For months, U.K. royalists and the frothing British media have been eagerly anticipating Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, a series of public events commemorating the monarch’s landmark 70 years on the throne that kicked off on Thursday. And today, finally, the pomp began to unfold—and with it four days of all-dressed-up-and-somewhere-to-go royal fashion-watching.
On Thursday morning, as well as the stunning flypast, the salutes, horses, and military regalia, all eyes were on the Buckingham Palace balcony—who was on it, who was not, and Prince Louis stealing the show with his cute theatrics, and the outfits being chosen by the queen, Kate, Camilla, Meghan, and the rest of the family.
Meghan and Harry were, as expected, largely kept out of sight for the beginning of the jubilee proceedings. They arrived (and observed) discreetly the Trooping the Color, the Queen’s birthday ceremony, while the approved senior royals were front and center, arriving in style in horse-drawn carriages and waving brightly from the balcony.
Kate, who once was thought to play second fiddle to Meghan but who’s emerged as the monarchy’s shining style star, appeared decked out in an ivory Alexander McQueen coat and wide-brimmed Philip Treacy hat. She has worn the coat before, having opted for the look at last year’s Eden Project for G7 reception. Sarah Burton, McQueen’s creative director, has held the position since McQueen’s suicide in 2010 and also designed Kate’s iconic 2011 wedding dress.
Kate looked marvelous, which is 80 percent of her job. Her eldest child, Prince George, was dressed in a navy suit, while her daughter, Princess Charlotte, sat with her brothers wearing a blue chiffon dress. Rounding out the trio was the youngest, Louis, undisputed scene-stealer of the ceremony, who was clad in a miniature sailor suit that his father wore as a child on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the Trooping the Color ceremony of 1985.
The Queen, meanwhile, appeared before her subjects dressed in a periwinkle blue skirt suit outfit put together by her close confidant Angela Kelly. She offset the clothes with her Diamond Guards brooch, an item that once belonged to her grandmother, Queen Mary, as well as pearl earrings and a pearl necklace.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wore a pink gingham dress coat with a matching hat.
But what of Meghan Markle, who, when she was new to the royal fold, performed so frequently for the cameras in fabulous couture? Thus far the Duchess of Sussex and her castaway Prince husband have only been spotted from afar: they arrived for the ceremonies discreetly by car rather than by carriage, and they’ve been reportedly ensconced in the Queen’s Major General’s Office to view the proceedings from a polite distance.
From long-lensed paparazzi photos, it can be discerned that, like Kate, Meghan wore a wide-brimmed white and navy hat on Thursday, but Meghan’s is much more dramatic and offset with a voluminous bow. Meghan’s dress, meanwhile, appears to be short-sleeved, navy blue, and boat-necked. It was a demure, low-key fashion start, and also pointed to one of the fun questions of the next four days: who will turn up where, wearing what?