Queen Elizabeth’s Best Outfits: Her Most Iconic Looks of All Time

Queen Elizabeth’s Best Outfits: Her Most Iconic Looks of All Time

From colorful  frocks to ornate ballgowns, here’s a look back at Queen Elizabeth’s most memorable fashion moments over the years

Queen Elizabeth II

Over her 70-year rule, Queen Elizabeth II gained the title of Britain’s longest reigning monarch and had an undeniable worldwide influence. Her death on Sept. 8, 2022, may have marked the end of an era, but her legacy will span many lifetimes.

As is customary within the royal family, the Queen’s fashion choices were often her way of communicating with the public and fellow diplomats. The monarch’s longtime personal dresser and close assistant, Angela Kelly, explained why the Queen often opted for bold color schemes in her 2019 memoir, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe.

“The Queen is conscious that she must be easily visible to as many people as possible when she is out and about, so I choose mainly striking colors that will be easily seen,” Kelly wrote.

Her colorful  frocks and matching hats became staples of the Queen’s fashion, but in her early years of reign, she also experimented with daring silhouettes and — on rare occasions — even a pair of trousers here and there.

From her demure style as a young princess to the ornate ballgowns and velvet capes she wore as a monarch, keep reading for a look back at some of Queen Elizabeth’s most iconic fashion moments.

Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in England in June 1940

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, 22nd June 1940

LISA SHERIDAN/STUDIO LISA/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

The young royal perched by a window in Windsor Castle in this portrait from 1940 when she was just 14 years old. She wore a patterned  dress with a ruffled collar, her hair in a cropped style.

Queen Elizabeth poses for a portrait in 1943

Princess Elizabeth of England (future queen Elizabeth II) young wearing girl scout uniform (she's member of the Buckingham Palace Company of Girl Guides) in 1943

APIC/GETTY

Years before her reign as Queen would begin, Her Majesty, then Princess Elizabeth, was a member of the Girl Scouts. Here, she’s pictured wearing her official uniform.

Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day in  London in November 1947

Queen Elizabeth II, as Princess Elizabeth, and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, styled Prince Philip in 1957, on their wedding day. She became queen on her father King George VI's death in 1952

HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

Queen Elizabeth’s wedding  dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, who inspired Botticelli’s famous painting Primavera. He evoked the coming of spring by adorning the gown with wheat and flowers in gold and silver thread. The intricate ivory silk dress also featured a 15-foot train embroidered in pearl, crystal and appliqué duchess satin. Her Majesty paired the gown with the Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara — the same one her granddaughter Princess Beatrice would later wear on her own wedding day.

Queen Elizabeth in Malta in November 1949

Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921 - 2021) at the Villa Guardamangia in Malta, where he is stationed with the Royal Navy, 23rd November 1949

HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

Queen Elizabeth, then still a Princess, is pictured with her husband, Prince Philip, in Malta, where he was stationed with the Royal Navy. The monarch wore a gray suit and pearl necklace.

Queen Elizabeth at a royal viewing of Because You’re Mine in  London in October 1952

Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Empire Theater in Leicester Square after attending the Royal Film Show. The movie was a musical, titled Because You're Mine.

BETTMANN

Early on in her reign, the Queen made waves when she wore a black-and-white blazer-style  dress at a royal viewing of the musical comedy Because You’re Mine at the Empire Theatre in  London. Magazines and newspapers quickly printed photos of Her Majesty in the Norman Hartnell gown, prompting manufacturers to produce replicas of the  dress.

Queen Elizabeth on her coronation day in London in January 1953

Queen Elizabeth II wearing a gown designed by Norman Hartnell for her Coronation ceremony

CENTRAL PRESS/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

For her coronation day, the Queen commissioned designer Norman Hartnell to create her memorable gown. The final design represented all of the territories over which the Queen would now reign, resulting in an intricate palette of greens, pinks and yellows consisting of silk threads, pearls, diamonds, amethysts, crystals and sequins. The entire process took nine weeks, six embroiderers and 3,000 hours to complete.

Queen Elizabeth in Australia in February 1954

queen elizabeth ii

FOX PHOTOS/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

Queen Elizabeth was the first monarch to pay an official visit to Australia in 1954 when she was 27 years old. While in Melbourne, she wore a stunning emerald green evening gown paired with a double-strand pearl necklace and white cap.

Queen Elizabeth in France in April 1957

Queen Elizabeth II and President Rene Coty Paris, France 1957

KEYSTONE-FRANCE/GAMMA-RAPHO

During an official visit to France, the Queen attended a gala performance at the Paris Opera House wearing a gown by Norman Hartnell. According to British Vogue, the designer is said to have created the  dress as a nod to France, with national flowers and bees, the emblem of Napoleon, embroidered on the skirt. The monarch also wore the Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara and Delhi Durbar necklace.

Queen Elizabeth with President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy in England in June 1961

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy pay a visit to the royal family in England. (L-R): John F. Kennedy; Queen Elizabeth II; Jackie Kennedy, and Prince Philip.

BETTMANN

At her famed meeting with President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy at Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth was as glamorous as ever in a royal blue tulle ballgown by Norman Hartnell. She was also decked out in diamond-and-sapphire jewelry, along with white gloves and a silver handbag.

Queen Elizabeth at the premiere of Lawrence of Arabia in  London in October 1962

The Queen’s embellished white taffeta gown by Norman Hartnell was first worn by the monarch at a state dinner in Rome in 1961. It would later be worn by Princess Beatrice, who altered the  dress slightly for her July 2020 wedding.

Queen Elizabeth at Prince Charles’ investiture ceremony in Wales in July 1969

Though the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales was a momentous occasion, designer Norman Hartnell decided to go for a more subdued look for the Queen. He created a simple pale yellow shift  dress and coat with a stand-up collar, while milliner Simone Mirman crafted a Tudor-style cap embellished with pearls and bugle beads.

Queen Elizabeth in  London in January 1973

The Queen Attending A Premiere In The West End Circa 1973

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

The Queen stepped out for a premiere in  London’s West End in 1973 and was the picture of glamour in a colorful embroidered gown. A fur stole, white gloves and a glittering diamond tiara finished off the regal look.

Queen Elizabeth in Balmoral, Scotland, in January 1974

Queen Elizabeth ll arrives at Aberdeen Airport with her corgis to start her holidays in Balmoral, Scotland in 1974

ANWAR HUSSEIN/GETTY

Along with her corgis, the Queen arrived at Aberdeen Airport to start her holidays in Balmoral, Scotland, wearing a forest green suit, matching hat and pearl necklace.

Queen Elizabeth in New Zealand in February 1977

Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a green-and-white floral pattern dress with a green-and-white hat, during a walkabout in New Plymouth, New Zealand, 25th February 1977. The visit is part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee tour

SERGE LEMOINE/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

While visiting New Zealand in 1977, the Queen embraced a patterned look in a green-and-white floral  dress with a complementing hat. She completed the  ensemble with white accessories, including a belt, gloves, handbag and shoes.

Queen Elizabeth in New Zealand in February 1977

Queen Elizabeth ll, wearing a lilac suit with a checked collar and matching turban-style hat, during a walkabout in Wellington, New Zealand, 27th February 1977. The visit is part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee tour

SERGE LEMOINE/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

In Wellington, New Zealand, the Queen wore a lilac suit with a checked collar and turban-style hat.

Queen Elizabeth poses for her Silver Jubilee portrait in February 1977

Queen Elizabeth II poses for a silver jubilee portrait in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace, 6th February 1977

HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

In an official portrait to celebrate her 25-year anniversary as monarch, Queen Elizabeth wore an ornate white-and-gold gown and red fur-lined velvet cape. According to Historic Royal Palaces, the crown she wore was created for King George VI’s coronation in 1937 and contains diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, pearls and rubies. The Queen also previously wore it for her own coronation.

Queen Elizabeth at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in  London in June 1977

Queen Elizabeth II, in the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Guards, and the Duke of Edinburgh, Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, during the Trooping the Colour ceremony]

PA IMAGES VIA GETTY

Queen Elizabeth made quite the entrance at the 1977 Trooping the Colour ceremony on horseback, wearing the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Guards.

Queen Elizabeth in Zambia in January 1979

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on safari during their state visit to Zambia, 1979.

SERGE LEMOINE/GETTY

The Queen was rarely seen in trousers, but while on safari in Zambia with Prince Philip in 1979, she leaned into a more modern look in a beige pair of pants. A cream blouse with gold, crimson and blue patterns and a pair of sunglasses completed the casually chic  outfit.

Queen Elizabeth in Saudi Arabia in March 1979

Queen Being Greeted By King Khalid Ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud On Arrival By Concorde At Riyadh Airport In Saudi Arabia. She Wears A Long Day Dress And Covers Her Hair To Respect The Customs Of Her Hosts. (day Date Not Certain. Gulf Tour Dates 12 Feb - 1 March 1979)

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

For her 1979 trip to the Middle East, designer Hardy Amies and milliner Frederick Fox created a series of modest looks for the Queen. Following the tour, the Queen’s long  dresses were shortened and worn again at the Royal Ascot.

Queen Elizabeth at The Windsor Horse Show in May 1981

Queen At The Windsor Horse Show Taking Photographs With Her Camera

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

The Queen wore a brown coat and patterned headscarf while attending the 1981 Windsor Horse Show, where she was also spotted taking some photographs of her own.

Queen Elizabeth at Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding in  London in July 1981

The Prince and Princess of Wales pose on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day, with the Queen and some of the bridesmaids, 29th July 1981

TERRY FINCHER/PRINCESS DIANA ARCHIVE/GETTY

All eyes were on the bride during Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding, but the Queen still made her mark in a bright turquoise  dress. She accessorized with a matching hat as well as a pearl necklace and white gloves.

Queen Elizabeth visits the Solomon Isles in October 1982

Queen Elizabeth II Visiting The Capital Of The Solomon Isles In The South Pacific As Part Of Her Commonwealth Tour

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

The Queen wore one of her most unique hats while visiting The Solomon Isles in 1982. The lavender feathered piece perfectly matched her polka dot  dress, which she wore with white shoes and gloves.

Queen Elizabeth with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan in San Francisco in March 1983

Queen Elizabeth II And Prince Philip With President Ronald Reagan And His Wife Nancy, The First Lady, Attending A Banquet During The Queen's Official Visit To The USA

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

For her meeting with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1983, the Queen wore a floor-length gown with voluminous, tufted sleeves as well as white opera gloves and a sparkling tiara.

Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor, England, in May 1988

Queen Elizabeth ll walks in riding gear as she visits the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May 1988 in Windsor, England

ANWAR HUSSEIN/GETTY

The Queen looked relaxed in trousers, riding boots and a blazer at the 1988 Royal Windsor Horse Show. She also wore one of her beloved headscarves with green, red and white patterns.

Queen Elizabeth in Washington, D.C., in May 1991

Queen Elizabeth II (left) and US President George HW Bush (1925 - 2018) walk together on the White House's South Lawn, Washington DC, May 14, 1991

ARNIE SACHS/CNP/GETTY

During a visit to the United States in 1991, Queen Elizabeth accompanied President George H.W. Bush on a walk on the White House’s South Lawn wearing a purple suit with a coordinating purple-and-white striped hat.

Queen Elizabeth in Blois, France, in June 1992

Queen On A Visit To Blois In France Wearing A Pink And Taupe Outfit Designed By Fashion Designer Ian Thomas With Colour Co-ordinated Taupe Shoes And Accessories

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

While on a visit to France in 1992, the Queen wore a bright pink coat with taupe accessories and a matching hat. The look was designed by fashion designer Ian Thomas.

Queen Elizabeth in Hungary in May 1993

The Queen And Prince Philip Arriving For A Banquet During An Official Tour Of Hungary

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

During her official tour of Hungary in 1993, the Queen opted for a pink floor-length gown while attending a banquet with Prince Philip. She accessorized with a silver tiara, sparkling jewelry and white gloves.

Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Variety Performance in Birmingham, England, in November 1999

Queen Elizabeth II attends the Royal Variety Performance at the Birmingham Hippodrome on November 29, 1999 in Birmingham, England.

INDIGO/GETTY

Dubbed the “Harlequin”  dress, the multi-colored  ensemble that the Queen wore to 1999’s Royal Variety Performance in Birmingham went down in history as one of her most memorable. The gown, created by Karl-Ludwig Rehse, featured a gold chevron-striped skirt and was topped with a sequinned, diamond-patterned bodice.

Queen Elizabeth in Jamaica in February 2002

Queen Elizabeth II On Her Jubilee Tour On A Royal Tour To Jamaica Wearing A Suit Designed By Fashion Designer Hardy Amies And A Hat Designed By Milliner Frederick Fox With A Handbag By Launer

TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY

Queen Elizabeth brought out all the bright colors during her royal tour of Jamaica in 2002. This orange  outfit was designed by Hardy Amies with a hat by milliner Frederick Fox. Her cream-colored handbag was by Launer.

Queen Elizabeth in Jamaica in February 2002

Queen Elizabeth visits Sam Sharpe Square February 20, 2002 while on a visit to Montego Bay, Jamaica

JULIAN PARKER/UK PRESS/GETTY

The Queen also toured Jamaica in a pink-and-purple floral  ensemble which she accessorized with a pink hat and white handbag, gloves and shoes.

Queen Elizabeth at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in  London in April 2011

QUEEN ELIZABETH II The Royal Wedding Prince William & Catherine Middleton Westminster Abbey, London, UK April 29, 2011

Queen Elizabeth. KURT KRIEGER/CORBIS

For the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Queen chose a pale yellow  dress created by her longtime dresser, Angela Kelly. Along with the primrose yellow number, the monarch wore a matching coat and flower-adorned hat. Later that year, Her Majesty repurposed the look to church in Australia — where yellow is the national color.

Queen Elizabeth in Dublin, Ireland, in May 2011

The Queen’s 2011 visit to Ireland made her the first monarch to visit the country in a century. She arrived in a bright green jacket and hat, a symbolic shade that sent a message of peace following years of conflict between the two countries. According to The Irish Times, the Queen’s  outfit was designed by Stewart Parvin and her jade green hat was created by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.

Queen Elizabeth at Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall’s wedding in Edinburg, Scotland, in July 2011

Queen Elizabeth II attends the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall at Canongate Kirk on July 30, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips will marry England rugby player Mike Tindall today at Canongate Kirk. Many royals are expected to attend including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

INDIGO/GETTY

The Queen appeared at her granddaughter Zara Phillips’ 2011 wedding in a bright coral coat over a floral  dress. She also wore a matching hat with intricate ribbon and feather detail.

Queen Elizabeth at a Christmas Day church service in Sandringham, England, in December 2012

Queen Elizabeth II leaves St Mary Magdalene Church after attending the traditional Christmas Day church service on December 25, 2012 in Sandringham, near King's Lynn, England

CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY

Seemingly full of holiday cheer, the Queen was spotted attending Christmas Day services at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, England. Rather than a traditional green or red, the monarch opted for a deep teal coat with zig-zag detail along the buttons. To keep warm, she also wore a black fur scarf and gloves, which matched her black handbag.

Queen Elizabeth at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in Windsor in May 2018

Queen Elizabeth II smiles after the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England

ALASTAIR GRANT – WPA POOL/GETTY

Queen Elizabeth celebrated Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in a lime green  ensemble designed by Stewart Parvin. Her coat was an edge-to-edge design with a fastening in lime silk tweed, the same material with which Angela Kelly designed the Queen’s matching hat.

Queen Elizabeth in Chester, England, in June 2018

Queen Elizabeth II departs Chester Town Hall, where she attended lunch with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as guests of Chester City Council on June 14, 2018 in Chester, England. Meghan Markle married Prince Harry last month to become The Duchess of Sussex and this is her first engagement with the Queen. During the visit the pair opened a road bridge in Widnes and visited The Storyhouse in Chester

KARWAI TANG/WIREIMAGE

The Queen chose lime green again for her first official engagement with Meghan Markle in her new role as the Duchess of Sussex, a lunch held at the Chester City council. She wore a brightly colored coat with a white floral  dress underneath and a matching green hat.

Queen Elizabeth at Trooping the Colour in Windsor in June 2020

Queen Elizabeth II attends Trooping The Colour, the Queen's birthday ceremony at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2020 in Windsor, England. In line with Government advice, it was agreed that The Queen's Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, would not go ahead in its traditional form

POOL/SAMIR HUSSEIN/WIREIMAGE

In 2020, the Queen attended her birthday ceremony at Windsor Castle in an eye-catching teal  frock and hat.

Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey in  London in October 2021

Queen Elizabeth II seen using a walking stick as she arrives for a Service of Thanksgiving to mark the centenary of The Royal British Legion at Westminster Abbey on October 12, 2021 in London, England

POOL/MAX MUMBY/GETTY

While attending a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in 2021, Queen Elizabeth wore a royal blue coat and coordinating hat with floral details.

Queen Elizabeth poses for her Platinum Jubilee portrait in Norfolk, England, in February 2022

Queen Elizabeth II is photographed at Sandringham House to commemorate Accession Day, marking the start of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee Year, on February 2, 2022 in Sandringham, Norfolk

CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY

To commemorate Accession Day, marking the start of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee Year, Queen Elizabeth was photographed in a pale green  dress and pearl necklace.

Queen Elizabeth at the Platinum Jubilee in  London in June 2022

Queen Elizabeth II smiles on the balcony during Trooping The Colour on June 02, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952

CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY

Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, the 70th anniversary of her reign, in June of 2022. Her Majesty wore a baby blue  ensemble with white embroidered details along with a matching hat, pearl jewelry and a pair of sunglasses.

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