The Women of the British Crown Showed Us How to Voice an Opinion Without Saying a Word
The act of people judging others by their clothing choices is especially true for the members of royal families whose clothes are discussed in fine detail. Sometimes, it’s probably the only way for them to speak their minds because a series of limitations don’t let them say what they really think. This is why queens and princesses of the British Royal family choose other ways to express themselves. And their dresses are one of the subtle ciphers that help them communicate their true thoughts. But now, these ciphers need to be deciphered!
Bright Side has gone over some of the gorgeous dresses different queens and princesses have worn over the years and was surprised to learn the hidden meanings behind them.
Princess Diana’s “revenge dress”
The most famous of Princess Diana’s dresses was not her wedding dress, but quite the opposite — it was the one she was wearing before her official divorce. In 1992, it was already evident that Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage was a failure but they continued to fulfill their royal duties. In 1994, Prince Charles made a public admission of his relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles. After this announcement, the Princess of Wales was supposed to appear at a Vanity Fair magazine party and this was the moment she demonstrated her strong character.
Princess Diana was supposed to appear at the event wearing a classic, elegant Valentino dress but instead, she chose a short, black dress with open shoulders and a plunging neckline that was designed by Christina Stambolian from Greece. By wearing this, the Princess violated the rules of the royal dress code! She also complimented the look with high-heeled shoes that she had never worn when she was with Prince Charles because she would appear taller than him. This incredibly brave outfit was instantly coined the “revenge dress”.
The princess also chose her accessories carefully. The pearl necklace with the blue sapphire was made by her order using a brooch that Prince Charles presented to her at their wedding. This was Princess Diana’s way of demonstrating her strong nature while dealing with public shame yet still looking perfect. Princess Diana’s ex-stylist Anna Harvey said that on this night, the Princess wanted to look stunning and she managed to achieve that.
Queen Elizabeth’s II wedding dress of hope
A wedding is one of the most important events in any person’s life. And the wedding of a member of the Royal family is a key event for the entire country as they watch the monarch and talk about their every step. In 1947, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip got married. It was a difficult time after the war and the country was in a period of recovery. At the time, there was a rationing system in Great Britain: people were supplied with goods because there weren’t enough of them for everyone. Of course, this made it hard to make a really beautiful wedding celebration. So the British citizens decided to help. Britain’s brides sent their ration cards to the Princess as presents and the fabric for the royal wedding dress was bought with this money.
Norman Hartnell was the designer of this dress and used Botticelli’s painting as a source of inspiration. The painting showed a girl wearing a beautiful silk dress. Inspired, Hartnell started working on his masterpiece. He ordered the fabric from a Scottish company which started a rumor that the dress was made of silkworms either from Italy or Japan. But Hartnell convinced everyone that the worms were from socialist China.
The entire dress was decorated with garlands of snow-white color (which symbolized purity), jasmine (happiness and sincerity), the White Rose of York (innocence), and crops to show fertility. The dress also had another interesting detail: a heart-shaped neckline. Princess Elizabeth was wearing her mother’s tiara on her head but broke it in half in her hands just one hour before the celebration. But they managed to find a jeweler that fixed it quickly.
Despite all the hurdles, the future English Queen looked great and inspired people that really needed hope. It’s also worth noting that when the then-Princess Elizabeth was getting married, she was only 21 years old and she already managed to make the whole nation fall in love with her.
Elizabeth’s II coronation gown of unity
Norman Hartnell who we’ve already mentioned earlier was the royal designer from 1938 to 1952. He created 2 iconic masterpieces for the Queen: her wedding dress and her coronation gown. On February 6, 1952, at the age of 25, Elizabeth became Queen of Great Britain. Her coronation took place on June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey when she was 27 years old. The dress was made of cream silk with complex embroidery that included the symbols of Britain and the Commonwealth. The Queen herself asked to add this last and most important detail. Here’s a guide to what all the symbols mean on her dress:
- England — Tudor rose
- Wales — leek
- Scotland — thistle
- Ireland — clover
- Canada — maple leaves
- Australia — wattle
- New Zealand — fern
- South Africa — Proteidae
- India and Ceylon — lotus
- Pakistan — stalks of wheat
The dress also had a small secret of good luck just for the Queen. In the place where Queen Elizabeth’s left hand touched the dress, the designer put a 4-leaf clover. Queen Elizabeth looked great and majestic in her coronation dress and Sir Norman Hartnell was the first designer to become a knight.
Camilla Parker-Bowles’s “invisible” dress
The wedding of Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla took place in 2005, and she chose 2 outfits for it. The first one was for the official ceremony and the second was for the blessing ceremony. As for the latter, she chose to wear a pale-blue dress made of chiffon and a coat with golden thread. This choice was made not just because of the age of the couple, but as an attempt to make the wedding ceremony less noticeable and in a way, invisible. The couple was trying to avoid criticism from the public that worshipped Princess Diana and didn’t approve of the newlyweds.
Kate Middleton’s controversial dress
Many British people love Kate Middleton and adore her amazing sense of style — some even compare her to the people’s idol, Princess Diana. And as such, all her public appearances are actively discussed. She is famous for her favorite trick: she appears wearing the same outfits during different events.
Her nephew’s baptism ceremony was no exception as the Duchess of Cambridge appeared there wearing a bright vintage short dress which was a violation of the Royal family dress code and she was criticized by the members of the family. Meghan Markle has also violated the rules several times. Maybe this was Middleton’s way of saying Markle wasn’t the only one who could break the rules. By the way, she appeared in the same outfit at Prince Phillip’s anniversary in 2011. Middleton’s pearl earrings were an interesting accessory as well — Princess Diana baptized Prince Henry while wearing them. This provoked a lot of controversy among internet users who thought that Prince Harry’s wife should have been wearing the earrings, not Middleton.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s memory dress
In 2017, on the day of Princess Diana’s death anniversary, Kate Middleton visited the memorial garden in Kensington Palace. For this occasion, she chose an elegant green dress by Prada with a poppy flower print on it. Red poppies symbolize memory and hope in England. This was the Duchess’ way of demonstrating her respect for her deceased mother-in-law.
Meghan Markle’s dress of kindness
In order to understand Meghan’s choice, we need to rewind time back to the days just after the royal wedding. A favorite British designer of the English aristocratic world, Emilia Wickstead, told Daily Mail that the wedding dress from Givenchy that cost 200,000 pounds was the exact copy of a dress from her collection that cost 7,000 pounds. The designer also added that such a simple dress should fit perfectly. Many fashion designers from famous fashion companies judged what Wichstead did and they started discussing other things she had “borrowed” from other designers. In the end, Wickstead gave up and said that Meghan Markle got married wearing a dress that didn’t look anything like her work.
Many people would think that after such a scandal the Duchess of Sussex would never wear a dress by the designer again. But no, Meghan showed that she didn’t hold a grudge and appeared in a black dress by the designer at an event in Sidney in honor of a national holiday for Australia and New Zealand.
Princess Eugenie’s body positive movement
In October of last year, the sixth granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Eugenie of York, was getting married. She chose a dress with an open back that revealed a long scar that she got when she was a child as a result of surgery. This was her way of telling people with scars that there is nothing wrong with having them and that they tell a unique story. The Princess added that for her, it was a way to communicate with people who were going through similar situations.
Do you think the colors and patterns on your clothes are important? Other than words, what are other effective ways to express yourself?
Preview photo credit MEGA / Mega Agency / EAST NEWS