Queen Elizabeth II funeral: Black dresses, hats, ceremonial uniform | What Royal family wears for mourning

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Image Source : AP The Princess and Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle

Highlights

  • What the royal family wears to the funeral will be dictated largely by tradition
  • The mourning period has been shortened these days, but the black clothes stick around
  • The rule is so strict that royal family must always travel with a black outfit in their suitcase

Queen Elizabeth II funeral: Strict royal protocols have been followed at all state ceremonies – from the memorial service to lying-in-state, since the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8. Her funeral on Monday will be no exception with every detail meticulously planned, down to the dress code.

The late queen, who died at the age of 96 years, will be laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in London. 

Members of the royal family will all be in attendance, including the queen’s four children, her eight grandchildren and their spouses, along with several UK prime ministers – including the current and past ones. 

What the royal family wears to the funeral will be dictated largely by tradition.

Queen Elizabeth II funeral: Here’s what royal family members will wear 

King Charles will wear a full-day ceremonial uniform with medals. He will carry the red velvet and gold Field Marshal Baton that the Queen presented to him in 2012 when he earned that designation.

As working members of the royal family, three of the queen’s children, King Charles, Prince Edward and Princess Anne will all wear military uniforms and medals. 

Prince William – the Queen’s grandson will also be dressed in military uniform

Women are expected to wear black dresses and formal hats, while men will wear black coats. 

Working members of the royal family traditionally wear military uniforms, while non-working men wear back coats, as was seen at the Queen’s husband Prince Phillip’s funeral last year.

Controversy over Prince Harry’s dress code for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral 

However, decisions around Royal dress codes have been a source of some controversy ahead of this funeral. Buckingham Palace initially announced that Prince Harry would not be allowed to wear his military uniform since he chose to step down from his duties.

When he did this, he was stripped of all military titles. 

Once a Royal is no longer in active military service, they are deemed to be ‘civilians’, and so not allowed to wear a military dress. They are allowed to still wear their medals on their black suits, as Prince Harry did during a mourning procession for the Queen.

This caused a public outcry as it was announced that an exception would be made for fellow non-working royal Prince Andrew, who unlike Harry was forced to step down and would be allowed to wear his military uniform.

Now, the Palace has announced that Prince Andrew will only wear his uniform ‘as a special mark of respect’ at the final vigil at Westminster Hall. 

At the request of his father King Charles, Harry will wear his uniform at a vigil by the Queen’s grandchildren the following evening.

‘Black’ — the royal mourning dress code

The mourning period has been shortened these days, but the black clothes stick around. The rule is so strict that members of the royal family must always travel with a black outfit in their suitcase, so if a Royal dies while members of the family are abroad, they won’t be caught in public wearing any other colour.

Black was briefly retired in 1938, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother, the Countess of Strathmore — Queen Victoria.

The concept of “white mourning” followed the example of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was painted in a white mourning dress after she lost multiple family members in the 16th century.

Queen Victoria is known for popularising the mourning dress. After the sudden death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861, she began wearing black and did so every day for the next 40 years, until her own death.

Since then, black has been a strict part of the Royal mourning dress code. 

Long, black, face-covering veils are also a common sight at state funerals, a tradition that is believed to have started with Queen Victoria. 

For women, that means black knee-length dresses or coats and black hats. For men not in military attire, that means black morning coats.

(With inputs from PTI)

Also Read | Queen’s coffin was built decades ago – Complete details

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