We know the royals love literal dressing – and this burgundy uniform is as literal as it gets

Tamara Abraham

Acting Senior Fashion Editor 15 December 2022 • 7:28pm Tamara Abraham

The Prince and Princess of Wales strolled hand-in-hand with Prince George and Princess Charlotte as they attended the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey
The Prince and Princess of Wales, along with their children, opted for matching burgundy outfits for the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey Credit: SamirHussein/WireImage

You can only imagine the style memo issued on the Windsor family WhatsApp chat before Thursday evening’s carol service at Westminster Abbey: “We’re wearing burgundy, folks. Cream, brown and navy, acceptable. Black tolerated. But please, no ghastly neons.” 

If there were such a diktat, the Waleses (minus four-year-old Louis who stayed home) followed it to the letter. Arriving hand in hand, they were immaculately coordinated: Catherine in a custom Eponine coat-dress was close in colour to Charlotte’s Peter Pan collar coat and her husband’s tie. William and George wore matching navy coats over their suits. You have to hand it to them, they know how to create a photo op.

The royals a the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey
The royals a the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey Credit: Reuters
Catherine, the Princess of Wales
Catherine, the Princess of Wales, followed the dress code to the letter Credit: Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson Collection

But it didn’t stop there. Zara Tindall also attended in a claret coat, and as with the Waleses, Mike matched her with a tie in the same hue. Then there was Kate’s sister Pippa Matthews, clad in a £409 belted Karen Millen number, her husband James in a complementary pink tie. This is surely too much matchy-matchy dressing to rule out a coincidence. Either way, they are on trend: this hue (more of a claret than a burgundy actually) is akin to Viva Magenta, Pantone’s colour of the year for 2023.

Zara Phillips, Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, Pippa Middleton, James Matthews and Rob Dixon attend the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service – in burgundy
Zara Tindall, Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, Pippa Middleton, James Matthews and Rob Dixon attend the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service – in burgundy Credit: Samir Hussein/Getty Images/WireImage

Those who weren’t in claret had coordinated, too. The Queen Consort, the Countess of Wessex and Princess Beatrice all wore shades of cream. Princess Eugenie (in Weekend Max Mara) and Princess Michael of Kent opted for chocolate brown. Whoever is orchestrating this has elegant taste.

The Queen Consort coordinated in cream with the Countess of Wessex and Princess Beatrice
The Queen Consort coordinated in cream with the Countess of Wessex and Princess Beatrice Credit: Getty
the Countess of Wessex and Princess Beatrice
The Countess of Wessex and Princess Beatrice also in cream Credit: REuters

It sends a powerful message, too. Some might dismiss this family uniform as a bit naff, but we know the royals regularly employ the power of literal dressing, and this united front in coordinating colours is about as literal as it gets. There has been no official comment on the allegations made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the latest episodes of their Netflix documentary, but this is the sartorial equivalent of saying: “We are a family, and we’re getting on with the day job – and we’re not going to dignify that nonsense by offering a response.”

The Princess of Wales opted for a burgundy dress for the occasion
The Princess of Wales opted for a burgundy dress and matching heels for the occasion Credit: Richard Pohle/The Times/PA Wire

No doubt they have more to say than that – but this matchy-matchy outing is as close as we’re going to get. 

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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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