The days of enormous skirts, huge sleeves and elaborate headgear are now in the past: today’s Royal Princesses are stylish, modern and set fashion trends all around the world.
From Grace Kelly’s ‘new look’ silhouette to Kate Middleton’s Topshop dresses, join us as we discover the fashion styles of some of this (and last) century’s most iconic Princesses.
Meghan Markle: Hollywood Chic
From red carpet glamour to modern Princess with a twist, Meghan’s fashion journey as she navigates her way through the rules of Royal dressing shows how important clothes are for maintaining a Princess’s public image at home.
While she has given up some of her pant suits and more revealing outfits, Meghan hasn’t let her new Royal position stop her wearing designer tuxedos, four inch heels or off-the-shoulder gowns. Meghan’s style has evolved as she’s become Royal, but it definitely hasn’t been sedated.
Meghan has not lost her voice by marrying into the Royal Family either: she has simply found a new way to support the causes she believes in. She supports ethical clothing companies by wearing their products and uses her flair for fashion to help women’s charity SmartWorks get vulnerable women into employment.
Find out more about Meghan’s fashion style in True Royalty’s exclusive film Meghan Markle: Inside the Wardrobe of a Princess
Grace Kelly: From Silver Screen To Princess Of Monaco
Grace Kelly’s elegant, preppy fashion style put her on the map as one of the best-dressed Royals of the 20th century. Born in Philadelphia, Grace would wear long white gloves to early film auditions. She loved simple, up-market jewellery and once famously said: “I favour pearls on screen and in my private life.”
In 1947, Christian Dior created the ‘New Look’ silhouette which featured a full circular skirt, cinched waist and fitted bodice. Grace embodied this look throughout her film career and beyond. Grace stayed away from bold colours or loud prints, favouring instead neutral colours with the occasional dash of yellow.
Grace was in 11 films (including three directed by Alfred Hitchcock) before she tied the knot with Rainer III, Prince of Monaco. She had three children before dying tragically in a car accident aged 52.
Find out more about Grace Kelly in True Royalty’s documentary Princesses of the World.
Princess Margaret: The Rebellious Style Icon
Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister was a Royal rebel in both love and fashion. While her more conservative sister was ruling the country, Margaret was dressing up and hanging out with some of the biggest stars of the ‘60s.
In the 1950s, Margaret’s movie-star glamour – along with her love of sunglasses, bright headscarves and colourful patterns – saw the Princess’s fashion style nicknamed ‘the Margaret look”.
Like Grace Kelly, Margaret was a fan of the Dior ‘new look’ silhouette, but unlike Princess Grace of Monaco, Princess Margaret was not afraid of polka dots, floral patterns or even zebra and leopard print clothes.
She may have been one of the most stylish Princesses around, but Margaret’s life was full of heartbreak. Unable to marry her first love Peter Townsend because he was divorced, Margaret’s early years were rather lonely.
Margaret did eventually marry photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones and had two children, but her marriage ended in divorce after numerous affairs on both sides.
Find out more about Princess Margaret’s life and style in Princess Margaret.
Diana: From Young Princess To Fashion Icon
While Diana became one of the biggest fashion icons of the 20th century, she started off with an awkward, unpolished sense of style. Married at just 20 years old, Diana wasn’t used to the spotlight and all the tailor-made clothes that came with it.
In her early appearances, Diana wore ruffled collars, tweed and baggy clothes which covered most of her body. She tended to like pretty, romantic clothes which were more Disney Princess than fashionable woman of the world.
As she became more confident in her role and travelled the world, Diana developed her style and moved away from the frills to a more sophisticated, athletic look. Her column dresses, little black numbers and pencil skirts highlighted her athletic figure and, in her later years, she had fully transitioned into a glamorous woman with a fully-realised sense of style.
Diana’s life wasn’t always a happy one, but her personable approach to Royal duties – and the way she brought up her sons to have a more ‘normal’ life than their father – changed the Royal Family forever. Discover more in Princess Diana: The Evolution of a Fashion Icon.
Kate Middleton: High Street Duchess To Queen-In-Waiting
When Kate first married Prince William in 2011, she was nicknamed ‘Queen of the High Street’ due to her championing mainstream clothing from Topshop, Zara, H&M and other chains.
The decision to wear accessible clothes that the general public could also acquire made Kate feel approachable and ‘normal’, something which has helped the Duchess of Cambridge become incredibly popular with the British people. Her clothes were saying: “I’m just like you.”
Kate was not born into the aristocracy: she had a pretty ordinary (if still privileged) upbringing before she met and fell in love with the future King of England.
If you look at Kate’s typical outfits, you can see that she has taken fashion cues from the Queen: she often wears block colours, demure coat dresses and finishes her outfit with a hat.
As the years have gone on, Kate has started to leave the high street behind as she opts for more upmarket designer gowns, but she still retains the sense of normalcy and approachability that will serve her well as future Queen consort. Find out more about the Duchess of Cambridge in Kate: The Making of a Modern Queen.