Queen Camilla’s quiet chic conquers Paris

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Like Meghan and Harry’s HRH titles, the stiff smiles and awkward crown balancing of the coronation can now be forgotten by King Charles and Queen Camilla. On a state visit to France, Queen Camilla has perfected her relaxed royal style signatures.

Rather than emulate the Hollywood polish of Princess Catherine or satin upholstery of Princess Eugenie in Fendi at London Fashion Week’s Vogue World event, Camilla now dresses like a woman who knows her place – right beside the royal number one.

Brigiite Macron in a Chanel jacket and Queen Camilla with the Queen Mother’s brooch on the British King’s visit to France. Credit: Getty

At the former French royal residence Versailles, Camilla, 76, kept her head and held it high in a midnight blue cape dress from Dior’s haute couture collection and the King George VI Sapphire necklace.

The Queen exuded a degree of comfort and sophistication attending the host country’s state banquet that escaped her in Bruce Oldfield’s stiff embroidered gown beneath the 2000 brilliant diamonds of the Queen Mary crown at the Coronation.

Along with Queen Rania of Jordan and former movie star Princess Grace of Monaco, Dior has been favoured by British royals since the Queen Mother attended a private show by Christian Dior in 1950. The Queen Mother dismissed with protocol, permitting models to ignore instructions about leaving the room backwards so that she could have full view of the dresses.

Queen Camilla in Dior and King Charles at Versailles.Credit: Getty

She liked what she saw and in 1951 Princess Margaret’s white gown from her 21st birthday was by Christian Dior.

More recently, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wore Dior as a working royal. The brand owned by LVMH was recently forced to deny rumours of signing an advertising deal with the former Suits actor.

At Versailles, French first lady Brigitte Macron, 70, wore matching blue. The women looked as different as the Comté and Stitchelton cheese served at the banquet, but were equally appealing.

With lashings of mascara, Macron exudes the glamour of Jane Fonda, while Camilla’s red carpet style is more Dame Judi Dench with Helen Mirren’s hair.

On this occasion, with Macron assisting her cape for the cameras, Camilla was the stand-out.

At the beginning of the French visit, Camilla appeared to be copying Queen Elizabeth’s playbook, in a pink coat dress by Fiona Clare and matching hat by milliner Philip Treacy, who created her gold feathered wedding headpiece in 2005.

After taking in Macron’s blow-dry and Saint Laurent suit, Camilla ditched the hats for the rest of the visit, enhancing her appeal. Rather than looking like an escapee from the Melbourne Cup Birdcage, the Queen appeared more relaxed, especially during an impromptu game of table tennis with Macron.

The Queen’s cream and black Chanel shoes and quilted Chanel handbag, with a white dress, were a handicap to any attempts at sporting form but were style winners.

Unlike Charles’s first wife Princess Diana, Camilla has no aversion to Chanel shoes.

During a styling session with Australian designer Jayson Brunsdon in 1996, Diana refused to wear Chanel shoes because of the interlocking Cs, which could represent Charles and Camilla.

While Camilla’s wardrobe now exudes confidence, it doesn’t distract from the events she attends.

Chanel accessories were appropriate for a visit to le 19M on the outskirts of the 19th arrondissement of Paris. The building houses the Métiers d’Art Fellowship Program, which is a partnership with Chanel and the King’s charity The Prince’s Foundation.

“It is a residential 24-week intensive embroidery programme designed to challenge and develop creative practice with a focus on developing and refining traditional skills,” Buckingham Palace said. “Teaching is delivered by artisans and highly skilled tutors, with mentorship and guidance by Creative Directors from Maisons d’Art such as Lesage, Atelier Montex and Lemarié.”

How it started v how it finished: Queen Camilla arriving on day one of the King’s tour of France at Orly airport and on the third and final day at the Elysee Palace.Credit: Getty

Alongside Charles, Camilla observed the work of textile designers and students reinvigorating the French ateliers revived by Chanel.

By the final day of the tour, the Queen had graduated from her own three-day intensive course of Queen Dressing 101. When Camilla farewelled the Macron’s in a green print dress her head remained bare, her grip remained firm on her Chanel handbag and her smile was genuine.

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