Magazine / Culture / Books

HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style Book Review

Teodora Cozma
Editor-in-Chief
On Jun 16th, 2021

“HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” is a photography book exploring royal fashion and individual styles of Elizabeth II, Diana, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle.

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If you are a fan of the royal household and find yourself browsing the internet to replicate their outfits, the book “HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” is your perfect guide to royal fashion. The book looks at the style of four women of the Royal Household: Queen Elizabeth II, Princess of Wales Diana, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.

The book is structured into four equal parts following the style transformations of each royal, from the moment they enter the public sphere, their engagements, weddings, and their motherhood, moments that their choices of clothes have marked. There are plenty of examples of outfits for both day and evening engagements and official events.  

The author does not compare the four women, and there are very few paragraphs and photos in which the reader can observe them together and draw their conclusions. Instead, each chapter follows the life of each royal, from the early days to the present, spanning almost 100 years, with the oldest photo showing Queen Elizabeth II as a baby.

Photography

“Why do we care so much about what these women wear? We care because they care, and they care because they know the world is watching”, writes Holmes in her book introduction. Elizabeth Holmes is known by the social media account that followed closely and documented the sightings of the royals accompanied by the author’s thoughts.

The book is a collection of great photos showing some of the most recognisable elements of style for each woman, followed by a biographical chapter in which the author makes some comments on some of the photos and placing them in context. All the photos are from official releases and are high quality, allowing the reader to inspect the garments, colours, stitching, and detailing of the outfit.

The biographical presentations of each royal’s achievements are not too extensive, just enough to give a brief account to a royal fan who may not be too familiar with the life of each woman. The author shares appreciation for the outfits worn but doesn’t try to offer fashion or styling advice. Instead, Holmes is just cataloguing the outfits worn by the four royals in a way a curator would record the details if the pieces would be exhibited in a museum.

Everything the four royals wear is highly scrutinised and instantly desired across the world. Their outfits send messages for the world to decipher and appreciate, such as the outfits shown in the “HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” book: Diana’s “revenge” dress, Kate’s outfits during the 2012 Olympic Games in the colours of the Union Jack, Meghan’s laser-cut seagulls dress matching the evening’s eco-theme.

From Day Wear …

The daywear style of each royal is adapted and thought carefully for the event they attend. This kind of preparation and attention to details makes almost every outing something remarkable, and the press doesn’t miss an opportunity to closely examine every outfit.

For the daywear, the Queen’s style has evolved throughout the years, and the most recent makeover happened as the new millennium neared. The change was slow but dramatic nonetheless, and Angela Kelly, senior dresser and personal assistant, made sure to remove the unflattering prints and dated styles from the Queen’s wardrobe.

When we think of the Queen’s past decade’s daywear, we can picture her classic appearance: custom made coat that is just below the knees, with a coordinating hat with a piece of flair, bright white gloves, three strands of pearls around her neck, a brooch on her left side, black sturdy shoes and bag.

There is nothing modern in how the Queen dresses, just a timeless appearance in a bright ensemble as she knows her outfit will make her easy to spot from a distance. Her wardrobe about function and not fashion, the colour being the main striking element of her wardrobe.

Diana’s day wardrobe is presented in multiple pictures from her official engagements, wearing beautiful day dresses parted with blazers and coats. Diana’s on and off duty outfits have influenced fashion throughout the years, and some trends, such as cycling shorts, have made a comeback on the runways.  

Kate’s wardrobe is modest, feminine with off-the-rack pieces and high street pieces, focused on UK based brands, and that is affordable enough for her adoring fans to purchase. Kate’s day workwear uniform focuses on functionality in line with the Queen’s take on fashion – not fashion for the sake of fashion. She can be often seen wearing a dress coat or a simple shift paired with patent leather nude pumps.

Meghan’s working wardrobe was a fresh take on traditional royal style with familiar pieces but a little trendier and less stiff. She wears neutrals rather than the candy-coloured shades worn by the Queen, and black, in contrast with the Queen who reserves it for mourning. Mostly, Meghan has been seen wearing sleeveless belted dresses, a trench coat on top, a shift dress with scrunched up sleeves, and beautiful bags to make her outfits stand out.

… to Evening Wear

The book presents beautiful gowns worn by the Queen at different official dinners accessorised with lots of jewels and tiaras. Elisabeth II is known for rewearing her clothing. The photos in “HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” show a clever example of a dress being transformed by swapping out the decorative elements.

Diana’s evening wear was departed from fairy tales, and she always wore a tiara in the first years of her marriage. The book then shows more photos from Diana’s style evolution and how her dresses have changed, becoming more elegant and glamourous.

Kate’s and Meghan’s evening dressing style is documented, and the reader can see clear distinctions between the royals. For example, Meghan has embraced wearing trouser suits and black, whereas Kate’s evening style favours floor-length dresses. In addition, you can explore ten of the best evening dresses worn by the Duchess of Cambridge in the book.

The book has a good mix of photos for daywear, from casual and formal events, and evening wear, showing the different approaches to fashion and clothing of the four royals. In addition, the author has chosen to identify relatable moments from the women’s lives to the audience, such as wearing jeans, affordable brands, reusing and recycling garments, family moments, and weddings.

“HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” is a beautiful collection of some of the best dressed moments from different events and situations, showing all four women in different instances: young and in love, engaged, brides, mothers to be, mothers and maturing with their style. As the royals send messages through what they wear, Holmes ends the book with a message to the reader, asking directly, “what would you like your clothes to say about you?”. Use the #DHBookClub on social media to share how you are enjoying our Book Club recommendations!

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