In Royal Fashion | The Classic Princess | Lord Byron
This Monday, we’re going classic princess style for our special November editorial inspired by the Netflix Original Series, The Crown. While last week’s look was a take on the modern-day princess, today’s look takes its inspiration from fashion history, and is more “classic” princess style. We call the look Lord Byron because it’s a Byron Lars dress; however, while Lord Byron influenced fashion in the 1700’s, our look is circa 1940’s.
The 40’s were a tumultuous decade for Elizabeth, who moves from girl, to woman, to wife during this period.
Key Events in Queen Elizabeth II’s Life During the 1940’s
- Britain battles the rise of fascism across Europe. World War II begins in 1939. The German Luftwaffe bombs Britain, beginning their blitzkrieg (lightning) style of warfare on September 7, 1940. Much of east London is destroyed.
- In 1942, at the age of sixteen, Elizabeth signed up to aid the war effort, working in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), where she trained as a truck mechanic.
- On September 2, 1945, World War II finally comes to an end.
- On November 20, 1947, at the age of 21, Elizabeth marries Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.
- Near the end of the 40’s, with her father in failing health, Elizabeth begins to take on some of the duties of the Regent. George VI suffers an arterial blockage in 1949. Two years later, in 1952, he dies of coronary thrombosis, and Elizabeth is crowned Elizabeth II, Queen of England, in 1953.
The Classic vs. Modern Day Princess
These days, we tend to think of princesses as pretty girls in frilly dresses, and maybe even damsels in need of rescue. That’s really not the case for real life princesses. As stated earlier, Queen Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during the height of World War II.To date she is the only female member of the British Royal family to have served in the military, and the only living head of state to have served in World War II. She has lived her life, not as someone who needs saving, but as the first to step up and volunteer when her country is in need.
Whether classic or modern, the role of princess requires intelligence, stamina, and social capability. As Queen Mary, Elizabeth II’s grandmother, is quoted as saying in The Crown, “While you mourn your father, you must also mourn someone else. Elizabeth Mountbatten. For she has now been replaced by another person, Elizabeth Regina. The two Elizabeths will frequently be in conflict with one another, but the Crown must win. Must always win.” Although the quote was created by the show’s writers to set up the conflict for the season, the sentiment is very true. Moreover, duty over personal desire is the distinction between a fairy tale princess and a real life one. Perhaps that’s why we gravitate to the idea of the fairy tale princess, choosing to push that as a cultural narrative over duty, service, and selflessness. Then again, maybe that’s why Disney Princesses go through so much turmoil BEFORE they can get their hands on a tiara, it’s a metaphor for life as a real royal.
Fashion Looks Back
Our classic princess is dressed in a style considered more formal in this day and age, but for the decade of the 1940’s, the style would be appropriate for many different functions, both for royals and non-royals. Moreover, the look is practical so as to not offend those on ration stamps. For the classic princess, the right attire is an art form. Elizabeth was quite the tomboy, but she was, and is, very good at presenting herself in a way that connects with her subjects. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee (65 year reign) in February of this year. She is the longest reigning monarch in British history.
Oh For Fashion’s Sake!
Dress: Byron Lars
Shoes: American Eagle