When the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex headed into Westminster Abbey for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth on the morning of September 19, they did so with heads bowed, solemn faces, and wearing all black.
The Princess’s was an A-line Alexander McQueen dress, complete with a veiled, wide-brimmed headpiece. Meanwhile, the Duchess opted for a caped Stella McCartney gown and a Dior hat designed by Stephen Jones, complete with black gloves.
The choice of these labels was very much deliberate. Both McQueen and McCartney are some of the most respected British fashion houses working today, while Jones is one of the country’s most celebrated milliners. Queen Elizabeth was a champion of the country’s fashion community, even presenting the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design to emerging talents within the industry. Furthermore, each also wore their respective designers during their wedding ceremonies, making it a subtle aesthetic homage to the moments they became part of the former monarch’s family.
Both women also accessorized with jewelry given to them by the late monarch: The Princess in a four-strand pearl and diamond choker, and the Duchess in dainty pearl-and-diamond earrings. (The choice of accessories follows centuries of royal mourning tradition: Queen Victoria wore pearls to mark the death of her husband, Prince Albert, and aristocrats have continued to follow suit ever since.)
Queen consort Camilla also paid a tribute to the late Queen through her jewelry, forgoing pearls for the sapphire Hessian Diamond Jubilee brooch that once belonged to Victoria and has been passed down through royal women since. Princess Charlotte, too, gave a visual nod to her grandmother through a small horseshoe-shaped pendant clipped onto her dress.
The queen herself knew the power of fashion optics. “The Queen was known to be a stickler for dress,” Christopher Joll, the Regimental Historian of the Household Cavalry, told Vogue’s Sarah Mower about her fastidious commitment to ceremonial dressing. “She could spot a button upside down three ranks in.” So it is fitting that, for her final goodbye, the royal women made every effort for their outfits to pay a respectful homage to their queen—and, of course, her values.