University offers free course on how to dress like a royal

University offers free ‘royal fashion’ course which explores the wardrobes of British dynasties and teaches you how to dress like Princess Diana, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle

  • Five-week online course takes you into the wardrobes of British royal family
  • Offered by University of Glasgow in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces
  • A History of Royal Fashion looks at Tudor, Stuarts, Victorian and Windsor eras
  • Offers insight into glam outfits worn by Princess Diana and our current Queen 
  • Meghan Markle unveiled plans to launch clothing line in collaboration with M&S

Us Brits have long been fascinated by the wardrobes of the Royal Family, and now die-hard fans can learn how to dress like a princess or queen thanks to a new university course.

The University of Glasgow has developed a five-week online progam in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces – and the best thing is, it’s completely free to enrol.

The course, entitled A History of Royal Fashion, is available on the website FutureLearn and provides four hours of content every week.

It guides students through the fashion of the ages, from the Tudors and the Stuarts up to the Victorian and Windsor eras.

Die-hard fans can learn how to dress like the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex thanks to a new university course

According to dress and textile histories lecturer Sally Tuckett, you’ll learn all about the extravagant outfits and signature gowns worn by the likes of Queen Victoria, Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II.

‘Historic royal fashion could be practical and functional,’ Sally explains.

‘It can also be decorative, and frivolous, and anything in between. And by studying their clothes, we can learn a lot about the monarchs of the past and about their subjects.  

‘This free online course is going to take you behind the scenes of the royal wardrobes of the kings and queens of Britain.’ 

Each week of the course focuses on a particular royal dynasty, observing the fashion successes, eccentricities and failures and exploring how royals use fashion and clothing to control, entertain and impress.

Princess Diana was a fan of designer Catherine Walker, pictured wearing her ivory and pink sill crepe one-sleeved evening gown to a film premiere at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square

‘There’s so much more to fashion than clothing,’ Sally told Insider.

‘For instance, Henry VIIII’s wife, Catherine of Aragon, made his shirts even when Anne Boleyn was on the scene. It shows how politics weighed heavily on fashion, and how it was part of the rivalry.’

The lecturers on the course teach using a variety of mediums, including video, articles and images from royal engagements and state visits, handpicked from the Historic Royal Palaces archive.

David Sassoon produced this sketch of a red evening gown for Princess Diana in 1982, while received her royal seal of approval as she scribbled ‘yes please’ on the drawing (top left)

The Duchess of Cambridge is also a fan of Catherine Walker, often stepping out in her coat and dress designs (pictured with the Queen in one of her trademark block colour suits)

Some include sketches of gowns drawn up by designers for royal approval, including one by David Sassoon who produced a red evening gown for Princess Diana in 1982.

Sally said the course appeals mostly to people who want to learn how to make the clothes accurately, but it also sheds light on the new generation of royal women like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, and how they ‘often choose designers close to their hearts’.    

‘During Queen Victoria’s reign, she was big on British products to show her support got British manufacturers,’ she said. ‘You can see that with the modern royals.’

Meghan is also known to honour designers from the country she’s visiting on royal engagements – pictured sporting a Strathberry handbag while in Edinburgh

Yesterday is was revealed the Duchess of Sussex is to bring out a women’s clothing line in aid of the Smart Works charity, one of her first patronages.

Meghan made the announcement in the September issue of British Vogue, which she has guest-edited.

What topics does the course cover? 

Week 1: Step into the square shoes of the Tudors and see how their lavish clothes were designed to project power, wealth and control.

Week 2: The Stuarts are centre stage to showcase how they dressed for leisure and influenced new trends through performance in an increasing time of conflict.

Week 3: Explore the glamorous Georgians, their century of economic and social change, extreme fashions and an era marked by very public and very private monarchs.

Week 4: Move into the reign of Queen Victoria, her own changing wardrobe and how technological advancements took fashion forwards.

Week 5: Welcome to the 20th century where the Windsors balance royal fashion with diplomacy and expectations in an era of mass media and celebrity.

The duchess has persuaded major British retailers Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Jigsaw – along with her designer friend, Mischa Nonoo – to create a ‘capsule’ collection of women’s workwear to benefit the charity, which helps women back into the workplace. 

Meghan is also known to honour designers from the country she’s visiting on royal engagements – sporting a Strathberry handbag while in Edinburgh, jeans by Outland Denim in Australia and a Maggie Marilyn white tuxedo dress in New Zealand.

Some designers like Catherine Walker have proved popular with several generations of the royal ladies. 

She was a favourite of Princess Diana and is now a reliable go-to for the Duchess of Cambridge.

Naturally royal style has evolved over the years, with the greatest difference now being how much more accessible their wardrobes are to the public.

‘When Henry VIII was king, he had only a small circle who knew what he was doing,’ Sally explained.

‘Now, however, when the royals step outside for an engagement, within thirty seconds a photo of them, what they’re wearing, and where you can get the outfit from is online.’

The course sounds perfect for those wanting to get ahead of the curve when it comes to royal style and bagging a wardrobe fit for a duchess.

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