Which British Royal Is Heir to Prince Philip’s Style Crown?
They may not be rocking pink velvet dinner jackets like Daniel Craig, but Prince Charles and his sons are still setting sartorial trends worldwide.
By SAMANTHA CONTI
LONDON — In a climate-controlled room at Kensington Palace, Edward VIII’s Savile Row bespoke cotton drill safari suit, with detachable sleeves and adjustable trouser lengths, sits folded in a special storage box, not far from the “baby presentation dress,” with a matching silk bonnet, worn by the future King George IV.
An ostrich feather cap, with little holes for jewels, that belonged to Henry VIII is yet another item in the 12,000-piece archive of royal and court dress that’s housed between Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace and offers a richly textured timeline of British history.
Yet the royal men can only go so far, and have to dress within the parameters of their profession and make those around them feel at ease. They also have to pay for everything themselves, and avoid making any major statements — or the British tabloids would pillory them.
“There is so much that’s off-limits, and as a royal, you are really dressing for your role, and for continuity,” said Andrew Groves, professor of fashion design at the University of Westminster and the director of the Westminster Menswear Archive, which he established in 2016.
He noted that Philip most certainly dressed for his role in life. “He was not the star, the Queen was, and he also belonged to that bygone era when men were outfitted for specific occasions, like sports, business and the military.” Groves added that royals generally have a shared sartorial language, and the aim is to dress in a way that is “inoffensive.”
“Prince Charles doesn’t have to dress any way to ‘impress.’ He is already impressive, powerful and puts everyone else at ease with his style,” said Groves, adding that the prince dresses in a very British manner, “like he saw the tailor yesterday. It’s quiet, not shout-y and only you, as the wearer, know how well your clothes are made.”