Needless to say, black was the predominant color among the estimated 2,000 guests packed into London’s Westminster Abbey for the ceremony. And while the dress choices of attendees were appropriately understated, hats, brooches and nods to the national costume added character to the otherwise somber outfit.
Formal headpieces come in all shapes and sizes, from wide-brimmed hats to low fascinators with a black veil. More elaborate designs were seen on Catherine’s mother Carole Middleton, Princess of Wales, and Penny Mordaunt, leader of Britain’s House of Commons, whose hat featured an arrangement of black feathers. Brigitte, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, opted for a pillbox-style hat with tiny black veil detailing on the front; Jill Biden was more minimalist, with a slim headband-like design ending in a delicate bow.
Princess Charlotte of Wales arrives at Westminster Abbey before the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Credit: Chris Jackson / Getty
In fact, no one was too young to follow royal tradition, with 7-year-old Princess Charlotte – now third in line to the throne – also pictured in a dark hat.
For others in the Queen’s immediate family, outfits, sashes and medals were dictated by military rank. The new king, Charles III, wore a Royal Navy uniform and carried a sword. His son William, the newly appointed Prince of Wales, wore the uniform of the Royal Air Force, while Prince Edward and Princess Anne also assumed the uniforms of their respective ranks.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrives at Westminster Abbey before the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty
Making a statement is a delicate job, but the brooch, pin and sash have a subtle significance. Catherine, Princess of Wales, wore a pair of pearl drop earrings given to the Queen and Prince Philip for their wedding in 1947, along with a Four Row Japanese pearl choker from the Queen’s personal jewelry collection (an item previously used as late Was worn by Princess Diana). The Queen Consort, Camilla, went further back in history with the heart-shaped Hessian Diamond Jubilee Brooch, an amethyst-studded jewel once owned by Queen Victoria, the late Queen Elizabeth’s great-grandmother.
New Zealand Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Clark Gayford arrive at Westminster Abbey for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Credit: Chris Jackson / Getty
Other foreign dignitaries also turned to the national dress of their country. The Crown Prince of Bahrain arrived in a thobe and ghitara, an ankle-length robe and headdress widely worn by men in the Gulf Country. Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also arrived in traditional attire, while Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif wore a black sherwani.
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