Advertisement

Queen Elizabeth II's hair was an iconic global silhouette - so what was the story behind it?

Images of Queen Elizabeth II, who maintained the same hair style throughout her 70 year reign. (Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II maintained the same hair style throughout her 70 year reign. (Getty Images)

It has been exactly a year since the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The first anniversary marks an opportunity to reflect on some of the characteristics that made the late monarch so unique, including her iconic hair.

Just like her 70 years of service to her country, Elizabeth was equally as loyal to the styling, which remained largely unchanged over the years.

In fact the perfectly coiffed became one of the most recognisable silhouettes in the world, appearing on bank notes, stamps and across various royal memorabilia.

But there's actually an important reason the royal stuck to her statement style and it’s also why she always wore bright colours.

An image of Queen Elizabeth, who is said to have liked her style to be symmetrical. (Getty Images)
The late monarch is said to have liked her style to be symmetrical. (Getty Images)

"She needs to stand out for people to be able to say 'I saw the Queen'," said the late queen's daughter-in-law, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, in the documentary The Queen at 90.

"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.”

Making herself instantly recognisable was also reportedly a factor in the Queen Elizabeth's choice to stick with the same hairstyle.

According to some insiders, the monarch is believed to have insisted on her hair being entirely symmetrical, so that whatever side you saw her from, that iconic profile remained the same.

"I met somebody, who was the Queen's hairdresser, who said that what she likes and insists upon is that her hair is entirely symmetrical," broadcaster Dame Esther Rantzen said, as reported by Daily Mail's Eden Confidential.

"Her hair has to look the same from one profile and then to the other, so that whatever side people are watching her from, her hair always looks exactly the same."

More on the anniversary of the Queen's death

So what exactly was Elizabeth's style? "Queen Elizabeth II was known for a classic shampoo and set, which would have been representative of the time she was crowned," Neil Moodie, founder of the Neil Moodie Studio tells Yahoo UK.

"This then became her signature style throughout the years. She embraced her natural curls, but these were more refined, and displayed symmetry at all times. This meant that whether she was photographed on the left or right, her style remained consistent."

The late Queen's hair style is iconic. (Getty Images)
The late Queen's hair style is iconic. (Getty Images)

However, in June 2022, in pictures shared to The Royal Family Instagram account, the Queen wore a pretty, floral dress to meet the right Honourable Margaret Beazley, Governor of New South Wales.

But it was her hair switch up that captured the attention of royal fans: her locks looked a lot shorter than previously.

Queen Elizabeth seemed to switch up her hair style in June 2022. (Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth seemed to switch up her hair style in June 2022 while meeting Honourable Margaret Beazley. (Getty Images)

Petty says Her Majesty also experimented with the volume of her coiffure. "Most notably during the 1980s, her hair had much more body and height – very in fitting with the more experimental styles of the time," she explains. "Her hair also became much fluffier in her later years, yet remained just as well styled as in her youth."

As for her colour, Petty says the monarch was rumoured to have stopped dying her chocolate locks during the 1990s,"allowing her brown hair to give way to her signature white hue.”

In the 1980s Queen Elizabeth is thought to have experimented with volume. (Getty Images)
In the 1980s Queen Elizabeth is thought to have experimented with volume. (Getty Images)
The late monarch was a fan of a set. (Getty Images)
The late monarch was a fan of a set. (Getty Images)

Of course there was also the time the Queen's most trusted aide had to cut and set her hair during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

In the updated version of her bestselling book The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, Angela Kelly detailed her experiences of taking on the role of cutting and setting the monarch's hair during the pandemic.

In the new chapter excerpted by Hello! magazine, Kelly wrote: "During the first two weeks, I was shaking," she said. "I had only done her hair once or twice before while on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. The Queen was so kind as she advised me on the very specific way to put the rollers in."

But Queen Elizabeth wasn't afraid to voice her opinions.

"As I grew in confidence I'm sure The Queen thought I was a professional and started shouting at me, 'Don't do that, do it this way. That's right, you've got it, don't change it.' I was thinking, goodness me, I need a gin and tonic," Kelly said.

"So while The Queen was under the dryer I said to her, 'I'm off for a stiff drink because this is so stressful, getting it just right for you.'"