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Queen Elizabeth II passes away at 96: Looking back at her inimitable style through the years

Over 70 years of her unprecedented reign, the Queen exerted an unparalleled influence on not just the general public but also on the fashion world, redefining the essence of power dressing.

A look at Queen Elizabeth's style over the last few decades (Source: AP, Royal Family/Instagram)

Queen Elizabeth II breathed her last on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral, her estate in the Scottish Highlands, at 96.

The Royal Family’s official account tweeted: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”


On Thursday, doctors expressed concern over the health of Britain’s longest-serving monarch, after which royal family members rushed in to be by her side. The Queen was suffering from “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year, according to Buckingham Palace.

Over 70 years of her unprecedented reign, the Queen exerted an unparalleled influence on not just the general public but also on the fashion world, redefining the essence of power dressing. From head-turning ballgowns to her signature bright coat dresses with matching hats – she sure knew how to put forth carefully thought-out and unmatchable style statements with her looks.“She has developed her own consistent signature style,” said Elizabeth Holmes, author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style.

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According to Sarah Harris, British Vogue magazine’s deputy editor and fashion features director, “Queen Elizabeth II’s style choices are and have always been, faultless. Always correct, composed and confident, and though it may look relatively straightforward in terms of shape and silhouette, her attire never fails to convey a message of optimism, diplomacy, hope and stability.”

As we mourn her unfortunate demise, let’s look back at some of her unforgettable attire.

For her wedding to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, she wore a bridal gown by Norman Hartnell featuring fine pearl embroidery in a floral design along with a 13-foot embroidered silk tulle full court train.

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Britain’s Princess Elizabeth leaves Westminster Abbey in London, with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, after their wedding ceremony on Nov. 20, 1947. (Source: AP)

In this photo taken just days after her accession to the throne in February 1952, she can be seen wearing a Norman Hartnell satin evening dress with insignia of the Order of the Garter, the George IV Diamond Diadem and a diamond bracelet that was a wedding gift from The Duke of Edinburgh.

In an endearing picture with her father King George VI, The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) channelled chic style in a knee-length printed frock dress cinched at the waist with a matching fabric belt.

In this 1952 photo taken at the Royal Film Show, a benefit performance to aid the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund, she can be seen wearing an elegant black and white ballgown complete with white gloves, diamond accessories and a crown.

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with actor Charlie Chaplin at the Empire Theatre in London on Oct. 27, 1952 for Royal Film Show (Source: AP)

At a stand-down parade at Buckingham Palace in London in 1945, the then Princess Elizabeth wore a neutral-toned skirt with a matching jacket and a shirt worn underneath.

Britain’s Princess Elizabeth talks to an ambulance officer at a stand-down parade at Buckingham Palace in London, on Oct. 24, 1945. (Source: AP)

For the world premiere of the film Dunkirk, she wore an intricately-embroidered silk gown with exquisite jewellery.

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Queen Elizabeth II appears with her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the Empire Theatre in London for the world premiere of the film “Dunkirk,” on March 20, 1958. (Source: AP)

From what can be seen as a huge departure from her style in the later years of her life, she wore a printed ruffled midi dress with beautiful flowers adorning her hair.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh leave the House Of Assembly after the Queen had addressed Bermuda’s Colonial Parliament, in Hamilton, Bermuda on Nov. 25, 1953. (Source: AP)

Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, wore a silver gown with a diamond tiara and pearl necklace, in this photograph taken in 1949.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, wears a silver gown with a diamond tiara and pearl necklace, in this Aug. 30, 1949 photo. (Source: AP)

Queen’s style may have increasingly become subtle and minimal over the years, but her inclination toward the vibrancy of bright colours remained intact till the end of her life. “If the Queen’s inimitable style is consistent and somewhat simple in form, it’s anything but when it comes to her unwavering commitment to colour. Hues are plucked from chalky, pretty pastels to bold paintbox brights to shimmering metallics and even a punchy palette of retina-searing verging-on-neons, Harris wrote, in a special April issue celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

During a visit to the Isle of Man in 1972, the Queen wore a mustard yellow coat dress with a floral hat and a layered pearl neckpiece.

In one of the last photographs of the Queen where she can be seen greeting newly-appointed UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, she wore a knitted cardigan over a woollen checked skirt and a grey shirt.

A few weeks back, at a special parade at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, she wore a knitted powder blue coat dress with a matching hat and pearl jewellery.

For a meeting with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, she kept it vibrant and spring-y in a floral printed midi dress featuring full sleeves. It was accessorised with a layered pearl neckpiece and studs.

“There’s a tremendous amount of thought put into the queen’s wardrobe and it’s so important because when she steps out of the car, everybody looks at what she’s wearing. Everybody wants to see the queen,” Holmes had said.

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First published on: 08-09-2022 at 23:23 IST
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Queen Elizabeth II dead at 96 after 70 years on the throne

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