After 70 years on the throne, you would think 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth might resign from the throne and the fashion competition she has participated in since the 50s. Not only has she reigned without sacrificing an inch of femininity but she has also done it in some of the most elegant, and expensive, outfits of all time. Although these outfits can be stunning, what do they truly represent? The million-dollar outfits surely don’t represent the society she governs, but rather the crown and the history it brings with it. The juxtaposition of the crown and society has always been relevant through an artistic lens. Music, fashion, and art are tied within our cultures and have always worked to represent the people and the crown in very different ways.
The first of the Queen’s many jubilee celebrations was held on June 2nd, 1977, in honor of her first 25 years on the throne. Sir Hardy Aime had designed the pink coat with a matching silk and chiffon dress, with a pink hat designed by Simone Mirman with 25 flowers hanging from it. The Queen’s feminine pink silk dress was exactly what it needed to be for a royal; it represented her femininity, love, and kindness, everything a Queen was supposed to be.
However, it didn’t speak for her country. The Clash had just released their first album in April of the same year and the punk rock scene was about to explode and create the rebellious London Punk youths. While the Queen stuck to tradition, clad in a pink expensive coat, her city was experimenting with what creative and uncontested cultural freedom could look like.
The diamond jubilee held on June 2nd, 2012, saw a much older yet equally graceful queen celebrate 60 years on the throne. She wore a gold dress detailed with sparkly ruffles, the simple pearl necklace and earrings added a touch of modesty while still maintaining a hint of nobility. As an older Queen, this golden dress was unsurprising, she was the crown jewel of England and dressed the part. This celebration resembled a music festival more than anything else, with over five performers including Cheryl Cole, Paul McCartney, and Grace Jones. The whole celebration, including the all-star lineup, cost slightly over 823 million Great British pounds
Earlier in the year, on the 20th of April, Northern Irelands ‘art hub’ was opened in the city of Belfast. The MAC, Metropolitan Arts Center, holds various types of exhibitions, everything from art to theater performances can be found. However, its only permanent exhibit is ‘The Permanent Present’, a sculpture completed by Irish artist Mark Garry. The sculpture is made of over 400 wires that create an array of colors winding through the main lobby of the art center. The artwork is meant to signify the futility of violence between The UK and The Republic of Ireland, as well as the hopes of the youth in Northern and Western Ireland. While the opulence and ease of royalty were being celebrated with a multi-million dollar celebration, the freedom and violence that Ireland has seen for decades were being represented through an artistic medium. Again demonstrating the distance between the royals and their communities that have experienced so much turmoil.
Another lavish celebration in the Queen’s honor will be underway this June to celebrate her 70th year as Queen. While millions are spent on the artistic endeavors of the celebration it will be interesting to see how well it celebrates the countries she rules. However, it is apparent that the artistic direction of the crown has far more rules than that of the people, perhaps as we move into a more modern era that may change. It is important that a monarch represents its people artistically and politically because the jubilee is not just a celebration of Queen Elizabeth but a celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s the United Kingdom and how it has evolved and become what it is today.