There is very little wiggle room when it comes to getting dressed for a ceremonial royal funeral.
Black is a given, introduced by Queen Victoria at the death of Albert in 1861. For women, a hat or head covering, black tights and especially pearls to denote tears: a tradition since Roman times.
Only white diamonds: nothing of color. Dressing up for a funeral is much more difficult than for a wedding: nothing rainbow, nothing that screams ‘look at me’, especially important considering this was the first royal funeral of the Instagram era. Nothing witty.
It was also the first royal funeral in which the participants wore masks – the Queen’s were white edged, which helped lift her face – meaning everything had to work just a little harder. That’s probably why the younger royal women decided to stagger in dizzying heels, despite the cobblestones, marble, and steps. Kate’s in particular – by LKBennett, of course – were worthy of Meghan herself.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a perfect chignon, well-defined eye makeup and eyebrows above her black mask and under her Philip Treacy pillbox, and an expression that characterized her as dignified, stoic, trustworthy
Despite all the limitations, there were two standout sartorial stars. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a perfect chignon, well-defined eye makeup and eyebrows above her black mask and under her Philip Treacy pillbox, and an expression that characterized her as dignified, stoic and trustworthy.
Her choice of Catherine Walker to create her shapely black coat in princess line is hugely significant. She could have picked her go-to, Sarah Burton, from Alexander McQueen, but that would have been too overtly ‘fashion’.
Instead, she chose the design house that was Diana’s favorite and gave William and Harry a subliminal hug. She shows that she has learned from the queen too, by keeping the neckline low and simple – here it is draped in a bow – so as not to ‘mess up’ with jewels by the throat.
Royal Favorite: If Kate’s 1970s pearl choker looked familiar, it’s because she borrowed it from the Queen, just like Princess Diana
The dress underneath is from Roland Mouret, the French-born, London-based designer famous for creating body-con red-carpet dresses that exude sex appeal.
What Kate chose to wear on such a historic day is already seen as iconic. She’s thrown a glove down, taking it all up a notch.
Her attitude was mature. And worthy of a future queen. Her outfit was impeccable. The other star was the Countess of Wessex, who made sure to put a reassuring hand on the back of each of her children as the procession passed.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, opted for a very understated tailored silk crepe jacket dress with contrasting silk satin panel from Suzannah London
She chose a very understated (for which read, almost floor length) tailored silk crepe jacket dress with contrasting silk satin panel from Suzannah London, the couturier who cut her teeth at Marks & Spencer, and is now famous for dressing royals including Eugenie and Beatrice for weddings and events such as Royal Ascot. Sophie’s understated headgear belongs to Jane Taylor.
The Queen, of course, was dressed by her private dresser and confidant, Angela Kelly. She wore her grandmother’s pearl, Queen Mary, and the diamond brooch from Richmond; it has a detachable pear-shaped mother-of-pearl drop, removed here.
I’m sure Meghan, who watched it from home in California, recognized it as the brooch she wore to her wedding to Harry; I hope she felt a warm tingle. God was in every detail, of course.
Philip’s friend, Penny Brabourne, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, wore a fern brooch, signifying sincerity in Victorian times
Princess Beatrice, pictured with her husband Edoardo Mapelli, shunned the traditional black tights
Princess Eugenie wore a double-breasted and boxy coat (nearly £ 6,000) by influencers’ beloved Gabriela Hearst and is now at the helm of Chloe
Philip’s friend Penny Brabourne, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, wore a fern brooch, signifying sincerity in Victorian times.
Full marks to the Duchess of Cornwall too, in flawless Anna Valentine coat and matching piped dress, sensible heels, purse and Saturn hat.
It’s in the hand: Eugenie’s Gabriela Hearst concertina bag is called Diana, although it’s named after Diana Ross, not the princess, and would cost you £ 1,400
A few younger royals broke the rank. Eugenie and Beatrice chose not to wear black tights and wear gloves instead of wearing them.
Eugenie, a new mom, can be forgiven for looking a little less glamorous in an overly long, double-breasted and boxy coat (nearly £ 6,000) by Gabriela Hearst, influencers’ beloved designer, and now at the helm of Chloe.
She topped it off with a rather ‘interesting’ concertina bag, also from Gabriela Hearst; maybe Eugenie chose it because of his name, Diana.
Camilla’s jazzy face mask will have raised eyebrows, but I’m sure the sight would have made Prince Philip chuckle.
Oh, and the only thing to unite the royal women? They all opted for waterproof mascara. When they stopped to read, “In a loving memory, Elizabeth,” there were no dry eyes in the house.