What Were the Royals Wearing the Year You Were Born?

What Were the Royals Wearing the Year You Were Born?

If you’re in a fashion dry spell, look no further than the British royals, who for centuries have been inspiring normals to (try) and dress like them. And, unless you live under a rock and haven’t so much as peeked out in the last few centuries, you’ve caught a glimpse of some of their most awe-inspiring moments commemorated by great dress.

While the rest of fashion is fickle, iconic looks worn by women of the royal family have become cultural mainstays that manage to hit the jackpot year after year. From Princess Diana’s dance with John Travolta, to Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, the royals have been serving iconic looks and are showing no signs of stopping.

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1979: Queen Elizabeth in Zambia

The queen sported an all-yellow look in Lusaka, Zambia where a crowd of more than 5,000 people waited to greet her with chants and songs, according to The Washington Post.

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1980: Princess Anne in Paris

Looking extremely royal, Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter, was photographed in Paris dripping in diamonds.

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1981: Princess Diana in her wedding dress

This legendary gown featured a 25-foot train and was adorned with 10,000 pearls, per People. The late princess left the dress to her sons in her will and they received it in 2014.

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1982: Queen Elizabeth at a naval dockyard in San Diego

Probably to complement the officers’ uniforms, the queen donned a blue and white ensemble, complete with paperboy hat and pussy-bow collar, when she traveled across the pond to visit a naval dockyard.

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1983: Princess Margaret at the Royal Caledonian Ball

Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, danced the highland reel, a Scottish country dance, in a strapless gown and tartan sash to honor the Scottish charities the annual ball supports.

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1984: Princess Diana presenting Prince Harry

After giving birth to her second son, Prince Harry, Princess Di stepped out of the Lindo Wing for a photo in a red dress.

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1985: Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta

Princess Diana got a taste of Saturday Night Fever when she shared a dance with John Travolta at a White House gala. The actor got to twirl the princess around in her black gown designed by Victor Edelstein, and he called it “one of the highlights of [his] life,” per Vanity Fair.

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1986: Sarah Ferguson at her wedding to the Duke of York

Fergie wore a white gown with a 17-foot train which was embroidered with the letter A for Prince Andrew, according to Good Housekeeping. (The couple divorced a decade later.)

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1987: Princess Diana and Prince William in matching coats

Like princess, like prince! Diana and William matched on Easter Sunday in coats designed by Catherine Walker.

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1988: Princess Anne at the Royal Ascot races

Princess Anne sported some groundbreaking florals at the Royal Ascot races in a dress, matching jacket, and hat.

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1989: Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

With a Leica camera in hand, Queen Elizabeth wore her signature headgear, a scarf, to top off a casual look.

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1990: Sarah Ferguson at a banquet in Australia

The Duchess of York went formal in a yellow gown, diamonds, and an updo to a banquet dinner.

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1991: Princess Diana heading to church

Proving there’s no such thing as too matchy-matchy, Princess Diana channeled the Queen in a skirt suit set with red piping and a matching hat to church in Toronto.

Getty ImagesTom Wargacki

1992: Princess Margaret at Claridge’s

Princess Margret channeled an ’80s prom look in this voluminous hot pink dress with puff sleeves and gold sandals. Always the rebel, per Vanity Fair, she often wore open-toed shoes unlike the rest of the royals.

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1993: Princess Diana skiing with her family

To hit the slopes, the princess kept it ’90s cool in a neon accented outfit.

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1994: Queen Elizabeth in the Cayman Islands

Who needs a sling for an injured arm when you can use a silk scarf? The queen sported her cast in style while in Grand Cayman for a knighting. If that’s not iconic, I don’t know what is.

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1995: Sarah Ferguson at a Christmas concert

In need of some holiday outfit inspiration? Look no further than Fergie, who donned a double-breasted plaid dress to a Christmas concert at St. George’s Church.

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1996: Princess Margaret at church

The picture of warmth, the princess served up an all-black fur ensemble with a matching hat.

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1997: Diana in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Before her death later that year, the princess took a three-day trip where she visited mine-blast survivors. The trip was her last one overseas. The country honored the 20-year anniversary of her visit with a commemoration ceremony in 2017, according to Business Insider.


1998: Queen Elizabeth at the House of Lords

The queen delivered her speech at The State Opening of Parliament in this lavish look complete with a crown.

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1999: Sophie Rhys-Jones at her wedding

Sophie Rhys-Jones became the Countess of Wessex when she married Prince Edward at St. George’s Chapel in a Samantha Shaw gown.

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2000: Queen Elizabeth at the Order of the Bath Service

You really can’t get any more royal-looking than this. The Queen basically wore art in the form of this ornate outfit topped with a crown.

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2001: Princess Eugenie at church

An 11-year old Eugenie was dressed in an all-green outfit and embroidered handbag for Prince Philip’s 80th birthday service. Oh, to be young and have someone pick out your clothes— shout out to Fergie for the cool threads.

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2002: Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence at a wedding

The Princess Royal gave off pastel vibes in this lavender set with black accents and, in true early-aughts fashion, a choker.

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2003: Sarah Ferguson at her book launch

Fergie wore this optical illusion Alexander McQueen coat to promote the first installment of her Little Red children’s books.

Getty ImagesTom Wargacki

2004: Beatrice at the Cartier Queen’s Cup

Princess Beatrice obviously had to show out in her summer best, basket bag included, for this polo tournament named for her grandmother.


2005: Camilla Parker Bowles at the blessing of her marriage to Prince Charles

This marriage was a second for both Camilla and Charles. While the newly minted Duchess of Cornwall wore white to her low-key civic ceremony, she opted for a light blue look with gold detailing at her marriage blessing at St. George’s Chapel.

Getty ImagesJustin Goff

2006: Princess Beatrice heading to mass on Christmas

Even bundled up, Princess Beatrice stood out in a sleek navy double-breasted coat, black tights, and hat (of course).

Getty ImagesPool/Tim Graham Royal Photos

2007: Queen Elizabeth at the State Opening of Parliament

This is the year the Queen’s reign surpassed that of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, making her the longest living British monarch. Here, she’s seated at the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament in her queenly finest.

Getty ImagesPool/Tim Graham Royal Photos

2008: Princess Beatrice at a wedding

This look won’t be the last time Princess Beatrice shows everyone up with her serious hat-game at a wedding (see: her look at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s).

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