Choosing the ‘right’ outfit to wear to any royal event is of utmost importance, and there can be few moments more historically significant than the coronation of a new monarch.
Much has been made of the departures from tradition for the coronation of King Charles III and this extended to the guest’s dress codes. Gone were the requests for attendees to wear grand robes or ceremonial attire in favor of a more relaxed, pared down look.
Members of the royal family, however, arrived in traditional regalia. The Prince of Wales wore a ceremonial dress uniform of the Welsh guards, while the Princess of Wales looked resplendent in official robes — worn over an Alexander McQueen ivory silk crepe dress peppered with silver bullion embroidered roses, thistles, daffodils and shamrock motifs symbolizing the different nations of the United Kingdom.
According to CNN royal experts Max Foster and Lauren Moorhouse, Kate was also wearing a pair of drop-pearl earrings set in diamonds, once belonging to Princess Diana, as well as a lavish silver bullion laurel-shaped headpiece by Jess Collett and Alexander McQueen.
The esteemed British designer is a fan favorite of the Wales’. Sarah Burton, the creative director of Alexander McQueen since 2010, custom created Kate’s striking wedding dress in 2011. At the coronation this morning, Princess Charlotte was similarly sporting McQueen — matching her mother in a white silk crepe look and identical satin floral embroidery, as well as a similar silver headpiece.
The Queen Consort’s outfit had a nod to tradition while incorporating more modern and personal touches. Upon arriving at the Abbey, Camilla wore a crimson velvet and ermine Robe of State. Underneath, her ivory, silver and gold embroidered coronation dress was by British designer Bruce Oldfield.
First Lady Jill Biden wore periwinkle blue Ralph Lauren skirt suit accessorized with a coordinating hair bow and was accompanied by her granddaughter Finnegan Biden in a chic pale yellow cape dress by Markarian, in what could be seen as a sartorial nod to show solidarity with Ukraine. Inside the Abbey, the pair were seated next to Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska in an icy blue dress and coat pairing.
British actor and “Love Actually” star Emma Thompson arrived at the ceremony in a monochrome red rose-printed overcoat from Emilia Wickstead, accessorized with her Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal.
Thompson, who has been known to subvert royal dress codes after she received her MBE award at Buckingham Palace in 2018 in a pair of Stella McCartney for Stan Smith trainers, was seen outside Westminster Abbey this morning in a more opulent type of footwear: Roger Vivier black satin pumps with a crystal heel and buckle.
Elsewhere, Australian musician Nick Cave looked chic in a classic three-piece black suit and Gucci horsebit loafers, while Katy Perry (scheduled to headline the coronation concert in Windsor on Sunday) opted for a pink skirt suit and pearl choker by Vivienne Westwood — the late British designer who died in December 2022.
The distinctive necklace design may also be a nod to Queen Camilla’s own fashion legacy. Camilla has numerous three-strand pearl pieces, including the aquamarine piece she has worn consistently since the 1990s.
Perry was accompanied by British Vogue editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, who arrived in a statement icy blue waistcoat and polka dot tie.
Next to arrive were world leaders, politicians, and international members of government. Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau was spotted braving the rain on his way to Westminster Abbey. His wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau cut through the gray weather with a blush-toned satin Ted Baker dress complete with organza sleeves. Akshata Sunak, wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — who arrived in a classic morning suit — opted for a similarly uplifting cornflower blue puff-sleeved dress by Claire Mischevani. Lady Louise Windsor received seasonal the memo, too, with her meadow-flower couture dress from Suzannah London.
Princess Anne appeared in military uniform heavy with gold braid to perform her role as “Gold Stick in Waiting” responsible for the monarch’s personal safety. No stranger to a military uniform, Anne is colonel of several international regiments.
Across the event, international royalty used the moment to celebrate their country’s traditional garments. Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan appeared in a morning suit and muted patterned silk kimono with an obi belt respectively.
The theme of traditional dress was continued by King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan. King Jigme Khesar wore a Bhutanese Gho, while Queen Jetsun Pema wore a lilac-colored kira — a customary wrap dress typical in Bhutan.
There were an array of jewel-toned looks on display, too. There were an array of jewel-toned looks on display, too. Often heralded as one of the world’s best dressed royals, Queen Letizia of Spain didn’t disappoint, stepping out in a custom, amethyst-hued Carolina Herrera pink suit complete with ruffles and embroidered details.
Similarly, Masenate Mahot Seeiso — Queen of Lesotho, seen arriving with Lesotho’s King Letsie III — opted for an arresting, sapphire-blue paisley gown with a sculptural, off-the-shoulder bodice. South African soprano Pretty Yende wore a striking sunny yellow Stéphane Rolland gown, finished off with a 138 carat yellow and white diamond necklace by Graff and 35 carat white diamond earrings.
Top image: Katy Perry during the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in Westminster Abbey.