King Charles III wants to break tradition.
In an effort to move towards a more modernized monarchy, the beginning of King Charles III’s reign is marked by the toppling of royal sartorial codes that have been set in place for centuries. Pre-coronation, King Charles alters the rules around his own dress; in the “interests of sustainability and efficiency,” he opted to re-wear the Coronation Vestments used by past monarchs, including his grandfather, King George VI, and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
It was also King Charles’ request that members of the House of Lords were to wear their plain parliamentary robes instead of traditional coronation robes—a rule they have since decided to forego in a dramatic “Palace U-turn.” For regular guests, the instruction called for “business attire” and “day dress.” It seems that robes of crimson velvet and ermine trim, symbols that are emblematic of royal luxury and its political importance, might be harder to let go of than that of other attendees’ “semi-formal” dress code.
Despite the option to dress to the nines, most guests did arrive wearing business attire: crisp suit sets, long overcoats, and tailored jackets and dresses. And so, the trend was set for the occasion: clean, uncluttered lines in pure color. See a few of the looks of those in attendance below.
Dame Emma Thompson
Jill Biden and granddaughter Finnegan
Dr. Jill Biden and her granddaughter Finnegan wore the colors of the Ukraine flag to the occasion. “We stand with Ukraine,” tweeted the United States First Lady, posed with none other than Catherine, Princess of Wales. Biden wears a blue suit set by Ralph Lauren, and Finnegan a delightfully bright yellow cape dress.
Katy Perry and Edward Enninful
Katy Perry, Sunday’s coronation concert headliner, pays homage to late British designer Vivienne Westwood by wearing her signatures in the form of a lavender pink suit set, complete with matching opera gloves and a fascinator to end all fascinators. Fittingly, she adds a white purse and the Three Row Pearl Bas Relief choker to finish off the look.
She arrives with British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, who is dapper in a three-piece suit. He wears a powder blue waistcoat atop a navy polka-dotted tie.
Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wears a black tailcoat over striped pants, with a pop-of-color cobalt tie. His wife, businesswoman Akshata Murthy, wears an elegant ice blue A-line dress with cap sleeves, finishing with black accessories.
King Letsie III and Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho
The king and queen of Lesotho, King Letsie III and Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso, match with blue. The king opts for sophisticated simplicity with a blue tie, all to let the queen shine in that printed blue gown, paired with a white clutch and fascinator.
Carole Middleton was all smiles as she arrived at the event, wearing a tailored dress in an electrifying shade of royal blue—the very same Kate wore a day ahead of the Coronation. She adds a puffed headband and clutch to match and pairs the look down with nude heels.
Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Princess Charlotte
Kate and Charlotte made headlines as they arrived wearing mother-daughter silver headpieces. As laurels decorate their neat updos, both princesses wear white gowns from Alexander McQueen. While Kate’s is hidden under ceremonial regalia, Charlotte displays a lovely cape dress and a pair of white Mary Janes.
King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida of Thailand
King Vajiralongkorn arrived in military uniform, decorated with honorable medals. He is accompanied by his wife, Queen Suthida of Thailand, who wears traditional Thai dress comprised of blue and silver accents, bedecked with diamonds and sapphires.
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain
Queen Letizia’s monochrome cotton-candy pink suit set was almost bright enough to part the day’s rain clouds. She wears custom Carolina Herrera by Wes Gordon, and is accompanied by King Felipe VI—also in military uniform.