On & Around the Street

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On April 21, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II turns 90. On September 9 2015, she became Britain’s longest reigning monarch, overtaking her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who died in January 1901, having reigned for 63 years and seven months.

To mark her 90th birthday, Annie Leibowitz was commissioned to take a number of portraits of Her Majesty (above), which underscore what her governess, Marion Crawford, once said of the young queen: “Lilibet never cared a fig” for clothes. That is to say that she uses them to convey her rule as a modern queen, and looking up to scratch is part of the deal.

And while she might not care a jot about what she wears, we do. From the gowns created by Norman Hartnell for her coronation and wedding, to the dresses and suits put together by Hardy Amies early in her reign, Her Majesty has had her fair share of significant fashion moments.

Now we take a look back at the amazing fashion history of Queen Elizabeth II.

1936 - Princess Elizabeth in the grounds of her London home - 145 Piccadilly - with one of her beloved corgis
April 1937 - Queen Elizabeth and King George VI arrived with Princess Elizabeth, then aged 11, and Princess Margaret at Central Hall, Westminster, for the coronation concert for children
1937 - King George VI on his Coronation Day with his wife Elizabeth, princesses Elizabeth and Margaret and his mother, Queen Mary
March 1939 - Princess Elizabeth (right) and Princess Margaret in London after a children's party
June 1940 - Princess Elizabeth reading at Windsor Castle, nearly a year into the Second World War
April 1942 - Princess Elizabeth learns to tie a knot with the girl guides in Frogmore, Windsor on April 11, 1942. Shortly after this photograph was taken, her father the King made her Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. She subsequently applied for official war work when she turned 16
1945 - Princess Elizabeth in her uniform as a second subaltern in the ATS, 1945. On 8th May 1945, peace was declared in Europe, and the Princess and her sister celebrated anonymously among the crowds outside Buckingham Palace
July 1946 - Princess Elizabeth chatting with her father, King George VI
November 1946 - The royal family arrive at the London Palladium for the Royal Variety Performance
July 1947 - Princess Elizabeth and her fiancé, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrive at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh to attend a dinner given by the Duchess of Buccleugh
November 1947 - The ivory silk dress Princess Elizabeth wore on her wedding day was designed by Norman Hartnell, and was inspired by Botticelli’s painting of Primavera. A 13-foot train was attached at the shoulders and a silk tulle veil covered the Princess’ face. The satin bridal shoes were created by Edward Rayne. At the time the dress was made, the country was still suffering the financial aftermath of the WWII and the Queen famously saved her ration cards to pay for her dress
May 1948 - Princess Elizabeth, in a look by Norman Hartnell, chatted to Mme Bidault, wife of the French minister Georges Bidault, in the garden of the Palace of Versailles
August 1949 - For an official royal portrait, the future Queen wore her personally owned tiara, known as The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. It was a wedding present from her grandmother, Queen Mary, on her marriage to Philip Mountbatten, and had originally been gifted to Mary as a wedding present in 1893
August 1951 - Politician and tennis player Lady Domini Crosfield invited Princess Elizabeth to one of her annual tennis parties at her mansion, Witanhurst, in Highgate
October 1951 - The Duke of Edinburgh danced with his wife, Princess Elizabeth, at a square dance held in their honour in Ottawa, by Governor General Viscount Alexander
June 2 1953 - Norman Hartnell was commissioned to create the gown that Elizabeth wore for her coronation
November 1953 - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at the House of Assembly in Hamilton, Bermuda, during a Commonwealth Visit
November 1954 - When Queen Elizabeth was on her Royal Tour of Australia, Lord Mayor of Sydney Pat Hills lightly touched her arm on their way in to a ball, causing a press sensation due to the breach of etiquette. He said later on that he was concerned she might fall
October 1957 - She welcomed US President Dwight Eisenhower to the British Embassy in Washington D.C., wearing the Vladimir Tiara with emerald drops, and the Cambridge and Dehli Durbar Necklace. Both pieces of jewellery were created for Queen Mary
June 16 1959 - She wore a lemon lace dress and matching jacket for a cocktail party at Windsor given by the 1st Battalion Irish Guards
1967 - She wore a pink and green floral coat by Hardy Amies for a royal visit to Malta, accessorised with the Cullinan V Brooch, made by Garrard in 1911
March 1962 - The Queen wore a warm leopard-print coat for race meet at the Sandown Park race meeting with her mother
February 1972 - The Queen and Thailand's King Bhumipol Adulyadej inspected the troops in Thailand
February 1975 - She visited an ancient pyramid during her state visit to Mexico
July 1979 - The Queen made a rare appearance in trousers when she, Prince Andrew and Prince Philip were on safari at the Luangwa National Park in Zambia during their tour of Africa
June 1987 - Her Majesty at the Order of the Thistle service in Edinburgh, Scotland. For special occasions, members of the order wear an elaborate costume with a dark green velvet mantle, black velvet hat with plume, and the star of the Order of the Thistle
June 1992 - The Queen wore a dress and coat designed by Ian Thomas for a visit to Blois, France
December 2008 - Her Majesty in cashmere and fur for the opening of Parliament. She wore the Diamond Diadem - made in 1820 by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell for the coronation of King George IV
September 9 2015 - As she surpassed Queen Victoria as Britain's longest-reigning monarch, an official photograph was released, showing the Queen at her desk wearing a Karl Ludwig dress
July 22 2011 - She joined the Duchess of Cambridge for a tour of the Buckingham Palace Summer Exhibition, at which Catherine's wedding dress was on display
June 3 2012 - For the Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Thames, the Queen wore a matching coat and dress designed by Angela Kelly
March 20 2015 - She wore pink to visit the HMS Ocean in Plymouth