Commonwealth Day is celebrated every year to celebrate the bonds of unity between the 56 member countries of the global network. In the United Kingdom, an annual service is held at Westminster Abbey to mark the day and is traditionally attended by the monarch and members of the royal family.
Since its inception, the Commonwealth has been headed by the British Sovereign, first with King George VI, then with his daughter Queen Elizabeth II, and now with King Charles III (who was elected to succeed his mother in a 2018 membership vote).
This year will be Charles’ first Commonwealth Day as sovereign and head of the organization.
In recent years, the March service has become the focus of royal watchers hoping to catch a glimpse of the royals at their ceremonies, and the day’s fashion choices have been widely commented upon.
From Queen Elizabeth to Queen Camilla and Kate Middleton to Meghan Markle, here, Newsweek takes a look at some of the royals’ best fashion moments on Commonwealth Day.
Queen Elizabeth II 2011
Queen Elizabeth II attended the annual Commonwealth Day service in London each year when she was not abroad on a state visit or overseas tour.
In 2011, the monarch wore a pale peach ensemble consisting of a tweed bouclé coat and matching hat, completed with a gold, diamond and pearl brooch.
The Queen was present with Prince Philip, and singer Annie Lennox spoke about her experiences fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa during the service.
Kate Middleton 2015
Attending a Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey for the first time, Kate Middleton made a modest impression wearing a pale pink coat with a Peter Pan collar and pearl buttons, paired with a matching hat.
The princess was pregnant with her second child, Princess Charlotte, at the time of the service. Her coat was designed by the designer of her 2011 wedding dress, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, and her hat by Jane Taylor Millinery.
Completing her look, Kate wore a pair of pink Prada pumps and a matching Prada clutch.
Queen Elizabeth II 2019
For the 2019 Commonwealth Day service, Queen Elizabeth II wore a royal purple coat and matching hat with contrasting trim and buttons.
The service was attended by many members of the royal family, including newly married Meghan Markle.
Meghan Markle 2019
For her first Commonwealth Day service as a member of the royal family, Meghan Markle chose a smart white coat over a striking monochrome dress by designer Victoria Beckham.
The Duchess was expecting her first child, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, during the service and completed her look with a white bunker hat, a style favored by many high-profile women, including the Duchess’ late mother-lawyer Princess Diana and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Meghan Markle 2020
The 2020 Commonwealth Day service was an awkward milestone for the royals as it was the last official engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before resigning from their royal duties and moving to the United States
All eyes were on the couple and their interactions with family members like Kate Middleton and Prince William. For the occasion, Meghan donned a bold green outfit designed by Emilia Wickstead, which was part of the Duchess’ colorful rainbow wardrobe for her final week in the UK.
Sophie Wessex 2020
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is married to Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son, Prince Edward, has earned the approval of the fashion press over the years with her simple but meticulously crafted styles.
For the 2020 Commonwealth Day service, the Countess wore a white and navy midi dress by designer Suzannah London, with a blue pillbox hat adorned with a mesh veil arrangement.
Queen Camilla 2022
Queen Camilla presented herself royally at the 2022 Commonwealth Day service in what was to be her last as Duchess of Cornwall.
Camilla wore a dark purple coat and a fitted dress with bold princess seams adorned with floral brooches.
To complete the look, the future queen wore one of her favorite models of large hats adorned with sculpted feathers and had a Chanel quilted handbag.
Kate Middleton 2022
For the 2022 Commonwealth Day service, Kate Middleton also opted for an all blue ensemble, this time in a lighter shade with a contrasting velvet collar and accessories.
The beautifully sculpted princess gown was designed by the brand famous for dressing Princess Diana in the 80s and 90s until her untimely death, Catherine Walker & Co.
James Crawford-Smith is a royal Newsweek reporter based in London. He can be found on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and keep reading his stories NewsweekThe Royals’ Facebook page.
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