Beige is apparently too blasé for the Crown. Queen Elizabeth II turned heads (and made headlines) when she wore a bright—no, neon—blue outfit to her 92nd birthday parade. But that wasn’t the first time she arrived on the scene wearing a vividly hued number. In fact, throughout her 66-year reign the Queen has sported dozens of bold shades, from fuchsia to lemon to royal blue.
So, what’s the true story behind the Queen’s bright wardrobe? It’s actually one of the 20 things you probably didn’t know about Queen Elizabeth. (And no, it’s not a fashion statement!)
The real reason for her bright-colored, blocky numbers is actually way more sensible—and touching. According to her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the Queen wants to make sure members of the public can catch sight of her through the crowds.
“She needs to stand out for people to be able to say ‘I saw the Queen’,” Sophie said in the documentary The Queen at 90. “Don’t forget that when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, 10, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the queen’s hat as she went past.”
Other sources have confirmed the reason behind Queen Elizabeth’s famous fashion choice, as well. One outfit you probably won’t catch her in: the one she actually never travels without.
“The Queen has always been aware that she needs to stand out from the crowd, and it is for this reason that millinery has always played an important role in her wardrobe,” Caroline de Guitaut, the curator at the Royal Collection Trust, told the New York Times.
Turns out, the Queen’s famous remark “I have to be seen to be believed” might have been more literal than we initially thought.
While her preference for vivid hues isn’t just a fashion statement, neither is her purse. This is the real reason Queen Elizabeth carries a purse all the time.