‘Royal style protocols’ when travelling – became ‘custom’ after King George VI’s death

Queen 'always packs a black outfit for mourning' says expert

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The Platinum Jubilee was a big celebration as the Queen was commemorating her 70 years on the throne. However, February 6 is also a poignant anniversary as it is the day Elizabeth’s father King George VI died in 1952. At the time, then-Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were in Kenya on a royal tour.

Upon hearing the news, the royal couple had to fly back to the United Kingdom as Elizabeth was now the Queen.

However, she had not packed a black outfit before departing on her royal tour.

This caused a royal protocol to come into effect after this occasion when the Royal Family are travelling.

Dr Kate Strasdin from the Fashion & Textiles Institute in Falmouth University exclusively told Express.co.uk: “There are some really interesting royal style protocols that go back a long way.

“For example, women in the Royal Family are discouraged from wearing black.

“But if they are travelling they always pack one black outfit in case a member of the family dies whilst they are away so that they can immediately appear in mourning.”

Therefore, as the historic day 70 years ago unfolded, a new royal protocol was established about how the family should be prepared for attending a funeral.

Her Majesty was informed of the death of her father during an official royal tour of Kenya in 1952.

Upon hearing the news of the tragic event, Elizabeth and Philip had to cancel the remainder of their trip in order to return to the UK and enter a state of mourning.

Upon Elizabeth’s return to the UK, her team had failed to pack a mourning outfit, which resulted in having to send a member of staff to retrieve a suitable look.

Her Majesty knew that she would be greeted by hundreds of photographers and could not step off the plane without an appropriate outfit.

Once Elizabeth changed her outfit, she was photographed wearing black while leaving the plane and being greeted by numerous officials, one being Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Following her experience of not having had a mourning outfit in her luggage, she made it a cardinal rule that every member of the Royal Family going on a trip should pack a black outfit so that they were always prepared.

Along with it being a strict rule for members of the monarchy, it has also now been made a requirement for reporters and journalists who are accompanying members of the Royal Family to also pack a black outfit for the same reasons.

Body Language Expert Darren Stanton previously said: “It was King George’s custom to always ensure he had a black suit when he went on tour, in case a member of the Royal Family or another important person passed away.

“This level of preparation has been passed down through his daughter, who has adopted this trait along with other senior members of the Royal Family.”

Other protocols include the family stepping out of the public eye and entering a formal 12 days of mourning.

They also have to wear a head-to-toe black outfit out of respect during this time.

Whilst royal ladies are told to wear black dresses which are below the knee, men are required to wear black suits along with a black mourning band on their left arms in the days following a death.

The tradition of wearing black is believed to be made more famous by Queen Victoria who chose to wear black after the passing of her husband Prince Albert in 1981, until her death in 1901.

From that moment, black was known as the formal colour of mourning for not just the Royal Family but also the world.

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