30 Iconic Royal Outfits You Didn’t Know Had Hidden Meanings

Sometimes a dress isn't just a dress ...

royal outfits with hidden meanings
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The Queen, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and even Sarah Ferguson love to make a statement with their outfits (even if it's not obvious to the public). Take a look at these hidden messages and details you may not have known about when it comes to royal style and accessories.

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Queen Elizabeth’s Wedding Dress

When Elizabeth married in 1947, her wedding dress was designed to be a symbol of the nation, royal wedding gown curator Joanna Marschner told . With everything still rationed in post-WWII Britain, the idea was to send for the future. The dress was embroidered with garlands of spring flowers, inspired by the Botticelli painting “Allegory of Spring.” Interestingly, from circa 1482 likely was painted for a wedding, too, and now hangs in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

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Duke and Duchess of Windsor After Their Wedding
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Wallis Simpson’s Wedding Gown

We’ve all seen , right? So, we know twice-divorced commoner Wallis did marry a royal. Or at least a former royal, then-King Edward. In fact, his love for her caused the King to abdicate his throne to marry her in 1937. When they wed, she wore a striking blue gown in pale blue silk. But did you know the color was coined “Wallis Blue”? The fabric was dyed to match Wally’s eyes. Awfully romantic, right? Even if their lives weren’t too storybook after that. Sigh.

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Sarah Ferguson’s Wedding Gown and Veil

When Fergie walked down the aisle, her gown held a great deal of significance, according to the . The gown itself was beaded with bees and thistles, representing the bride’s coat of arms. Anchors and waves were embroidered on her veil to signify hubby Andrew’s position as an officer in the Royal Navy, along with his monogram. Finally, four S’s for Sarah were beaded on the bodice.

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Fergie’s Flower Crown

When Sarah Ferguson headed down the aisle on the arm of her father in 1986, she wore a gorgeous flower headdress. After she signed her marriage certificate, she removed it and revealed the stunning brand-new York tiara, especially commissioned for the wedding and gifted by the Queen, according to . The ceremonial removal of the flowers symbolized Fergie’s official entrance into the royal family.

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Diana’s Spencer Tiara

The Spencer family had some pretty good bling of its own, as evidenced by the fact that Diana wore her own family’s iconic headpiece on her wedding day in 1981. The tiara was originally given to her grandmother in 1919, with additional pieces added in the 1930s, according to . Both of Diana’s sisters (and her sister-in-law) wore the tiara at their own weddings, making it a tradition to wear this family heirloom on one’s wedding day.

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Diana’s Revenge Dress

Has anyone ever rocked a LBD better than Diana? We think not. On the day that Charles admitted his infidelity in a televised interview, Diana wore this fabulous black dress by . Enough said.

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Diana’s Choker-as-Headband Moment

What to do with a gorgeous emerald and diamond choker loaned from the Queen? Wear it as a headband. Perhaps not what the Queen had in mind, but — and showed Diana’s individual sense of style to perfection. Not to mention, maybe it demonstrated a teeny bit of royal rebellion, too?

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Queen Elizabeth’s White Gloves

The Queen’s gloves have two hidden purposes, Genevieve James, creative director of Cornelia James, told GoodHousekeeping.com. The company has supplied the Queen’s pairs for more than 70 years. First, white gloves have simply always been a part of the Queen’s signature style; would it really seem like the Queen if you didn’t see that white-gloved wave? Reason number two is simple: protecting her hands. After all, you shake a lot of hands when you’re the Queen!

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Diana’s Cleavage Bags

As one of the most photographed women in the world, Diana learned how to shield herself from manipulative press photos. Every time she exited a vehicle in a dress that could possibly reveal too much, she strategically placed her clutch over her chest. Brilliant!

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Kate’s Blue Dress to Introduce Prince George

Kate’s blue polka-dot dress, worn when introducing baby George to the world, paid sweet homage to her late mother-in-law, Diana. As points out, the billowy dress was very similar to the one Diana wore when leaving the hospital with Prince William 30 years earlier. Aww!

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Kate’s Eagle Dress

It’s not unusual for the Royals to pay tribute to a host country when on tour by wearing something adorned with a national bird, flower or color. Case in point: The royal family’s ensembles when they touched down in Poland, wearing red and white, the colors of the country’s flag. Marie Claire UK says that Kate wore her last night in Germany in 2017, where eagles are the national bird. The dress also was created by a German designer.

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Kate’s Floral Dress at Kensington Palace’s White Garden

Kate chose a green tea-length Prada dress with poppy print for a visit to Diana’s memorial garden on the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017. It’s a subtle but lovely tribute to Diana, according to , as poppies signify remembrance in the UK. The dress also featured a bow neckline, a style Diana often wore herself.

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Kate’s Red Dress to Introduce Prince Louis

Déjà vu in red! Kate’s cheerful red dress with white details was reminiscent of Diana’s dress when introducing baby Prince Harry. said Twitter users also commented that the colors may be in honor of England’s patron saint, St. George, whose holiday happens to fall on the same day as the prince’s birth.

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The Queen’s Dress for Prince Harry’s wedding

The Queen never shies from bright colors, and this lime green silk tweed with dress in lime, lemon, purple and gray floral print was a real showstopper. But it may also have been a message for the happy couple: Purple may be a nod to the Queen’s approval of the marriage, while green is a color of growth, rebirth, respect and intention for the future, color consultant June McLeod previously explained to GoodHousekeeping.com.

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Princess Beatrice’s Flower Show Handbag

Looking like springtime herself in an adorable flowered dress for the Chelsea Flower Show in 2018, Bea carried a teeny structured handbag. What you might not have noticed was the subtle message, “Be cool Be nice” was embellished on the side of the bag, notes GoodHouskeeping.com. It’s a slogan associated with . Or perhaps a nod to the bullying the princess received after daring to wear her fascinating “octopus” fascinator to William and Kate’s wedding?

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Princess Eugenie’s Royal Ascot Outfit

Eugenie knows how to garner attention with her fashion choices. But in 2018, she went for classic ladylike details with a silk floral dress that pays subtle homage to her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. Apparently, the designer’s inspiration was the Queen’s own 1950’s high necklines, button details, and flounced hem.

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Crown Princess Mary of Denmark’s Ruby Tiara

Nothing says “princess” like a ruby-and-diamond-encrusted tiara, especially one that dates back two centuries. According to royal gem-watching blog, , the gems were first worn by a royal lady close to Napoleon. The jewels made several passes through a few different countries via royal weddings, eventually ending up in Denmark. Wearing the tiara is a nod to the long tradition that connects generations of European royalty.

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Princess Charlotte’s Dresses

Charlotte always wears floaty floral or pastel dresses when in public with her parents. In fact, most little princesses from Anne forward have worn such frocks as children. As royal expert Marlene Koenig explained to Bazaar.com, , but the darling dresses do represent a classic and timeless look for a family that thrives on tradition.

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Meghan Markle’s Wedding Veil

Meghan’s simple-but-elegant wedding gown was offset by a spectacular veil, embellished with delicate embroidery along the edges. A proclaimed that Meghan had asked that all 53 countries of the Commonwealth be part of her journey throughout the ceremony. So, the designer Waight Keller created the impressive veil that showcases the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country.

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Meghan Markle’s Wedding Bouquet

In a thoughtful tribute to Diana, Meghan’s bouquet was filled with spring flowers full of personal meaning to the couple. According to a , Prince Harry handpicked several flowers from their private garden at Kensington Palace. The most notable were Forget-Me-Nots, which were Diana’s favorite flower. What a tender gesture!

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Princess Charlotte’s Cardigan

Chances are, if you’re a younger sib, you’ve may have had to wear hand-me-downs. Well, even the royals do it, as evidenced by the fact that Princess Charlotte and Prince George have both worn the same darling little cardigan. Here, Charlotte wears it in this sweet portrait (taken by her mom, the Duchess!) with her new baby brother, Louis. Big brother, George, wore it previously to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

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Princess Eugenie’s Wedding Gown Fabric

Just like her mom's beautiful gown years before, Eugenie’s own gown featured hidden meaning in its lovely fabric, . The design showcased a garland that highlighted symbols important to the couple, including a thistle for Scotland (their fondness for Balmoral); a shamrock (Sarah Ferguson’s family); and the York Rose and ivy (signifying the couple’s home).

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Princess Eugenie’s Low-Back Wedding Gown

As a child, Eugenie required a lengthy surgery for scoliosis. The scar became an integral part of her identity, which she chose not to hide on her wedding day. , she specifically requested that her gown have a low back to reveal her scar, demonstrating that true beauty is boundless. Well done, Eugenie!

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Queen Letizia’s Leather Pants

You read that correctly. Queen Letizia of Spain has worn pants —leather pants, to be specific — for public appearances. She’s never been afraid to be a little — okay, a lot — fashion-forward. And though we’re not positive exactly what hidden message she’s sending, any woman who can rock leather pants like she does deserves a crown, in our humble opinions.

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Meghan Markle’s Heirloom Jewelry Honoring Diana

During the Prince Harry and Meghan’s Royal Tour to Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand, the Duchess wore her late mother-in-law’s exquisite aquamarine ring in quiet tribute. reports the ring was part of a set that Diana wore many times. In fact, the first time Meghan wore the lovely ring was on her wedding day, and she’s worn other pieces of Diana’s collection since her marriage to Harry.

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Princess Adrienne of Sweden’s Christening Gown

When Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill of Sweden welcomed the newest member of the family, Adrienne, they celebrated her baptism in style. The latest Swedish royal, who’s tenth in line to the throne, wore the same gown as every royal infant born since 1906. The secret? The lining of the fabric is embroidered with the names of all the previous royal babies who wore it, according to .

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Meghan Markle’s Recycled Blue Dress

We all have to wear the same clothes over and over. Why can’t the royals? Well, actually, they sometimes do! During the royal tour in New Zealand, Meghan sported a ruffled navy midi dress that has a romantic history for the couple: She wore it on her very first public outing with Prince Harry, . So sweet!

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Meghan Markle’s Diamond Pendant

Jewelry sets off an ensemble and speaks volumes about the wearer and her message. During Meghan’s speech about female empowerment in honor of New Zealand’s 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Meghan’s message came through loud and clear. According to , she paid tribute to the country’s cultural heritage by wearing an intriguing spiral diamond pendant, created by New Zealand-born . The piece is based upon the traditional art form of Ta Moko, a form of tattooing practiced by the Maori, the country’s indigenous peoples.

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Sarah Ferguson’s Vintage Bag

When Sarah showed up at Eugenie’s wedding, she was carrying a vintage clutch in memory of her late mother, Susan Barrantes. , the Manolo Blahnik clutch actually was carried by her mom to Sarah’s own wedding to Andrew in 1986.

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