queen elizabeth II's best ever style moments through the years

A celebration of the Queen’s inimitable style through the years (Picture: Getty /Metro.co.uk)

Queen Elizabeth II was many things – monarch and leader, mother and grandmother, animal lover, symbol of Britain. Along the way, there was one role it was impossible to ignore: that of glorious style icon.

From bold florals to highlighter-bright block colours and always the most fabulous jewels, the Queen has long been dressing in timeless – and often adventurous – pieces that continue to influence modern fashion.

The blue gown she wore to meet the Kennedys – try to tell us a celebrity today wouldn’t be hailed best-dressed for wearing the exact same on the red carpet.

Much of the Queen’s inimitable style was down to Angela Kelly, who had the grand title of Personal Assistant, Adviser and Curator to Her Majesty the Queen (Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe).

This made her responsible not only for designing, selecting, and styling much of the Queen’s clothing, but also working with the monarch to serve as a confidante and a sounding board for the creation of the Queen’s spectacular wardrobe.

Angela and the Queen’s relationship began in 1992, when Angela joined the royal household after working as a housekeeper for the British Ambassador to Germany.

She had no formal fashion training, but had learned from her mother how to sew outfits for her dolls.

The Queen sitting with Anna Wintour, Caroline Rush, and Angela Kelly at London Fashion Week

The Queen with her personal assistant and stylist, Angela Kelly (on the far right, sitting next to Anna Wintour) at London Fashion Week (Picture: Yui Mok – Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen had met Angela by chance, and was clearly a fast fan – Angela mentioned she planned to return to the UK and one year later, she was offered a role dressing the ruler.

‘I suppose the Queen must have liked me,’ said Angela.

Three years later, Angela was promoted to Senior Dresser, then landed another promotion to the top decision-maker when it came to the Queen’s outfits.

During her time working with the Queen, she personally designed a number of iconic outfits, including the pale yellow dress coat Queen Elizabeth wore to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, and many of the ensembles worn on Zoom during the Covid-19 lockdown.

While Angela remained a discreet and trustworthy friend to the Queen, she did let slip some fun stories about Her Majesty’s style quirks.

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‘We are two typical women,’ Angela once shared. ‘We discuss clothes, makeup, jewellery. We say, “would this piece of jewelry look nice with that outfit?”‘

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Royal Wedding - The Gold Package

The yellow dress coat worn for William and Kate’s wedding was an Angela Kelly original (Picture: Dave Cannon/GP/Getty Images)

Royal Wedding - Carriage Procession To Buckingham Palace And Departures: the queen wearing yellow angela kelly

Worn with pearls, white gloves, and a matching hat, of course (Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

One of our favourite facts about the Queen’s style, as revealed by Angela? She absolutely loves a bargain – so much so that Angela regularly shopped from sale sections just to see the Queen’s joy over a good deal.

Angela has told one story of almost missing a flight home just to claim tax back (and thus cut the costs significantly) on some fabric in Singapore, knowing that the Queen would be ecstatic about the thrifty hack.

The Queen also had a genuine passion for clothing and was very involved in the daily decision of what to wear.

‘The Queen loves clothes and is a real expert on fabrics,’ Angela told The Telegraph. ‘It has not been a question of me teaching the Queen – it has been the other way around.’

Angela was always on hand to help, of course, even wearing in the Queen’s shoes so that she could be comfortable wearing them for long engagements (thankfully, the pair wore the same size).

There were some key considerations when it came to dressing the Queen.

'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' - Press Preview

The Queen’s style was honoured in an exhibition in 2016, titled ‘Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen’s Wardrobe’ (Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Preview Of Fashioning A Reign: 90 Years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe Summer Exhibition

She was known for her brightly colourblocked ensembles (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

For one, every outfit the Queen wore for royal appearances needed to be easy to spot, so people would immediately know the Queen had arrived. You’ll notice that any time it rained during a royal appearance, the Queen would have a transparent umbrella so she could still be easily seen – with a handle and trim to match her ensemble.

All clothing needed to be comfortable and practical in changeable conditions, from the dreary grey skies of London to the warmer climes of her international visits.

The bright colours the Queen was known for had a pragmatic cause, sure, as the Queen needed to be visible, but also emerged from her own style preferences.

Elizabeth loved a nearly-neon shade, once joking: ‘If I wore beige, no one would know who I am.’

The Queen preferred her pieces to be timeless, with no obvious ties to the trends of a certain era, and she very rarely wore trousers. Due to frequent outfit changes, she liked items with zips (easy to slip on and off) and didn’t want any fabrics that would crease during her travels.

Oh, and she adored a pocket.

Queen Elizabeth II in 1975

The Queen was often told off for having her hands in her pockets (Picture: Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)

The Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021 - the queen with her hand in her pocket

Her choice to be frequently photographed with her hands in her pockets was a quiet act of rebellion (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

When the Queen was a child, her family often told her off for putting her hands in her pockets – so much so that all the pockets in her clothes had been sewn up so she couldn’t fall into the habit.

So for years, the Queen longed to not only enjoy the ease of a pocket, but also to be photographed with her hands defiantly stuffed inside.

Angela helped to make that dream come true, arranging for formal photographs of the Queen with her hands in her pockets – which were then finally released in 2019.

Timeless, stylish, but always with a sense of fun and quiet rebellion, the Queen’s style was entirely her own.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look back at some of her best ever fashion moments through the years.

At Windsor Castle, 1944

Princess Elizabeth At Windsor

Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle: Try telling us the fashion girls wouldn’t wear this exact dress today (Picture: Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Buckingham Palace, 1947

Princess Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, 1947

Check out the bow detailing (Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Buckingham Palace, 1947

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, on the occasion of their engagement

A wrap-style neckline will always be in style. Her, Princess Elizabeth wears it with the double pearl necklace she wore on her wedding day – see image below for more details (Picture: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty)

Wedding day, 1947

Princess Elizabeth and Phillip on their wedding day in 1947. Any bride would be proud to wear floral applique and a tiara on their big day - but it would be a feat to create one to match the one Princess Elizabeth wore on her wedding day. The dress was designed by Norman Hartnett and inspired by Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli's Primavera, embroidered with star lilies and orange blossoms, sewn with thousands of seed pearls. It took 350 women nearly two months to create the dress. Elizabeth wore the dress with a double pearl necklace - that looks like a two-strand of pearls, but is actually two separate necklaces that have been in the family for years

Any bride would be proud to wear floral applique and a tiara on their big day – but it would be a feat to create one to match the one Princess Elizabeth wore on her wedding day. The dress was designed by Norman Hartnett and inspired by Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera, embroidered with star lilies and orange blossoms, sewn with thousands of seed pearls. It took 350 women nearly two months to create the dress. Elizabeth wore the dress with a double pearl necklace – that looks like a two-strand of pearls, but is actually two separate necklaces that have been in the family for years. Her tiara – the fringe tiara – once belonged to her grandmother, Queen Mary, and was made in 1919 for Mary using diamonds taken from a wedding gift she received from Queen Victoria. Princess Beatrice wore the same spectacular piece at her own wedding (Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty)

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Honeymoon, 1947

Queen elizabeth suit with philip on the steps

A very chic autumnal suit for the honeymoon, which the couple spend at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten and Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate – where Charles now likes to spend his summers (Picture: Central Press/Getty Images)

Coronation, 1953

Coronation Gown Queen Elizabeth II

A gown designed by Norman Hartnell, with stunning detailing, was to become Her Majesty’s Coronation dress. The gown had a sweetheart neckline and was embroidered with over 10,000 pearls and beads. It was trailed by a 15-foot train. The dress was commissioned in October 1952 and took eight months to create. It was embroidered with botanical symbols of British and Commonwealth nations: English rose, Scottish thistle, Welsh leek, Irish shamrock, lotus flowers, wheat sheaves, cotton and jute, protea and silver fern (Picture: Central Press/Getty Images)

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At Badminton House, Gloucestershire, 1956

Queen At Badminton house gloucestershire

The Queen was a true countrywoman, more comfortable dressed for the great outdoors than in formal regalia (Picture: Tidmarsh/Hulton Archive/Getty)

Meeting the Kennedys, 1961

John F. Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II

Pure princess style: When the Queen met Jackie Kennedy in 1962, it was reported that the latter, in a sleek, blue silk Chez Ninon gown, thought the Queen, in blue tulle, rather homely. We disagree (Picture: Bettmann Archive)

Malta, 1967

The Queen In Malta

Another great coat moment (Picture: Harry Dempster/Daily Express/Getty Images)

Sydney, 1970

Queen Elizabeth II visits the Town Hall in Sydney

The Queen’s 1970 tour was a series of brilliant sartorial moments, like this adorable yellow situation (Picture: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

New Zealand, 1970

Queen Elizabeth II in New Zealand

It’s rare to see Queen Elizabeth in trousers, but we love this more casual look (Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Mexico, 1975

Queen Elizabeth In Mexico

The trendsetter queen: Look at that matching turban and dress combo (Picture: Serge Lemoine/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

New Zealand, 1977

Queen And Prime Minister Muldoon In Nz

Pretty in purple (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

New Zealand, 1977

Queen Elizabeth II steps gamely into a puddle during her visit to New Zealand, 1977.

This cape is a touch Holly Golightly, no? The Queen was never shy of making a sartorial splash (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

New Zealand, 1977

Queen Elizabeth II meets the crowds during her royal tour of New Zealand, 1977.

Another fantastic hat, paired with the smile that endeared her to millions (Picture: Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)

In Morocco, 1980

Queen Morocco Waiting for king hassan

Another glorious hat (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Quirinale Palace, Rome, 1980

Queen Elizabeth II exchanges gifts with President Pertini

Evening gloves like these are back in fashion, FYI (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Edward at Badminton Horse Trials, 1980

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Edward at Badminton Horse Trials, 1980

We love the classic combo of a coat and scarf (Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Watching the polo, 1980

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales,Playing polo ,Queen Elizabeth II

It’s not often you see vertical stripes (Picture: John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)

Taking a photograph, 1980

Queen Elizabeth II wearing a cardigan

A cracking cardi (Picture: John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)

At Sandringham with the corgis, 1980

Queen Elizabeth II and her corgis, Sandringham

Great colour, great sleeves on this striking green coat. Adorned with the Empress Marie Feodorovna’s Sapphire Brooch. The wife of Alexander III of Russia received the brooch as a wedding gift in 1866 from her sister and brother-in-law, the Prince and Princess of Wales. Queen Mary later bought the brooch back as part of a collection of jewels with a price tag of £2,375. The Queen inherited it upon Mary’s death in 1953 and wore it both with and without the pearl pendant (Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty)

Meeting Cliff Richard, 1980

Queen With Cliff Richard

When you’re meeting Cliff Richard, some sparkle is a must – in this case, the George VI Sapphires, which the Queen received from her father as a wedding present in 1947, hence their name. In 1952, the Queen had the necklace made shorter and had the largest stone removed. That stone was turned into a pendant and in the 1960s, she had a bracelet made to match. It has 300cts of sapphires and over 100cts of diamonds. Its value has been estimated at around £3.5million (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty)

Sri Lanka, 1981

Queen Elizabeth II

Another great floral dress (Picture: John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)

Leaving St Mary’s after meeting baby Prince William, 1982

Queen Elizabeth II leaves St Mary's Hospital after Prince William's birth

The perfect meeting-your-grandchild outfit, we say (Picture: John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)

30th anniversary walk, Sandringham, 1982

4th February 1982:  Queen Elizabeth II on the 30th anniversary of her reign, with the Duke of Edinburgh on their estate at Sandringham, Norfolk.

Love a bit of tweed (Picture: Dennis Oulds/Central Press/Getty)

Braemar Highland Games, 1982

1982 Braemar Games - queen elizabeth with diana and charles

We know Diana gets a lot of attention, but check out the Queen’s sweet pink ensemble, too (Picture: Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Banquet in San Francisco, 1983

Queen Frills And Bows - the queen at Banquet in San Francisco, 1983

Ultimate 80s style – we adore (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Canada, 1984

Queen Elizabeth II in canada, 1984

One of the Queen’s early monochrome outfits (Picture: John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)

Bahamas, 1985

Queen Elizabeth II in the bahamas

White accessories add a regal touch to a sweet pussybow dress (Picture: John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)

Windsor, 1985

Queen And Princess Anne in 1985

All the inspiration you need for a rainy day outfit (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Singapore, 1989

British Royal Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a pink, white and purple floral pattern outfit

Fresh in florals (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

At the Derby, Epsom, Surrey, 1987

The Queen at Derby Day in 1987

This is a rather bold print for the Queen, isn’t it? (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

London, 1990

The Queen at the Battle Of Britain Anniversary Flypast

The Queen chose bright colours to stand out in a crowd and made sure her hat never covered her face (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Trooping the Colour, London, 1991

Trooping The Colour queen elizabeth II 1991

A demure gingham combo (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

At the VJ 50th anniversary parade, London, 1995

queen elizabeth II at the VJ Annivesary

We would 100% wear this dress today (perhaps without the hat) (Picture:Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

South Africa, 1995

Queen In South Africa

Now that’s what we call a conversation print (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

At the Royal Windsor Horse Show, 1998

 The Queen At The Royal Windsor Horse Show, In The Grounds Of  Windsor Castle,  Watching Her Husband Compete

An absolute dream of a daytime outfit, in our humble opinions (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

South Africa, 1999

Queen Elizabeth ll hosts a banquet for the Heads of Government at the Royal Hotel on November 12, 1999 in Durban, South Africa

It might be time to bring back the sash (Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Westminster Abbey, London, 2000

Queen Speech Abbey

The Queen was a big fan of structural headwear (Picture: Picture Library/Getty Images)

The Christmas broadcast, 2001

Queen Elizabeth II films her traditional Christmas broadcast

Sometimes a simple outfit in just one bold colour works perfectly (Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Montego Bay, Jamaica, 2002

Britain's Queen Elizabeth Visits Jamaica

It’s giving… dots (Picture: Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty Images)

The Royal Windsor Horse Show, 2002

The Queen At The Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor

The padded gilet! The glasses! The print on the scarf! (Picture: Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

Opening of Parliament, 2002

State Opening of Parliament queen elizabeth II

A vision in white (Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Windsor, 2002

Queen Elizabeth II seen holding her Leica camera as she watches Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh compete in the Driven Dressage element of the Carriage Driving Competition at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 17, 2002 in Windsor,

Yet another great casual scarf moment (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Braemar Highland Gathering, 2002

queen elizabeth at the braemar highland gathering with prince william, 2002

More purple, more hats (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

London, 2003

Queen Elizabeth II visits St Bartholomews the Great Church

Now that is one jazzy hat (Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Cheltenham National Hunt Festival, 2003

Her Majesty the Queen after the unveiling of a statue of the Queen Mother

What a fantastic coat (Picture: Phil Cole/Getty Images)

Sandringham, 2003

Queen With Walking Stick in sandringham, 2003

We’ll never get tired of the Queen’s monochrome looks, and this mint green one is great (Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Royal opening of Scottish Parliament, 2004

 Queen Elizabeth II at Scottish Parliament opening

Bright fuchsia and royal purple? Sure, why not (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Windsor, 2005

the queen in windsor, 2005

Queen of layering (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Queen’s Cup Final polo match, 2005

Queen at polo match wearing all pink

Note the matching lippy (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Bristol, 2005

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Bristol Temple Meads Station

The hat, coat, and gloves scream old-school elegance (Picture: Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage)

Richmond, Virginia, 2007

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits a group of local school children in Virginia

Coral and lilac is a great combo – who knew until the Queen showed us? (Picture: Matthew Cavanaugh/ AFP via Getty Images)

Egham, 2008

queen elizabeth at the polo 2008

Purple, tweed, and a hat? Peak Queen fashion (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

London, 2009

Queen Elizabeth II (wearing the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch, which belonged to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother)

A masterclass in neutrals (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Buckingham Palace, 2009

Queen Holds Audience With NATO Secretary-General

The Queen in green should always be seen (Picture: Johnny Green/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Ladies Day at Ascot, 2011

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Beatrice attend Ladies Day of Royal Ascot

Watermelon vibes (Picture: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Braemar, Scotland, 2012

The 2012 Braemar Highland Gathering - queen and philip laughing

There’s a reason purple is considered a royal colour (Picture: Indigo/Getty Images)

Royal Variety Performance, London, 2012

Royal Variety Performance

Glitz and glam (Picture: Indigo/WireImage)

Berlin, 2015

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Berlin

The embellishment on this dress coat is just wonderful (Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Windsor, 2016

uke Of Edinburgh Carry Out Engagements In Windsor On the Queen's 90th Birthday

For her 90th birthday, the Queen went for green with white accessories (Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Trooping the Colour, 2016

Trooping The Colour 2016: the queen, kate, will, and kids

Showing her love of super-bright shades (Picture: Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Meghan and Harry’s wedding, 2018

Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle.

We’re huge fans of this colour combination (Picture: Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)

Widnes, 2018

The Duchess Of Sussex Undertakes Her First Official Engagement With  Queen Elizabeth II

And another smashing green outfit (Picture: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

London Fashion Week, 2018

The Queen Presents The Inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award For British Design At London Fashion Week

What does one wear to their first LFW? A tweed set, of course (Picture: Yui Mok – Pool/Getty Images)

Salisbury, 2020

The Queen And Duke Of Cambridge Visit Dstl Porton Down

Pink and black always looks chic (Picture: Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Meeting Joe Biden at Windsor Castle, 2021

The Queen and US President Joe Biden

A great pink print (Picture: Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Windsor, 2021

The Queen's Green Canopy Official Photographs

The shoulder detailing on that coat is v cool (Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Meeting Scott Morrison at Windsor Castle, 2021

Queen Elizabeth II Meets Australian PM At Windsor Castle

This yellow and blue dress is just plain cute, let’s be real (Picture: WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Buckingham Palace, 2021

The Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay Launch

A zingy pop of orange (Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Commonwealth Games Federation / Birmingham 2022 )

Windsor Castle, 2021

The queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021

A cardigan AND a gilet? You’re spoiling us (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Ascot Champions Day, 2021

The Queen at Ascot Champions Day

Whoever said you shouldn’t wear black and blue together was wrong (Picture: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Westminster Abbey, 2022

Service Of Thanksgiving For The Duke Of Edinburgh Queen Elizabeth II

A classic forest green look, done well (Picture: Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Commemorating the 70th Anniversary Of Halcyon Days, 2022

The Queen Commemorates 70th Anniversary Of Halcyon Days

Fab in florals (Picture: Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Royal Windsor Horse Show, 2022

Royal Windsor Horse Show - Day 2 Queen Elizabeth II

We’re not saying this is a look that you’d see at a Gucci show, but we’re also not *not* saying that (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Trooping the Colour, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee 2022 - Trooping The Colour

The white detailing and occasion cane really add to this powder blue look (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

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