Inside the royal wardrobe

Fashion exhibition to open in July

Kate Middleton may be the latest royal fashion icon, but she has some big shoes to fill. HM The Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales all followed the fashions of their respective eras. Taking a look back at these royal icons, Estee Lauder is sponsoring the new ‘Fashion Rules’ exhibition at Kensington Palace, opening on Thursday 4 July.

The display will showcase the fashion heydays of HM The Queen in the 1950s, Princess Margaret in the 1960s and 1970s and Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1980s. It will explore how the clothing of the three influential women reflected the styles and trends of the day, while negotiating the restraints of dressing as a royal woman.


The 1950s were all about the nipped-in waist – HM The Queen’s wardrobe certainly followed that rule. She played an important role in showcasing British designers – Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell were her favourites.

With the 1960s and 1970s came bright colours and the slimline look. Princess Margaret embraced these fashions, as seen in the purple Dior evening gown she wore for HM The Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations.


Diana, Princess of Wales’ signature look in the 1980s was of one-shoulder dresses and frills. Her wardrobe had a huge impact on British fashion that lives on even now, as highlighted by the £800,000 raised at an auction of her dresses.

The exhibition features 21 rare and never-before-seen dresses, complemented by film and imagery to show the times in which the royal women wore the beautiful gowns.

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