10 June 2016

Royal Fashion Awards: Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday Service

More than fifty members of the British royal family gathered today at St. Paul’s Cathedral for a National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 90th birthday. That is a massive amount of royals, and they brought with them everything that a massive amount of royals should: hats! Coat dresses! Jewels! Let’s dig in.

Best in Birthday
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
Decked out in a detailed primrose yellow ensemble by Angela Kelly, the Queen was a birthday ray of sunshine today. Nothing shone brighter than her brooch, though: she adopted the go big or go home strategy and donned the Richmond Brooch from Queen Mary’s collection. A rare brooch for her, and certainly one fitting for a special occasion (more, as always, over at the Vault).
We must also take a moment to recognize the dapper Duke of Edinburgh. It may have been a day designated for celebration of the Queen, but it was also Philip’s 95th birthday, and he celebrated by determinedly walking down the steps of St. Paul’s without using the temporary handrails set up for the Queen.

Best in Repeats
The Duchess of Cornwall
This is the sort of special occasion for which I fully expect to see some new outfits – yes, even from those family members as predictable and pragmatic as Anne and Camilla – which is why it was a bit of a letdown to see these two stick to their predictable and pragmatic ways.
The Royal Family
I’ll give them this, though: these are two good outfits from their respective collections of repeats. Camilla’s Bruce Oldfield coat and Philip Treacy hat make up one of the best outfits she’s got going right now, so I’ll give her my prize. (And there's also more on Camilla's jewels over at the Vault.)

Best in Blue/Grays
The Countess of Wessex
There was an almost determinedly understated color palette running through the top tier royal ladies, starting with Camilla’s pale blue and carrying through to Kate’s soft blue Catherine Walker coat and cream Jane Taylor hat and Sophie’s gray Suzannah coat dress and Jane Taylor hat. Lovely looks for both the Duchess and the Countess, but Sophie’s sleek dress caught my eye from the start and didn’t let go. So chic.
(Bonus points, by the way, for Lady Louise Windsor, continuing her training as a future royal millinery model! Viscount Severn was present too, making his state event debut.)

Best in Contrast
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie
If you needed a little more color and a little more contrast, you needed only to look towards the rest of the family. Eugenie led the way in her red Eponine London dress, with a skirt just waiting to be swished around (i.e., my favorite kind of skirt). Also? Several headband-loving royals could take note of her hat, which manages to be both headband-minimalist and big enough to seem legit.
BBC, Burberry, Eponine London
I feel like Princess Beatrice’s coat is getting a lot of side-eye, but – contrarian that I am – I’m ready and willing to defend it. (People keep referring to it as a Stormtrooper outfit. Please. It’s more of a skeleton costume.) It doesn’t have any place being paired with a hat with a bow, I'll give you that, but the boldly graphic Burberry coat was a welcome jolt to the royal party aesthetic.

Best in Personal Bests
Zara Tindall
Is this floral dress a Zara personal best? I think we’re nearing that bar, if not even crossing over it. The hat’s spot on, too. Sometimes a little Erdem is all you need.
Autumn Phillips’ green dress by Suzannah was nothing to sneeze at either, but the zootopia pouf on her hat certainly seemed sneeze-inducing.

Best in Hats
Lady Gabriella Windsor
Lady Gabriella Windsor, Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor
Trust the Kents to bring it in the hat department, from the Countess of St. Andrews' bold turban sculpture to Princess Alexandra’s summery straw to Princess Michael’s feathery flair. A royal gathering this big brings royal weddings to the mind and a royal hat as big as Lady Gabriella’s follows through on that promise. Its statement size is nicely neutralized by its basic color.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Duke of Kent, the Earl and Countess of St. Andrews
The Royal Family, BBC

Best in Sneaky Jewels
The Duchess of Gloucester
The Royal Family
This isn’t one of her immediately recognizable repeats (I’m not sure if it is a repeat or not, but it's not one we’ve seen at a ton of recent big family events), and she’s doing as she usually does and sneaking in as many day jewels as she can. Those clips! Those pearls!

Best in Retro
Viscountess Linley
Chatting with Sophie Wessex before the service began, you couldn’t miss Viscountess Linley's contribution to the day's millinery statements. Definitely a retro throwback, and honestly pretty fabulous.
No retro category is complete without Serena’s sister-in-law, though! You will be shocked to see that Lady Sarah Chatto is not in gray, or white, or black this time around. Navy – what a shocker – and even a bit of interest on the skirt. (Longtime readers know I kid, because I fall for her style no matter what predictable format it takes.)

Who was your best dressed at the birthday service?

I haven’t hit all of the royal family members present, so feel free to add more in the comments! (But I mean, the men, they wore suits.)

P.S.: Tomorrow we have Trooping the Colour, and you can tune into the Jewel Vault for complete coverage.