The Prince and Princess of Wales’s Christmas cards are always perfect, but in 2022, especially so. It showed the British royals and their three young children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis strolling down a country lane in slightly different shades of blue, with William’s button-down matching George’s shorts, which then corresponded perfectly with his little sister’s sneakers. The intended message of the colour coordination was obvious: they were a united family unit.
Later that year, the Prince and Princess of Wales released a photo to mark Prince Louis’s 5th birthday. In it, he wore a blueberry-hued Fair Isle sweater and a gleeful expression as his mother pushed him in a wheelbarrow. A few weeks later, as Princess Charlotte turned nine, her parents shared a snap of their daughter in a white dress dotted with periwinkle flowers. And, for Prince George’s annual memento, he posed at Windsor in a navy-and-white chequered shirt. In a short span of time, it was, well, a whole lotta blue.
Yet when examining public photographs of the family, it’s clear their affinity for that particular shade stretches way beyond those six months: in 2021, for example, all three children wore blue for their annual birthday portraits, while George and Charlotte both donned it in 2022 as well. (The outlier, Louis, wore a grey jumper with yellow, red, and a cerulean star.) In 2020, the whole crew wore blue for a photo op with David Attenborough, as well as in 2017 for that year’s holiday card. In fact, it’s far less repetitive to name the instances where no one in the family is wearing blue: it tends to be the rule rather than the exception.
The Waleses are masters of optics: unable to speak out about political causes, they often convey subtle messages through their expressions or clothing. On Remembrance Day, for example, they don all black and red poppies. During a visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre soon after Russia’s invasion of the sovereign nation, Middleton wore the colours of their flag in a subtle message of support. So their penchant for blue family photographs is surely no accident. “The royal family is always very aware of the message their clothing sends. A huge part of their very public role is to be seen– as Queen Elizabeth II famously said,” Elizabeth Holmes, author of New York Times bestseller, HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, tells Vogue. “Before anyone knows what work they are doing, what cause they are supporting, or what event they are attending, we see what they are wearing. They know that and they use that quite savvily.”
What draws them to blue, in particular? Basic colour theory suggests blue is a colour that represents calmness and responsibility. For public servants raising future public servants, such an aesthetic projection is no doubt an aesthetically attractive one: the monarchy, after all, is all about stable continuity. Then, there’s the fact that it’s part of the Union Jack: wearing blue also subtly nods to a sense of patriotism.
Holmes also points out that for Kate Middleton, in particular, blue is a colour that seems to be her signature. “I think it’s worth considering Catherine’s commitment to blue,” she says. “For the first official pictures of her as a royal bride-to-be, she wore a vivid blue wrap dress to match the famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring that had belonged to Princess Diana. She has since worn every shade of blue, from a soft and pale (one might even call it Cinderella blue) to a deep navy.” So their distinct, repeated colour choice? It’s never come out of the blue.
Source: British Vogue