When you think of the royal family, what’s the first fashion image that comes to your mind? It should be plaid, because that appears to be the one constant throughout the generations. A strong plaid look, whether it’s a coat or a skirt or a shirt or, perhaps best of all, a kilt.
The royal family has long favored wearing a plaid or a tartan, as the checked look is often referred to, especially when visiting Scotland. The royal family does have its own official tartan, after all, called the
Royal Stewart tartan. This official royal plaid originates back to the royal house of Stewart from the 19th century, and continues to be worn by the royal house of Windsor to this day. This particular plaid is a strong red with green, blue, and gold accents. But don’t worry, the royal family is not strictly sticking to the one look.
The entire family, from Queen Elizabeth right on down the line, has a real affinity for all different types of plaid. Especially when they are visiting their beloved country home of Balmoral Castle in Scotland. It’s a timeless, somewhat effortless look that anyone can wear, so get out your tartan and prepare to try your hand at it.
A Real Tartan Queen Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth matches her plaid skirt to her coat collar on arriving in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1973 for her holiday at Balmoral. Look at that spring in her step.
Fancy Dress Plaid David Levenson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip wore the official Royal Stewart tartan to a ball in Edinburgh in 1982, and now I wish sashes would come into fashion.
Little Prince Tartan PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
Prince Charles looked incredibly at ease walking the grounds of Balmoral in a
kilt and sporran, a traditional part of the Highland kilt ensemble, when he was just seven years old. Mad For Plaid Keystone/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
In 1960, Princess Anne and Prince Charles wore plaid in a family photo outside of Balmoral and didn’t even look like they minded matching the picnic blanket.
Serious About Plaid Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images
Prince Charles looks very serious about his entire kilt regalia during an official royal event in 1985.
Tartan Of Romance Anwar Hussein/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Princess Diana looked pleased as punch to be with her fiancé Prince Charles at Balmoral in 1981. I think it was the kilt.
A New Plaid In Town Anwar Hussein/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
During a visit to France in 1988, Princess Diana wore a plaid blazer to a Remembrance Day ceremony. Proving plaid can be worn beyond the confines of Balmoral.
Introducing The Plaid Suit Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
In 1990, Princess Diana proved to be an entirely new breed of royal when she wore a Catherine Walker plaid suit and crouched down to chat with school kids.
Plaid & A Pony Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Princess Diana and Prince Charles wore plaid in a family photo at Highgrove Estate in 1988 with Prince William and Prince Harry.
Tartan-Adjacent Anwar Hussein/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Neither Prince William nor Prince Harry appear to be big fans of wearing kilts, but that’s okay because Prince Charles seems to wear them enough for the both of them. Here they are at Balmoral in 1997.
The Duchess of Plaid WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Kate Middleton hit the ground with a strong plaid game almost immediately after joining the royal family. In 2012 she even played a bit of cricket in a full plaid coat. Well done/
A California Tartan Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Plaid wool coats might not be much of a look in her home state of California, but the Duchess of Sussex pulled the look off during a royal function in 2018.
Heir To The Plaid
Prince George wears plaid.
In a 2018 family photo taken by
his mom Kate Middleton, Prince George is the clear heir to his great-grandmother’s throne. Or at least her love of plaid since they’re the only two wearing it. Subtle Plaid Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
Leave it to Kate Middleton to wear a plaid blazer with jeans. She knows how to pair plaid with pretty much anything.
This Is How To Do Plaid Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In 2017, Queen Elizabeth stayed warm curled up under a blanket made of her own personal tartan. That’s class.
Not To Pick Favorites Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
This look from a Christmas visit to military families in 2018 from Kate Middleton is my favorite. That long plaid skirt is a classic.
His (Plaid) Soul Mate Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
After years of wearing kilts, Prince Charles found his plaid match when he and Camilla Parker Bowles wore kilts to an event in 2006.
Right Down To Her Toes Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
During a visit to Canada in 2016, Kate Middleton wore these amazing plaid shoes. That is commitment to a look.
Royal Blue Plaid Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In 2021, Kate Middleton visited Edinburgh, Scotland and wore a double-breasted plaid trench coat. Clearly she has a deep love for the look.
Following In Her Mother’s Footsteps
Princess Charlotte wears plaid.