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Princess Anne: The royal’s 1960s & 70s style – ‘chic, class and feminine grandeur’

Princess Anne as the only daughter of the Queen was one of the most high profile young women in the country during the 1960s and 70s. Anne’s fashion choices from the late 1960s and early 1970s are gaining a reappraisal from both designers who are using her for inspiration, and from the top fashion magazines. Her love of bright, vibrant colours, short skirt lengths, quirky hats and no-nonsense casual wear showed her style choices were quite adventurous during this period.

Unfortunately, Anne gained a reputation for being “frumpy” when compared to the “glamorous” Princess Diana in the 1980s.

Princess Anne was glamorous, beautiful, and a trendsetter in her own right.

Anne was later seen to have a no-nonsense view towards fashion, and she was one of the first royal ladies to recycle her looks, no matter how well known they were.

For instance, the floral wrap dress she wore for Charles and Diana’s wedding, she wore many times again.

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But her 1970s choices were great, and she aspired for chic looks with fun elements.

Her gorgeous 1970s looks embraced the prints, the chiffon, the wide collars, and trouser suit ensembles of the decade.

Anne’s Maureen Baker designed wedding dress from the house of Susan Small has stood the test of time far better than those worn by Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson.

The Princess Royal’s style reappraisal is also due to ‘The Crown’, and Erin Doherty’s elegant portrayal of the Princess.


Erin’s success in the role showed that, before Diana, there was another beautiful Princess already in the Royal Family, one that competed in the Olympic Games and was the voted BBC’s Sport Personality of the Year in 1971.

Fashion designs for Princess Anne by the royal dressmaker Sir Norman Hartnell will be auctioned on November 11.

The designs show that Hartnell wanted Princess Anne’s clothes to have the “chic, class and feminine grandeur” according to Ewbank’s Vintage Fashion specialist Susan Orringe.

Orringe continued: “The crispness of the images, light touch and flow of the designs, as well as the sense of movement and quality that they convey have an extraordinary immediacy about them.”

Among those designs are two original 1970s fashion illustrations in watercolour pen and pencil marked ‘HRH Princess Anne’.

One is an embellished evening dress in turquoise and white, while the other is an A line dress in lemon with a matching coat.

Among the dozens of designs are smart daywear, costumes for attending events like race meetings, and formal evening wear.

“These were the inspirational creations of one of the leading lights of fashion design at the time and it is easy to see why they captured the imagination of society women,” says Susan Orringe.

“To see them looking as fresh today as they would have looked 50 years ago is a thrill, and I expect them to create quite a stir when they appear in our Vintage Fashion & Textiles sale on November 11.”

Sir Norman (1901-79) was well-known as a royal favourite, gaining a Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, in 1940 and another as Dressmaker to The Queen in 1957.

His most celebrated creation was The Queen’s Coronation gown, but his last commission for a full State occasion was the wedding dress for Princess Margaret when she married Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960.

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