Erin Hill
February 20, 2018 11:43 AM

Royalty meets fashion royalty!

Queen Elizabeth made a surprise appearance during London Fashion Week on Tuesday, sitting front and center next to none other than Vogue’s Anna Wintour.

The Queen stepped up her own fashion game, wearing a pale blue wool tweed dress and jacket embellished with tiny aquamarine Swarovski crystals by Angela Kelly (who sat to Wintour’s left). She even added a pair of black gloves to her look. Wintour had on her signature shades and a floral dress as she sat next to the monarch.

Queen Elizabeth and Anna Wintour
Yui Mok/PA Wire/AP

The pair were seen chatting before the Richard Quinn show began. And in true royal form, the Queen even received a comfy cushion to sit on!

Queen Elizabeth and Anna Wintour
Mike Marsland/WireImage

Mike Marsland/WireImage

The monarch was on hand to present the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The special award, initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy, will be awarded annually to an emerging British fashion designer who shows exceptional talent and originality, while demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies, according to the palace.

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Queen Elizabeth
Neil Mockford/GC Images

London-born designer Richard Quinn was the very first recipient of the award. The Queen attended his show before presenting him with the award in a special ceremony. Quinn established his namesake label in 2016 after graduating from the Fashion MA course at Central Saint Martins.

Mike Marsland/WireImage
Tristan Fewings/BFC/Getty

Taking to the catwalk to address the audience, the Queen said: “It is a great pleasure to be here at London Fashion Week today. From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting edge, practical designs.

“As a tribute to the industry, and as my legacy to all those who have contributed to British fashion, I would like to present this award for new, young talent. I would like to thank the British Fashion Council for selecting the first winner – Richard Quinn.”

The Queen’s visit to the London Fashion Week headquarters had been kept secret and her low-key arrival caused a ripple of astonishment among attendees.

She began by viewing a millinery exhibition curated by the legendary Stephen Jones. She then made a beeline for Harvy Santos, a “new wave” hat maker who had created a crown out of leather and studs based on Queen Victoria’s traveling crown.

Yui Mok/PA Wire/AP

He said he was shaking as he met the monarch and said afterwards: “I just couldn’t believe it. I took my hat off and barely knew what to say. But she was just lovely.”

Queen Elizabeth
Yui Mok/PA Wire/AP

Philippine-born Santos, a former ballet dancer continued: “She was just lovely and so softly spoken. She was interested in my crown and what inspired me. I also told her about my former career as a dancer and she joked, ‘That must have been quite a leap,’ ”

“I thought I was the only Queen here, but I have been dethroned today! I couldn’t have been happier about it,” he added.

Queen Elizabeth
Yui Mok/PA Wire/AP

Queen Elizabeth isn’t the only royal supporting London Fashion Week. On Monday, Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex co-hosted the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception at Buckingham Palace.

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