Princess Kate usually steals the British royal fashion spotlight, but her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, certainly is no slouch in the perfectly coordinated wardrobe department. And since it’s the Queen’s 90th birthday, she has plenty of memorable style moments to choose from. Today, we’re paying homage to her epically elegant outfits with these photos that prove the monarch’s fashion icon status.
Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director: I am a QEII fanatic — there’s no one cooler. And my suspicions that she was born to rule were confirmed when I saw this 1937 shot of her, all decked out in a crown and queenly smile, with her royal wave all but perfected. At 90, she hasn’t changed a bit.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty; Indigo/Getty; Dominic Lipi
Brittany Talarico, Senior Style Editor: What’s under the Queen’s umbrella, ella, ella … an outfit the perfectly matches the canopy she’s carrying. And not only does the royal adhere to monochromatic dressing rules when it rains, she also holds her umbrellas herself (no royal bodyguards needed!), making them the perfect accessory for all her regal suits.
Colleen Kratofil, Style Writer-Reporter: I love that the Queen’s outfit back in 1954 on a royal tour of Australia epitomized what her style would be like for years to come: elegant, ladylike and always topped off with a monochromatic hat.
Jillian Ruffo, Associate Beauty Editor: What products does The Queen use on her face? Unconfirmed. But in one rare sighting, she whipped out a bullet of hot pink lipstick IN PUBLIC and applied it directly on her lips — no lady in waiting to be seen. And while we’ll most likely never know what shade it was, we do know that she doesn’t use a compact.
Sarah Kinonen, Style & Beauty Editorial Assistant: While I’m partial to the Queen’s matching sets (I don’t think anyone can pull off a two-piece look as elegantly as she does), there’s one aspect of her look that she’s always getting right: her accessories. Specifically speaking, the four-legged friends she’s constantly toting around. I don’t think it gets any cuter than this.
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Sharon Clott Kanter, Deputy Style Director: I love how the Queen has her whole kingdom tied up in a pretty little bow (no one makes a move without her knowing about it — she’s watching you Prince Harry!), so I love that nod to her omnipresence with this bow-print dress she wore to celebrate Canada Day in 2010. No one messes with this HBIC.
Emily Kirkpatrick, Associate Style Editor: Only the Queen could manage to make a matchy-matchy family photo not look totally lame. In fact, it probably wouldn’t be so farfetched to suggest that this very snapshot is the precise reason the prep look was such a big hit in 70s. It’s even inspiring us millennials to dust off our school girl kilts for spring.
Catherine Kast, Style Editor: Since Will and Kate just wrapped their trip to India, I was curious about what the Queen wore on her own similar voyages. This ensemble from a visit to the Gandhi shrine in 1961 is delightful. She always looks charmingly put-together because her looks are pretty much all custom-made, but in this case, I really appreciate how the extra-light mauve jacket and dress perfectly match the blooms on her hat.