It's not an exaggeration to say that the Cambridge family was front and center during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Central weekend earlier this month — especially the children. Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and especially Prince Louis, 4, delighted royal watchers around the world as they participated in a number of royal engagements.
One of the most-reported details about the Cambridge children during the Jubilee celebrations was the fact that Louis wore a sailor suit that once belonged to his father, Prince William. It was last worn to Trooping the Colour on June 14, 1985 — 37 years ago.
As a longtime royal reporter, I knew this wasn't the first time that we've seen a Cambridge child in the same outfit as — or a very similar one to something worn by — William or his brother Prince Harry.
But this little sailor suit piqued my curiosity. All in all, how many outfits from recent(ish) royal history have been reworn? And, more importantly, could you learn anything about the Cambridges or the royal family by going through photo archives and paying attention to what George, Charlotte, and Louis are wearing?
I attempt to answer that question — with help from one of the internet's authorities on royal fashion — in the latest edition of my newsletter, The Royal Tea.
But tl;dr: There appears to be a royal template of sorts from which all three Cambridge children are styled. A deliberate sartorial strategy, a certain look that you can track across the years.
The Cambridge child's royal uniform is timeless — and I'm being specific when I say that. This isn't a generic "royal kids dress this way" kind of thing. The repeated outfits like the sailor suit notwithstanding, young William and Harry were photographed in styles of clothing that we've never seen on the Cambridges.
Like this all-denim look from October 1991 and (American!) sports team t-shirt from July 1986.
Another example: While little William proudly displayed his love for Mickey Mouse as a child on more than one occasion, the Cambridge kids have never been publicly seen in clothing featuring cartoon characters.
So what does this Cambridge child's "royal uniform" look like?
It's timeless. It's simple. It's also — for the most part — blue.
No, seriously. I'm not saying other colors aren't thrown in there sometimes, but there's a whole lot of blue.
So much blue.
As you can see from some of the above photos, on most occasions, the Cambridges' go-to boys' look is a collared shirt, sweater, shorts, and high socks.
The collared shirts underneath the sweaters tend to be patterned.
You'll see all three of the Cambridge children in polo shirts, from time to time. They're almost never pictured in t-shirts.
With a few notable exceptions, Charlotte has mostly been seen wearing dresses. And for a few years there, it almost looked as if she was wearing the same dress every time, although she did sometimes wear pink versions of it.
I mean, the photos below were taken in 2016, 2018, and 2022.
Now that we've got the basics established, let's go back to the boys and take a look at the times we've seen George or Louis repeat a royal look.
For his first Trooping the Colour in 2015, George wore a onesie that William had worn to the event in 1984.
At Louis's first Trooping the Colour in 2019, he appears to have worn the exact same outfit that his uncle Harry wore to Trooping the Colour in 1986.
And for Charlotte's christening in 2015, George wore an outfit almost identical to the one William wore when he visited the hospital in 1984 to meet his newborn baby brother Harry.
The aforementioned sailor suit and the three outfits above have been widely reported in the media, and most royal watchers reading this post will likely have seen them before. But they've only been worn twice in total.
So, let's peek at what I believe is the most-recreated look in the recent history of the royal family.
On Dec. 21, 1984, William wore a white collared shirt with blue piping to his brother Harry's christening.
A few months later in May 1985, William recreated the look while in Venice, Italy, with his parents and Harry.
Fast forward 33 years.
On July 9, 2018, George wore a remarkably similar-looking white shirt with blue piping to Louis's christening.
The next year, he attended Trooping the Colour and appeared on the balcony with his family in what appeared to be the same outfit.
Three years later, Louis rocked the same outfit during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.
Will the world see the shirt again? Who knows.
If you're interested in talking about the why of these royal looks, check out the latest edition of The Royal Tea and please consider subscribing!