Queen Elizabeth style file: a look back over the fashion choices of our longest-reigning monarch

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 Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene, King’s Lynn (Getty Images)
Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene, King’s Lynn (Getty Images)

On the Queen’s 96th birthday, gun salutes have been fired, and a new photograph of the monarch stood in her forest green caped overcoat with two fell ponies has been released.

The look is typical of her country uniform, which over the years has also been defined by head scarves and trenches. For more formal affairs, her Majesty is known for electric shade skirt suits which allow her to be spotted in a crowd, while the Crown Jewels, ball gowns and state dress are reserved for special and ceremonial occasions.

Queen Elizabeth II poses for 96th birthday picture (PA)
Queen Elizabeth II poses for 96th birthday picture (PA)

There are two notable couturiers to whom she has remained particularly loyal to over the years; Norman Hartnell for a dressier occasion (he was commissioned to create her coronation and wedding gowns) and Hardy Amies for her daytime wardrobe.

Well known for her white gloves, pearl necklaces and reliable Launer handbags, Her Majesty has established herself as not only our longest-serving monarch but perhaps our most stylish too.

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at King's Cross railway station, 1969 (AFP via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at King's Cross railway station, 1969 (AFP via Getty Images)

Three years ago, we were given a glimpse behind the Queen’s wardrobe’s closed doors, when she gave permission for Angela Kelly, her ‘Personal Advisor and Curator and In-house designer’, to pen a book about her.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales in the Blue Drawing Room at The Queen's Dinner,  2018 (Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales in the Blue Drawing Room at The Queen's Dinner, 2018 (Getty Images)

Titled The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe (£14.99, shop it here), the book sees Kelly, who has served at Buckingham Palace since 1994, reveal a handful of the monarch’s style secrets.

Among the most surprising revelations was the fact that Kelly personally wears all of the Queen’s new shoes to break them in. She wrote: “The Queen has very little time to herself and not time to wear in her own shoes, and as we share the same shoe size it makes the most sense this way.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex attend the launch of The Queen's Baton Relay for Birmingham,  2022 (Getty Images for Commonwealth Ga)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex attend the launch of The Queen's Baton Relay for Birmingham, 2022 (Getty Images for Commonwealth Ga)

In February 2018, her Majesty took a step into the fashion industry itself, when she attended a Richard Quinn runway show, a Central Saint Martins graduate known for his florals and full-face masks. She was accompanied by Kelly, and shared a giggle with Anna Wintour, Condé Nast’s Global Chief Content Officer, on the front row.

Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Anna Wintour as they view Richard Quinn's runway show, 2018 (Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Anna Wintour as they view Richard Quinn's runway show, 2018 (Getty Images)

Also announced in Kelly book was the news that, from 2019, the Queen would go fur-free, swapping any animal pelts for faux alternatives. In doing so, she became the first royal in history to completely denounced fur from her wardrobe.

It represented a keen interest in the politics of fashion, and an important step in her style evolution which has otherwise remained trusty, tried and tested.

Scroll through the gallery above for Queen Elizabeth II best looks through the years.

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