Throwback Thursday: Princesses Through the Ages

I think that we can officially name this week as ‘Princess Week’. After the birth of Princess Charlotte on Saturday, I decided to veto my original plans for this week’s Throwback Thursday, and share a collection of images that I’ve gathered over on Pinterest of British Princesses from the last two centuries.

We’ll start off with Princess Victoria who, of course, went on to become Queen and the longest reigning British monarch (until 9th September 2015, when Elizabeth II will surpass her).

Princess Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, c.1824

I really like the simplicity of the lace border on Victoria’s dress- it’s not overwhelming as so many lace royal garments can be. This could inspire so many modern dresses (think up-cycled crochet or a pretty collar).

Queen Victoria earned the nickname ‘grandmother of Europe’. She and Albert had nine children, who gave her forty (yes, forty!) grandchildren. Five of her nine children were girls: Victoria, Alice, Helena, Louise and Beatrice. Five little princesses for the country (and the empire) to adore.

Left: Victoria, Princess Royal, 1841. Centre: Princesses Alice, Victoria, Louise & Helena, 1849. Right: Princess Beatrice, 1863.

Left: Victoria, Princess Royal, 1841. Centre: Princesses Alice, Victoria, Louise & Helena, 1849. Right: Princess Beatrice, 1863.

Considering that these portraits were painted across two decades, there’s definitely a theme going on. I’m thinking that the Queen was a fan of blue bows and layered lace! I particularly like the way Beatrice’s periwinkle skirt is peeking through the transparent lace. (See a gorgeous modern wedding dress utilise the same effect here).

Queen Victoria’s heir, Edward VII, had three little girls of his own with fashionista wife Alexandra: Princesses Louise, Maud, and Victoria. Princess Royal Louise later married Alexander Duff, Duke of Fife, and had two daughters, Princesses Alexandra and Maud of Fife.

Left: Princesses Louise, Victoria & Maud of Wales, 1874. Right: Princess Louise with her daughters: Princesses Alexandra & Maud of Fife, 1898.

Left: Princesses Louise, Victoria & Maud of Wales, 1874. Right: Princess Louise with her daughters: Princesses Alexandra & Maud of Fife, 1898.

New generations, new styles. The braid trim on these coats (and skirts) is in keeping with the trends of both the 1870s and the 1890s respectively. I personally much prefer the smooth curves and intricately appliquéd trim that the Fife Princesses demonstrate- far more feminine in my opinion. It would be really easy to modify a coat or jacket pattern to include a scalloped edge- think along the lines of this or even this.

Of course this post wouldn’t be complete without looking at the childhood fashion of our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Here she is looking adorable alongside her equally stylish little sister, Princess Margaret.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, 1930's.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, 1930’s.

It was during the 1930s that childrenswear begun to look more and more like the clothes today’s little ones would wear. In fact, when I look at the first two pictures, all I see are versions of the Oliver + S’s fairytale dress!

The Queen ensured that her daughter, Princess Anne, was a well-dressed tiny tot too…

Princess Anne with Prince Charles and their mother Queen Elizabeth II, 1950's.

Princess Anne with Prince Charles and their mother Queen Elizabeth II, 1950’s.

I think at this point designers of children’s clothes recognised that they were already onto a good thing. These 50s dresses are very similar in style to the ones worn by the Queen in the 30s. The fabrics and extra frills are the only real indication of the era.

Finally, Princess Anne’s younger brother Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, and they had two little girls- Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, 1990's.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, 1990’s.

The royals were never going to make public appearances wearing crop tops and jelly shoes, were they? However, just as 90s fashion was stripped back, there’s no denying that the styles shown in these pictures are simplified versions of the previous 20th century examples. I love the sleeveless dresses (although I definitely prefer the dress that Laura made a couple of years ago over at Behind The Hedgerow).

And that’s it until Princess Charlotte starts making public appearances and the online community swoons over everything she’s wearing. Obviously there are so many more Princesses that I could have included but I think you may have fallen asleep if I had! Maybe you already did. So thanks if you made it to the end- I know it was a long one this week. I promise to be more concise next time!

Anyway, if you love all the old images like I do and want to see even more (including the most adorable shot of the Queen and Princess Margaret on their rocking horse) don’t forget to head on over to my Pinterest page, and follow me for sneak previews of whatever’s inspiring my upcoming posts…

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