A Look Back at Royal Maternity Fashions: Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and Princess Kate
The first British royal to have her maternity style immortalized in a formal portrait, Princess Charlotte of Wales ditched the uncomfortable corsets of her day in favor of an empire-line, puff-sleeve maternity gown in 1817.
THE QUEEN MOTHER
Simple tunic-style flapper dresses were all the rage in 1926, when the Duchess of York – wife of the future King George VI – gave birth to the little girl who would become Queen Elizabeth II. Busy prints and a loose-fitting cut made the simple flapper dress the perfect maternity and postpartum cover-up.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II
It was business as usual for Queen Elizabeth II during her fourth pregnancy (with Prince Edward) in 1964. Keen to maintain her official royal duties and disguise her eight-month baby bump, the Queen looked ladylike in a discreet bracelet-sleeve cocoon-style topcoat.
The Queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, rocked a seriously '70s floral frock, complete with a prim pussy-bow collar, for a public appearance in 1977 while five months pregnant with her first child, Peter Philips. For her second pregnancy (with daughter Zara) four years later, the princess upped the style ante in an elegant a cream cape and eye-catching print blouse with a matching head scarf.
Less than a year after marrying Prince Charles, the 21-year-old princess was still finding her fashion footing, stepping out in a loose-fitting scarlet empire-waist evening gown and a billowing polka-dot smock while pregnant with her firstborn, Prince William, in 1982.
Pregnant with Princess Beatrice in June 1988, the Duchess of York took her maternity style cue from her royal sister-in-law, Princess Diana, when she attended a ballet in a puff-sleeve scarlet gown, which gave the unfortunate impression she was more than seven months pregnant at the time. By 1990, the Duchess, pregnant with Princess Eugenie, added the era's ubiquitous pinstripe power suit to her formal maternity wardrobe.
Throughout both her pregnancies, Princess Kate never skipped a stylish beat. From coat dresses to chic prints, she was always polished and regal.