Queen Elizabeth II is well known for her designer coat-dresses and iconic headwear – and after more than six decades on the throne, it’s safe to say that Britain’s top royal is the very definition of sovereign style. And now, a few of the Queen’s wardrobe secrets have been revealed in the Smithsonian Channel documentary “The Queen at 90.”
The Queen’s daughter-in-law, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, hinted to producers that the Monarch’s penchant for brightly coloured clothing, matching hats and pearls is actually a fundamental way for her to stick out in a crowd.
“She needs to stand out for people to be able to say ‘I saw the Queen,’ ” Sophie revealed in the documentary. “Don’t forget that when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, 10, 15 deep — and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the Queen’s hat as she went past.”
In addition to bright colours, one way the 90-year-old royal takes her classic outfits to the next level is by pairing them with designer handbags. She reportedly has more than 200 Launer London purses, with each bag ranging upwards of £1,650 (approx. $2,950 CAD). She received her first bag from the brand in the late ‘60s, and opts to recycle her purses throughout the year for various engagements (Buckingham Palace generally only commissions five bags per year).
If she moves her bag from one hand to the other, it means she’s trying to wrap things up.
“It would be done very nicely,” royal historian Hugo Vickers told PEOPLE. “Someone would come along and say, ‘Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you.’”
And if the Queen places her handbag on the table at dinner, it signals that she wants the event to end in the next five minutes, The Telegraph reports. “If she puts her bag on the floor, it shows she’s not enjoying the conversation and wants to be rescued by her lady-in-waiting.”
In true regal fashion, the Queen’s outfits are planned well in advance. According to couture designer Karl-Ludwig Rehse, who started making outfits for the Queen in 1988 (she still wears his designs today); her outfits are decided on months before an event.
“It’s not the case that the Queen is going somewhere next week and thinks, ‘What am I going to wear?’” Rehse told CNN. “Sometimes it is six months, 12 months or longer.”