14 Times the Royal Family Paid Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II Through Fashion
Following her passing at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II is being honored and remembered with tributes around the world. Throughout her reign, she used fashion as a means to recognize other members of the royal family, and now that same family is paying homage to her legacy. It’s long been a tradition to pass down heirlooms, such as jewelry, brooches, and tiaras, in honor of past family members, but royals also pay tribute by recreating outfits from time to time as well.
In June 2022, for example, the queen was celebrated at the Platinum Jubilee with the annual Trooping the Colour parade, where Kate Middleton, Prince William, and their children, George, Charlotte, and Louis, wore varying shades of blue as an ode to Elizabeth’s favorite color.
They’ll also pay tribute via headpieces. The tiaras Middleton and Meghan Markle wore on their respective wedding days also marked the lineage of the crown – both having been loaned by the queen as temporary gifts to finish off their Alexander McQueen and Givenchy wedding gowns, respectively.
From the pearls Markle wore during her first solo engagement without Prince Harry in 2018 to the four-strand choker donned by Princess Diana and Kate Middleton on very special occasions, read on to see all the royal family’s major sartorial tributes to Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Camilla's Coronation Robe and Necklace, 2023
Queen Camilla’s coronation robe was full of hidden symbolism, including a special tribute to Queen Elizabeth. Camilla had several flowers embroidered into the garment, including lily of the valley, which was a treasured favorite of Queen Elizabeth. The bloom is so significant, in fact, it was featured in Queen Elizabeth’s coronation bouquet when she was crowned in 1953.
Queen Camilla’s coronation necklace was also connected to Queen Elizabeth II. Created originally for Queen Victoria, it was worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth on all their coronation days as well.
Princess Diana in the Lover's Knot Tiara, 1989
Worn here by Princess Diana in Hong Kong on Oct. 11, 1989, the Lover’s Knot tiara was a wedding gift from the queen, who presented it to Diana after keeping it in her own possession since 1953, when her cousin Queen Mary passed away. The piece was originally created for Queen Mary by House of Garrard in 1913 to emulate a similar design worn by her own grandmother Princess Augusta of Hesse. This version of the Lover’s Knot comes with suspended pearls and was crafted from some recycled material taken from Mary’s Ladies of England tiara.
Trooping the Colour, 2022
To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee at her annual Trooping the Colour parade on June 2, 2022, which marked the 70th anniversary of her accession, Kate Middleton, Prince William, and their children coordinated in shades of blue. This was not only to match the queen’s Angela Kelly ensemble on the day of but also because the hue was famously thought to be her majesty’s favorite color. Middleton repeated a white Alexander McQueen double-breasted coat dress but played to the theme with her navy-blue Philip Treacy hat and sapphire jewelry, while Meghan Markle was spotted in a navy dress and matching wide-brim hat from Stephen Jones Millinery. Prince Louis’s sailor outfit, also featuring stripes of blue, was an homage to his father’s own look worn in 1985.
Meghan Markle's First Solo Engagement With the Queen, 2018
Markle and Queen Elizabeth II attended the official opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge followed by lunch at Chester Town Hall on June 14, 2018, marking the duchess’s first solo engagement without Prince Harry. While Markle stuck to her signature style in a cream Givenchy caped dress, a black clutch, and Sarah Flint pumps, it was her pearl earrings that took the spotlight. They were a gift from the queen, who presented them to her in the car earlier that morning, as revealed later in an Oprah Winfrey interview. While smaller in size than the pair worn by the queen, the look was known to be favored by the monarch, as she told the BBC that “pearls like to be living creatures.”
Kate Middleton's Wedding Tiara, 2011
Middleton accessorized her Alexander McQueen wedding dress with the Cartier Halo tiara, originally purchased by King George VI for his wife, Queen Elizabeth, who passed it down to her daughter, then-Princess Elizabeth, on her 18th birthday. It is made of 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baton diamonds set in platinum.
Princess Diana During a Netherlands State Visit, 1982
On Nov. 16, 1982, the Princess of Wales was loaned Queen Elizabeth II’s four-strand pearl choker, which is said to be made from pearls gifted to her by the Japanese government in the ’70s, according to The Court Jeweller. Diana wore it at Westminster Pier to greet Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during her state visit, then again later that evening for a banquet at Hampton Court Palace, finished with Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot tiara.
Kate Middleton at the Queen's 70th Wedding Anniversary Dinner, 2017
Middleton, too, was loaned the four-strand choker to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s 70th wedding anniversary at Windsor Castle. Middleton let the jewels shine, wearing the necklace with a black lace dress and pearl drop earrings next to Prince William, who also arrived in black tie. Middleton wore the design one more time, for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh in April 2021.
Kate Middleton's Maple Leaf Brooch, 2016
Middleton memorably wore this red, asymmetrical Preen dress for a reception at the Government House on Sept. 26, 2016, during her royal visit to Canada. Pinned on the right side was the Maple Leaf brooch, which was originally gifted to the Queen Mother by King George VI in 1939 and was first worn by Elizabeth when she was still a princess in 1951. Middleton is not the only royal to have been loaned the brooch, as Queen Elizabeth II also allowed Camilla Parker Bowles to wear it.
Kate Middleton at a UK State Banquet, 2018
During a visit from King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Middleton wore a blue Alexander McQueen dress with the Lover’s Knot tiara, which was passed down to her after Princess Diana’s death. She wore it for the first time at Buckingham Palace in 2015, and it has since become one of her favorite pieces to accessorize with on special occasions.
Kate Middleton on the Queen's 95th Birthday, 2021
On the queen’s 95th birthday, Middleton and Prince William visited the Air Training Corps in East London, with the duchess sporting diamond and pearl drop earrings that were loaned to her by the monarch. Queen Elizabeth II notably wore them during her Silver Jubilee year of 1977.
Meghan Markle's Wedding Tiara, 2018
Markle is said to have chosen Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara for her wedding day because of its sleekness and simplicity, to match with her Givenchy dress. (Though it reportedly wasn’t her first choice.) Made in 1932, the design features a center brooch, which has 10 brilliant diamonds that date even further back to 1893, when it was gifted to then-Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York. Both the brooch and the crown were bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and Markle swapped out a traditional sapphire at the center of the tiara for the brooch instead.
Meghan Markle's Look at the Queen's State Funeral, 2022
Meghan Markle’s outfit for the queen’s funeral on Sept. 19 paid tribute to the late monarch in more ways than one. Markle re-created a Stella McCartney dress in black that she originally wore in navy to the queen’s 92nd birthday concert celebration at Royal Albert Hall on April 21, 2018. In choosing the designer, she also opted for McCartney as a British cultural icon who was bestowed with a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the Platinum Jubilee three months before her passing. Finally, Markle also accessorized with the pearl earrings given to her by the queen ahead of their first official outing together. Traditionally, pearls have also represented purity and tears within the royal family, and the queen wore them often.
Kate Middleton's Necklace at the Queen's State Funeral, 2022
On Monday, Sept. 19, Middleton, who recently received the new title of Princess of Wales, arrived to the queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey in the same four-strand pearl choker that she wore to Prince Philip’s funeral last year, and to the late couple’s 70th wedding anniversary celebration at Windsor Castle in 2017. The necklace – which was styled with Bahrain pearl drop earrings that also belonged to the queen – was lent to Princess Diana on occasion, and is reportedly made of pearls gifted to the queen by the Japanese government in the ’70s.
Princess Charlotte's Brooch at the Queen's State Funeral, 2022
At Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Sept. 19, Princess Charlotte pinned her first-publicly-worn brooch to her Ancar coat, which was a piece of jewelry gifted to her by the late monarch that is in the shape of a diamond horseshoe, as a nod to her love of horses. The accessory, though miniature in size, stood out against her all-black outfit, which also included Manuela de Juan Mary Janes and a JT Millinery bow hat.