Does the Royal Family Color Coordinate Their Outfits for Group Outings?

Burgundy was the popular shade at Kate Middleton's Christmas carol concert, with the Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte, Pippa Matthews and Zara Tindall all wearing the hue

Kate Middleton, Pippa Middleton, Princess Charlotte and Zara Tindall
Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage (2); Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty; Samir Hussein/WireImage

It's no secret that lots of thought goes into the British royal family's style choices, but what part does color play?

Kate Middleton acted as host on Thursday evening for her second annual Christmas carol concert at Westminster Abbey. The Princess of Wales, 40, wore a bespoke burgundy coat dress by Epinone London — a shade that proved to be popular with other guests at the event as well. In addition to matching with daughter Princess Charlotte, the royal sported a similar shade to sister Pippa Matthews and Prince William's cousin Zara Tindall.

Prince William and Mike Tindall appeared to match their wives, both wearing ties to match.

Queen Elizabeth's trusted aide and friend Angela Kelly wrote about how the royal family approaches colors in her book, The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe. Kelly said that when the late monarch needed an evening dress, she would lay out sketches for the Queen to pick from.

Together at Christmas Carol service
Prince William, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Kate Middleton. Getty

"Once Her Majesty has chosen her dress for dinner, a handwritten notice is pinned up in the Dressers' Corridor detailing what she will be wearing, so that The Queen's ladies' maids can select an appropriate dress for the lady they are looking after," she wrote. "When it comes to the Royal Family, it doesn't matter if they wear the same colour as The Queen because they are family, and sometimes the ladies will wear cocktail dresses even though The Queen might be wearing a long one."

She continued, "Other guests, though, feel they shouldn't be in the same colour as Her Majesty, although The Queen would not mind if this did happen."

Queen Elizabeth also thought about the shade of her outfits, often wearing bright colors for royal engagements to stand out.

In the documentary The Queen at 90, the Queen's daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex said: "She needs to stand out for people to be able to say 'I saw the Queen.' Don't forget that when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, 10, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the Queen's hat as she went past."

Together at Christmas Carol service

Kate's Christmas concert wasn't the first time the royals have color-coordinated their ensembles. At June's Trooping the Colour, the annual celebration of the monarch's birthday, the royal women mainly stuck to blue hues. St. Patrick's blue is a nod to the original symbolic color of Ireland which can also be representative of sovereignty.

Queen Elizabeth wore a light blue ensemble embellished with pearl and diamante trim by Kelly with one of her signature wide-brimmed hats that perfectly coordinated with her dress.

Following the Queen's blue attire, Camilla styled a blue striped dress by Bruce Oldfield with a hat by Philip Treacy, while Kate opted for a white dress and a white and blue Philip Treacy hat, while her three children coordinated in blue.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Trooping the Colour 2022. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

At Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2018 wedding, green was the color of the day. Not only were their official portraits taken in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, but it was the shade sported by Queen Elizabeth, mother of the bride Doria Ragland and Pippa.

It's not surprising to see the royals coordinate for family portraits either, like Kate and Prince William's most recent Christmas card photo or the snaps taken to celebrate King Charles' 70th birthday in 2018 — both of which when with white and blue themes.

In the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's new Netflix show Harry & Meghan, she shared the thought that went into choosing her outfit colors as a member of the royal family.

"Most of the time that I was in the U.K., I rarely wore color. There was thought in that," she said. "To my understanding, you could never wear the same color as Her Majesty [Queen Elizabeth] if there's a group event, but then you also shouldn't be wearing the same color as one of the other more senior members of the family."

"So I was like, 'Well, what's a color that they'll probably never wear?' Camel, beige, white," she continued, as photos flashed of her in a tan wrap coat during her first Sandringham Christmas. "So I wore a lot of muted tones, but it was also so I could just blend in. I'm not trying to stand out here. There was no version of me joining this family and me not doing everything I could to fit in. I don't want to embarrass the family."

meghan markle, prince harry, kate middleton
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton at Trooping the Colour 2019. Samir Hussein/WireImage

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

But during the couple's last week of royal engagements in 2020, Meghan said in the docuseries that she wanted to "look like a rainbow," sporting bold colors like green, red and blue.

"It was our opportunity to go out with a bang, to be honest," Harry said.

Related Articles