10 June 2011

Flashback Friday: Diana at Trooping the Colour

Tomorrow, the Queen will celebrate her birthday for the second time this year with that grand parade we know as Trooping the Color (excuse me, colour - I'm American, I don't have time for excess vowels). The whole royal family will show up, but the media will only have eyes for one. Yes, unless Beatrice pulls another meme out of her hat box, Kate will be the name of the game. So today, we're flashing back to the last time Trooping the Colour was a one-woman show: the Diana years.

Behold, Diana's inaugural Trooping the Colour appearance. At first glance, you might think this is a maternity outfit, but then you squint at the date and realize that she's still just a royal fiancé. A royal fiancé in a most unfortunate outfit for carriage-riding, I might add.

Now we have the maternity wear years. Though not at all summery, her heavily pregnant 1982 outfit is surprisingly harmless for 1980s maternity fashion. 1984 is much more the smocked costume that was so typical back then. Whose idea was it to dress pregnant ladies like preschoolers, anyway? (Don't miss wee towheads Zara and Peter Phillips on either side of Prince William there!)

For the high years of Diana's Eighties experimental fashion, these are all quite plain; the most notable being 1986's repeat of her famous "flag" outfit (you remember, of course: she visited Japan, wore this dress which emulates the Japanese flag, and caused a sensation - as she was prone to do). My favorite is the structured affair from 1987, but that might just be because I love Harry there, climbing on the Buck House balcony. And since we're talking cute, don't miss William's sailor outfit from 1985. (And since we're talking sailor outfits, check out poor Lady Gabriella Windsor here.) Oh, the things we do to kids.

And oh, the things kids to do us, in all fairness - cheeky Harry in 1988! Perhaps he'll give us something as notable this year and take some of the attention off Kate for a change. Now, to the fashion: as the Nineties neared, Diana's style lost its Eighties dare. And with the exception of that bow from 1989, her Trooping the Colour appearances were no different. I find myself loving 1988's green number, despite it being so matchy-matchy (even Harry matches, for heaven's sake), but the hat from 1992 might be my favorite of them all.

Fitting, I guess, that she went out on a high note: 1992 is where our road ends. Diana and Charles separated, and her balcony invitation expired. Do you have a favorite? Is there any certain year that epitomizes Diana's style to you?

Photos: Corbis/Getty Images/Tim Graham