Should Anna Wintour have removed her sunglasses to meet the Queen?

Lisa Armstrong
Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Anna Wintour as they view Richard Quinn's runway show at London Fashion Week earlier this week.  - Getty Images Europe

Overnight, an army of sunglasses-etiquette experts rose up this week following Dame Anna Wintour’s decision not to remove her sunglasses at Richard Quinn’s catwalk show. Dame Anna’s customary sunnies, which may or may not have prescription lenses, remained in place throughout proceedings.

“Very bad taste and ignorant”, “So naff” and “she needs to learn some respect”… you get the drift of the reaction on social media. Kate Garraway, one of the hosts of This Morning donned an oversized pair of shades in mock protest at this perceived lese majeste. “Apparently this is what you’re meant to do on the f’row,” she said.

It isn’t Kate, although God knows it’s tempting some mornings to stick a pair on to mask the bags. But should one remove them in the presence of the world’s most revered royal? Intuition suggests yes, eyes being windows to the soul and all.

Linda Rodin is a fan of wearing sunglasses indoors. Credit: Getty Images

Buckingham Palace, perhaps not wishing to look out of touch with this season’s accessory trends, was in a forgiving mood when we enquired about the non-removal business. “The Queen meets thousands of people each year in the UK and overseas. Before meeting Her Majesty, many people ask how they should behave. The simple answer is that there are no obligatory codes of behaviour- just courtesy,” say the press office.

Perhaps Her Majesty thought the glasses were a quaint form of national dress, which in a way, they are. Sam Taylor, editor of takes a sterner line. “It’s a mystery to me why any fully sighted person would wear sunglasses indoors. But I’m sure The Queen really didn’t bat an eyelid that the woman seated to her left had come dressed for the beach.”

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Far be it for me to come between an editor-in-chief and what has become her sartorial catch-phrase. To the rest of us, what I will say, is that if one needs specs to see the catwalk, might one consider investing in some clear lenses, or those photosensitive ones that adjust to the light? Ever since the super-stylish Linda Rodin told me that’s what her signature grey tinted glasses are, I’ve sworn by them. Even Specsavers do them. I’m sure they ship to the US, too.

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