The Queen is no newcomer to the fashion spotlight - she has been followed since childhood by fashion tastemakers to see what new styles she would wear. She is especially known for the spectacular hats she is always sporting. If we are talking about heavy-hitting influencers, though, we cannot leave out Queen Victoria. An entire mode of style and decor is named after her influence and era of reign. In fact, she is credited with being the originator of the long-lasting tradition of the white wedding dress as the trend took off after she broke with tradition to wear an unconventional white lace gown to marry Prince Albert.
The Queen's iconic coloured suits and the original white wedding dress
Royal weddings are just as closely watched today as ever with and even wider reach due to the availability of photos and footage. The wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles broke new ground when it was televised in 1981 and an estimated 750 million people tuned in to watch worldwide. For a pre-internet era event, that is pretty impressive viewership. With the newest generation of Royals being plugged in to social media and their latest outfits being able to be reported within hours, their influence can only continue to grow. It's no wonder that royal style can impact fashion trends and most especially bridal trends for years afterwards.