If you were ever wondering what the royal family wears for Christmas, worry no more. The light has been shed on what Her Majesty The Queen wears for the festivities, and it is as extra as you might think. So extra in fact, that there can be up to seven outfit changes involved… in just one day.
In an extract from her book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, shared in Good Housekeeping, Angela Kelly revealed that Christmas is such a busy time for The Queen that she has to cover each sartorial scenario.
She says, ‘There may be several outfit changes in one day – it could be as many as five or even up to seven, although that is rare – depending on the number of planned engagements, as well as the weather and temperature, which can change quacky around Sandringham.’
It all begins with breakfast, for which she will pick a simple blouse and skirt or day dress, before holding private audiences. And if there is a Royal Shoot happening, she will change into her second outfit of the day.
‘This outfit is all about warmth and comfort – and the layers. First the trousers go on, then waterproof trousers over the top, then a long-sleeve short, jumper and cardigan, thick socks so feet stay warm and dry and, finally, Wellington boots. Last, her Majesty picks up her gloves, scarf and waterproof mac to head out in the car to meet the shooting party,’ Angela writes.
Then back to Sandringham House, and into her third outfit, a skirt and blouse again, or dress if she is having afternoon tea with guests. For the evening, there is loads more planning involved.
Angela says, ‘In the afternoon I lay out sketches of evening dresses for The Queen to look through and choose what she would like to wear that evening and occasionally, she may have to pick out a dress for a cocktail party. Once Her Majesty has chose her dress for dinner, a handwritten notice is pinned in the Dressers’ Corridor detailing what she will be wearing, so that The Queen’s ladies’ maids can select an appropriate dress for the lady they are looking after.’
The Queen usually won’t go for anything too sparkly if it’s a reception with the Estate staff, but if it’s more formal then she will likely go with a floor-length evening gown. She might then change again for dinner.
She adds, ‘If the reception goes on until 7.30pm and The Queen feels comfortable, she will remain in the cocktail dress and not worry about changing into evening dress. Alternatively, if she wants to change for dinner, Her Majesty will wear a long evening gown. Dressing for dinner is a tradition The Queen Mother kept up after the death of King George V, when she would wear a long evening dress, and The Queen has follower her example. This is when Her Majesty’s beautiful jewellery comes out.’
Finally, for the church service on Christmas Day, which The Queen attends every year with her family, Angela will plan her outfit meticulously, two months in advance.
‘I start to plan well in advance – around two months or so – checking to see what colours The Queen wore in previous years as I don’t want to repeat a colour for a few years. I like to make sure The Queen is wearing a festive colour so the well-wishers can see her easily,’ she says.
Puts our festive wardrobe planning in a whole new light.