The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex usually claim the limelight when it comes to royal fashion. Both women wield huge influence within the industry, and, working royal or not, our appetites for their latest outfits seems inexhaustible.
But let’s take our attention off them for a second, as there have been a couple of other interesting royal fashion moments taking place over the past few weeks - not least the Countess of Wessex in a red Alaia dress at Buckingham Palace on Monday (her 51st birthday) for a reception to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit.
More interesting still, is unravelling the Duchess of Cornwall’s longtime penchant for Dior, something that became apparent on Wednesday when she wore a coat-dress from the luxury label for the opening of Walsall’s Central Library and Archives as part of a tour of the West Midlands.
It was an elegant piece, fitted at the waist with an A-line skirt. It featured a Prince of Wales check (naturally), and was teamed with black knee-high boots and a star-print silk scarf which matched the stones in her turquoise-and-silver brooch. The look was completed by a neat black clutch from the Queen’s go-to handbag brand, Launer, which she also carries on a regular basis - appropriate given that Camilla visited the label's factory as part of her visit.
The ensemble reminded us that while the 72-year-old’s outfits get less attention than Kate’s and Meghan’s, she has a flair for style that deserves some recognition too.
For a start, her relationship with Dior is a longstanding one. It’s not known quite how far back, but she visited the atelier on Paris’s Avenue Montaigne back in 2013 when Raf Simons was at the helm, and saw how the petites mains bring couture creations to life - an experience that would seduce anyone with enough money to buy them.
Since then, we’ve seen her wear Dior alongside a handful of other designers that she’s remained loyal to over the years, including Bruce Oldfield and Anna Valentine (formerly known as the brand Robinson Valentine), who created her wedding gown in 2005.
She wore the label in June when she attended the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy, France, and a few days later at Royal Ascot. It won’t be the last we see of them, either. Like the rest of the working royals, Camilla buys clothes with the intention of wearing them many times over the years. That’s why a brand like Dior, with house codes that dictate classic silhouettes and impeccable craft, is so perfect for her.
The best style lesson we can learn from Camilla though, is to learn what suits you and stick to it. She knows that a coat layered over a dress can work for most occasions, be it the opening of a library or a society wedding, and that a limited palette of tried-and-tested hues means she can mix and match hats and bags to create different looks.
There’s also a lot to be said for sticking to the same trusted band of couturiers too, as she’ll never end up with a garment that’s an odd cut or doesn’t flatter from behind - vital when you’re in the public eye.
While the Duchess’s outfits are doubtless worth a lot of money, she’s probably got decent cost-per-wear value out of each one - let’s not forget she’s the only royal to have re-worn her wedding dress - making her a great example of what fashion, or being fashionable, should look like in 2020. It doesn’t need to be expensive, and it doesn’t need to be boring - it does need to be timeless though, and Camilla nails it.