Feature · fashion
The classic sartorial legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh
Throughout his life, the late Prince Philip proved to be a master of British dress codes par excellence.
While it may not have been the most talked about royal style icon in recent years, the fashion choices of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh were those of a safe dressing room, dedicated to channeling the classic British style.
The Duke looked completely fit for every occasion. He went from perfect to a formal navy uniform and a black tie suit to relaxed suits best suited for shooting family weekends at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Her gentle approach to fashion meant that for 73 years of her marriage to Queen Elizabeth II, her sets complemented her, but never observed her.
Prince Philip, watching the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library / Getty Images
Her Royal Highness the Queen and Prince Philip at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor. Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library / Getty Images
For Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of GQ and chair of men’s fashion at the British Fashion Council, the Duke was a “true connoisseur of fashion” who “always dressed according to the rules”.
“He had dignity, style and decor,” Jones wrote by email.
Throughout his life, Prince Philip will turn to the services of many of the workshops established and approved by the palace at Savile Row in London. Perfectly cut dresses, often fitted by her tailor John Kent, were, of course, a staple in her wardrobe. Its clothing manufacturer was London’s oldest tailor, Ede & Ravenscroft, which was established in 1689, while Davies & Son handled their military suit and Gieves & Hawkes their navy suit. By carats, Prince Philip regularly claims the services of Kinloch Anderson in Edinburgh.
Prince Philip placed a portrait in Buckingham Palace in 1958. Credit: Archives by Michael Ochs / Getty Images
While her impeccable standards are what defined her style, older photos of a young Philip show that he was not afraid to have fun with his clothing choices.
Most British men in their forties preferred a clean-shaven look, but a candid portrait taken during a naval visit to Australia in 1945 reveals a bearded Philip in his mid-twenties, smiling mischievously at the camera. Six years later, on a royal tour of Canada, the Duke danced in a traditional celebration in blue jeans, a plaid shirt and a handkerchief to complete the look.
Prince Philip during a naval visit to Melbourne, Australia, in 1945. Credit: AP
Prince Philip appears dancing in a traditional celebration held in honor of the royal couple at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, during a five-week visit to Canada in 1951. Credit: Frank Royal / NFB / Getty Images
Prince Philip plays a polo match Credit: Alamy
A fan of cricket, polo and various water sports, he was often seen in sportswear. A black and white photo taken in Turkey in 1951 during a summer cruise with the Royal Navy shows a slender Prince Philip jumping from a set of water skis on land, one of the action shots the handsome man made real during his younger years. .
Prince Philip on a beach in Marmarice in Turkey during the summer cruise of the Mediterranean Navy fleet. Credit: Hulton-Deutsch / Corbis / Getty Images Collection
Prince Philip’s favorite color palette was mostly off, but his dress for his 25th wedding anniversary with the queen offered some color. Their silver wedding took place in 1972 aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia and, in a photograph, the smiling couple is shown in visible holiday mode, wearing sunglasses and all. The Queen appears brightly smiling at her husband dressed in a bold blue short-sleeved shirt and trousers.
As the longest-serving consort in British history, Prince Philip was obedient in life and style and will be remembered for his astute decisions and his ability to use fashion to honor the spirit of almost any moment.
Prince Philip with the queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and his sons Prince Charles and Princess Anna. with his young family. (Photo of Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images) Credit: Keystone / Hulton Royals / Getty Images Collection
She was recognized for this ability in 2016, when she entered GQ’s “50 Best Dressed Men in Britain” list at the age of 94. Reaching number 12, he even surpassed his grandson Prince Harry, ranked 38th.
When asked what secured the Duke’s place at the top of the list, Jones said, “His attention to detail and to always dressing like a gentleman. He had an innate gift for always looking appropriate.”
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