They are the Queen’s fashion rules are they are never to be broken, unless you were Princess Diana Duchess of Cambridge, says a new book about the royal family’s tours of Australia over the decades.
As the nation prepares for another royal tour – with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall about to touch down in Adelaide on the eve of a six-day visit – the book entitled The Royals in Australia examines our relationship with the royal family.
It lists dozens of tips and tricks by Her Majesty regarding heels, handbags, gloves and hats, but also shows how the younger generation have made headlines by breaking etiquette.
They include the moment in 1985 when Princess Diana plucked a dazzling royal necklace – an art deco diamond and emerald choker from the Delhi Durbar originally worn by Queen Mary – and controversially wore it as a headband to burn up the dance floor in Melbourne with Prince Charles.
Then there is the carefree ‘Baywatch’ moment just last year when the Duchess of Cambridge sprinted across Manly Beach in her rope-heeled wedges and her Australian-designed Zimmerman eyelet dress.
Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, the book records the Queen’s inaugural 1954 tour of Australia – as the first reigning British monarch to visit our shores – and each subsequent tour by her children, their husbands and wives, and their children.
And while The Royals in Australia reveals the secret fashion rules the Queen, and therefore her clothiers and stylists must follow, stunning pictures of her daughter-in-law Princess Diana and granddaughter-in-law, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Duchess of Cambridge, in Australia show how they stylishly smashed those rules.
On their first visit, the Queen and Prince Philip spent 58 days in Australia during a six-month grand tour of Commonwealth countries including New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Sri Lanka.
Photographs show the Queen as a glamorous 27-year-old, her slender frame swathed in fashionable satin, lace and chiffon gowns.
Queen Elizabeth II’s royal fashion rules and tips
Dresses: No revealing splits, fabrics must not crease, weights sewn into hems to stop them lifting in a breeze. All dresses must be easy to stand and sit in, and getting in and out of cars
Coats and jackets: Cuffs must not catch on the Queen’s watch or bracelet. Necklines or collars must not impede movement or be too high
Sleeves: These days no sleeveless dresses and sleeves stop at the wrist so as not to drip in the soup
Hats: Must be off the face and secure so HM can be hands free, and no wide brims to prevent people seeing the Queen’s face
Gloves: HM wears up to five pairs a day
Handbags: Most are custom made by Launer and all are lightweight, with a large looped handle to not impede handshaking
What’s inside: In 2014 HM was photographed taking a lipstick out of a bag. The only other surefire content is one of her hand-stitched handkerchiefs, white for the morning and tartan for the country
Shoes: Day shoes have a 2-inch heel. Evening shoes are a low-heeled slipper made in gold or silver kid, or court shoes with a T-bar or silk bow
Her pretty, smiling face is topped off with fabulous tiaras, with some of the Crown’s more serious diamond jewellery dripping from her ears and around her throat.
The Royals in Australia does reveal some of the gruelling aspects of what a tour of Australia – with other countries of the Pacific tacked on – really means, with a punishing schedule of dates, the heat, the flies and swarming crowds of excited Australians.
But on that first tour the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh appear to be having fun, setting the scene for her future tours and those of Prince Charles, Princes Anne, Prince William and the family’s fashion stars, Diana and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge.
Author of The Royals in Australia, Australian Women’s Weekly royal correspondent and deputy editor, Juliet Rieden, told Daily Mail Australia that Australian crowds had shown a physically bruising desire to be close to the royals, going back to early last century.
The Queen’s uncle, Edward VIII was so mobbed on his 1920 hit royal tour of Australia, that he was actually bruised by what he called ‘the touching mania’, ladies mobbing the royal hot society ticket at balls across the nation on his exhausting trip.
When Princess Diana and Prince Charles came to Australia on their first royal tour, the crowds and the media were so wowed by ‘the Diana effect’, the Queen Mother wrote a letter to her grandson praising him for their ‘marvellous’ success down under.
Juliet Rieden gained special access to the royal records of late monarchs which are cached in Windsor Castle’s Round Tower, right next to the 15th century St George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry was christened and where royals like Henry VIII and Jane Seymour are entombed.
Rieden says that Prince Harry is probably the front runner royal with ‘massive appeal’ and a kind of larrikin image, while he still really engages with members of the public.
‘Meeting the younger royals is a bit like meeting a pop star,’ Rieden said. ‘Prince Charles may not have that glittering star power these days, but when he was a bachelor girls were throwing themselves in front of him in Australia.
‘And he’s still brilliant at meeting people and he obviously really enjoys it.
‘On his last tour of Australia, which was Camilla’s first visit – and there was a lot of nervousness in the royal camp about that, given Australia’s love for Diana – I remember he went into a pub in Tasmania, just for a sip of beer and a photo.
‘But he sat down and chatted for what was about 20 minutes and I do know that he’d really love to linger longer and speak to people.
‘The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) too, she’s fun and loves to chat and she can really relate to rural people because that’s her world, she lives and was raised in a rural area.’
Rieden says Australia’s love affair with Princess Diana was partly for her glamour, ‘that X factor, but I think it was her connection with the public.
‘She cared about children and would make a point of going to talk with a child, she was warm and she was a departure from the stuffy protocol of the royals.
‘Her fashion sense in the early days wasn’t all that great, but it developed.
‘When she wore those crown jewels as a headband [in 1985] she was totally breaking protocol. You feel that might have been an “off with your head” moment, but it was a huge hit.’
Rieden described Princess Diana’s decision to depart from another royal rule – leaving the children home while on tour – was ‘a game changer’ for the royal family when she brought Prince William along in 1983.
‘When William was brought down the plane steps at Uluru [and attacked by a buzzing insect] Prince Charles remarked that William had met his first Aussie fly.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s decision to bring Prince George to Australia last year also proved a winner with the public, particularly the little prince’s outing to Taronga zoo where he enthusiastically greeted a native bilby named after him.
Juliet Rieden said the royal family had genuine and huge affection for Australia and, in turn, Australians from many backgrounds returned the feeling.
She said indigenous Australians had a high regard for the Queen, well above their own politicians.
‘It may sound surprising, counter-intuitive, but I think when the Queen meets indigenous Australians it is elders meeting elders, and back at Buckingham Palace, the Queen welcomes delegations and is willing to receive them and listen to their grievances.
‘It’s not something that is reported on, but it happens and the royal family also has huge a collection of Aboriginal art. It is a quiet connection without much fanfare, but the first Australians are very much part of the realm.’
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall’s Australian tour itinerary
Tuesday November 10: Adelaide and the Barossa Valley
Wednesday, November 11: Canberra and Remembrance Day services at the Australian War Memorial
Thursday, November 12: Sydney and the NSW Mounted Police and NSW Government House
Saturday, November 14: Bunbury, Western Australia
Sunday, November 15: Perth and Cottesloe beach for a barbecue to celebrate Prince Charles’ 67th birthday
Source: DAILYMAIL MAILONLINE