Royal outfit repeaters: From Princess Anne’s 70s dresses to King Charles’ 30-year-old shoes

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If outfit repeating is considered chic enough for royalty’s style set, we can’t argue with that. 

More and more, we’re seeing royalty’s most influential dressers delving into their own wardrobes to recycle a look they’ve already worn – and we’re not just talking about everyday clothes. 

The Princess of Wales is repeating outfits on the red carpet, while the Princess Royal is recycling her Royal Ascot looks. In these royals’ wardrobes, ‘wear it once’ culture has officially been stitched out, with dress repeats occurring everywhere from Wimbledon to royal weddings. 

© Getty
The Princess of Wales is a regular outfit repeater

Outfit repeating may not seem revolutionary to most of us, but for the royal ladies who have the privilege of dipping their toes into the world’s most coveted fashion houses, choosing to repeat a pre-loved outfit is a significant move in favour of fashion circularity. 

In light of Earth Day, HELLO! revisits some of the most memorable outfit repeats from royalty’s sustainable style icons.

The Princess of Wales

Princess Kate needs no introduction as one of the most prolific royal outfit repeaters. Kate has been known to wear some of her most-loved garments several times, delivering a powerful message to her army of royal style watchers that even Princesses can outfit repeat.

At the BAFTAs in 2023, Princess Kate floored fans when she graced the red carpet in a reworked Alexander McQueen dress she’d worn to the same event in 2019. 

Kate Middleton wears a white one-shoulder dress to the BAFTAs© Getty
The Princess of Wales re-wore one of her famous dresses

“Altering that beautiful McQueen gown into a new shape after she had worn it to the same occasion previously (something the rest of us would perhaps never dream of doing) was sheer genius, with the controversial opera gloves simply emphasising the fact. It was strategic dressing at its best,” said royal style expert, Miranda Holder, at the time. 

It’s not just her own wardrobe that she recycles, either. The Princess of Wales propelled rental fashion into the spotlight when she rented an ethereal Solace London dress from It-girl rental platform, HURR for the Earthshot Prize Awards in 2022. 

The Princess of Wales rented a Solace London dress from HURR for the Earthshot Prize Awards© Getty
The Princess of Wales rented a Solace London dress from HURR for the Earthshot Prize Awards

Eshita Kabra-Davies, founder of ByRotation told HELLO!: “It’s a positive step in the rightdirection to have royals embrace the rental revolution, especially because they havesignificant shopping power amongst the non-Gen Z generations.

The Princess of Wales wearing a green dress and emerald choker at the Earthshot Prize© Getty
Princess Kate paired her rental gown with a vintage emerald choker, formerly belonging to Princess Diana

“The green Falconetti dress that the Princess of Wales wore for her and Prince William’s first official joint portrait has been rented more than 25 times on ByRotation and continues to beone of our most popular rentals,” says Eshita.

Princess Anne

The Princess Royal’s eco-credentials should be studied in history books. At 73, the late Queen Elizabeth II‘s daughter is still wearing clothes she first debuted in her twenties, and looks immaculate doing so. 

Princess Anne wears a cream and navy coat© Shutterstock / Getty
The Princess Royal often wears the same clothes decades apart

Horse racing events never fail to provide the perfect podium to showcase keen equestrian Princess Anne’s unmistakable elegance, and they have also played host to some of her most memorable outfit repeats over the years. 

PRINCESS ANNE’S SUSTAINABLE STYLE FILE

Stepping out for the final day of Cheltenham Festival 2024, the Princess Royal looked resplendent in red as she re-wore a retro red coat she had worn 27 years before during a royal engagement. 

Princess Anne wore the same coat, 27 years apart© Getty
Princess Anne wore the same coat, 27 years apart

Rosanna Peel, Sustainable Stylist for Green Salon, told HELLO!: “It is great to see a woman with style and substance seemingly rejecting the fashion circus. One has the impression that Princess Anne is utterly true to herself which is the hallmark of real style; her strength of personality seems to be reflected in her character and her work ethic rather than being defined by what she wears.”

Duchess of Edinburgh 

The Duchess of Edinburgh has her very own fashion mini-me to recycle her clothes for her. As Lady Louise Windsor continues to bloom in the royal spotlight, she often does so wearing her mother’s dresses, coats, shoes and hats. 

This environmentally conscious mother-daughter duo take no shame in outfit repeating, proving the idea that “the most sustainable wardrobe is the one we already own.” 

Lady Louise Windsor wore the beret first, debuting the ivory hat in 2022© Getty
Lady Louise Windsor wore the beret first, debuting the ivory hat in 2022

On Easter Sunday 2024, Duchess Sophie stepped out wearing a mink-hued beret and a Cadbury purple Prada coat – though it was actually her daughter who first wore the beret to the Easter Matins service at St George’s chapel in 2022. 

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh wore an ivory beret to the Easter Mattins Service at St George's Chapel in 2024© Getty
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh wore an ivory beret to the Easter Mattins Service at St George’s Chapel in 2024

King Charles 

King Charles is a serial outfit repeater, having famously worn just two coats in tandem since the 1980s, along with a pair of shoes he is reported to have owned for more than three decades.  

King Charles has long been an advocate for sustainable fashion© Getty
King Charles has long been an advocate for sustainable fashion

He’s also been champion of the ‘Positive Fashion’ initiative alongside the British Fashion Council’s commitment to climate action since its launch in 2018, and will soon launch a sustainable fashion exhibition using recycled materials from his garden at Highgrove House.

The former Prince of Wales has worn the same wool coat for over three decades© Getty
The former Prince of Wales has worn the same wool coat for over three decades

The exhibition comes as part of the King’s ongoing collaboration with designer duo Vin + Omi, who have brought Royal Garden Waste To Fashion’s Future to life.

The collection will feature 24 garments and accessories that combine eco-consciousness with innovation, including the world’s first maxi dress created using butterbur – an Asian bog plant that grows beside the lakes at Sandringham.

Princess Diana

Coined a style icon of her time, Princess Diana was an eco-fashion advocate well before sustainable fashion was even on our radar. Buying an item to wear it once didn’t interest the former Princess of Wales, who not only chose to repeat outfits, but also had items in her wardrobe remade into completely new outfits.

Princess Diana was well versed in upcyling her clothes© Getty
Princess Diana was well versed in upcyling her clothes

Princess Diana donned a stunning blue Catherine Walker gown in 1986 to a dinner hosted by the Emir of Qatar in Doha. Two years later, she ditched the sleeves for a flattering sweetheart neckline when she attended a charity ball in 1989.

Princess Beatrice

When we think of the traditional wedding rhyme ‘something borrowed, something blue’, you might not expect the bride to don a head-to-toe sustainable fashion look from recycled items.

Thrifty Princess Beatrice not only rewore the late Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite tiara for her big day, but she also borrowed one of her grandmother’s dresses – tweaking it slightly by adding delicate sleeves and adjusting the hemline to better suit her style.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi wedding next to prince philip and the queen© Alamy
Princess Beatrice chose to wear her grandmother’s dress on her wedding day

It has even been revealed that the royal didn’t invest in a new pair of shoes for the big day, instead opting to re-wear a pair of cream Valentino’s she first wore at Prince William and Princess Kate’s wedding in 2011, paired with a pastel pink tailored dress and iconic fascinator. 

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Prince Philip

The late Prince Philip’s love for the Queen and dedication to their 73-year marriage is one that will tug on heartstrings for decades to come – but the former Duke of Edinburgh also had an unusual love for sustainability and sentimental items.

He continued to wear the same black shoes he used on the day he married the Queen for more than seven decades.

The Queen and Prince Philip smiling on their wedding day in November 1947© ITV/Shutterstock
Prince Philip continued to wear his wedding shoes throughout his life

Having first worn the smart leather shoes on his wedding day in 1947, he donned the same pair at many formal occasions over the years, having them resoled when needed. 

According to the MailOnline, when Prince Philip was asked why he continued to wear the shoes, he said he wore them “out of sentimentality.”

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