At 48, these are Queen Letizia’s 7 secrets for mastering modern royal style

Queen Letizia of Spain favours high street hits and polished accessories

Queen Letizia of Spain
Queen Letizia of Spain Credit: Getty Images

Queen Letizia of Spain is an original modern royal style star. Since marrying King Felipe (then Crown Prince) in 2004, she’s slowly amped up her clothing choices, realising the powerful possibilities which a clever fashion strategy can deliver in the age of social media and 24/7 news. With a wardrobe spanning Zara to Hugo Boss, Letizia has become a fashion muse to many. As she celebrates her 48th birthday today, these are her rules of regal style in the 21st century...

Be just daring enough

A favourite of Queen Letizia: off shoulder tweed to leather leggings Credit: Getty Images

If the stereotypes of royal dressing dictate that outfits should be politely people-pleasing, then Letizia has made it her mission to chip away at what’s seen as ‘queenly’. Sometimes it’s a subtle shift of silhouette - like an off shoulder tweed Zara dress - or it can be an unexpected piece, such as leather leggings or a leather dress. These are choices which bring edge and interest to the queen’s polished personal style but which can still be worn with all the elegance you’d expect from a royal. 

Mix up your moods

Queen Letizia in delicate florals Credit: Getty Images

Queen Letizia always looks pulled-together, but her style is versatile. This summer, she’s embraced a feminine, bohemian look opting for sundresses adorned with ruffles or in delicate floral prints. But if one day Letizia’s look epitomises pretty femininity, then it can effortlessly switch up to sharp tailoring the next. It’s a strategy which reflects how dressing the part as a royal requires a uniform-type approach which can be adapted depending on the mood of the moment. 

Take the temperature

Sustainability is the message, Queen Letizia re-wearing pieces from Massimo Dutti and Sandro Credit: Getty Images

Attitudes to the monarchy have been at a low in Spain this summer after the former King, Juan Carlos, fled to the United Arab Emirates amid controversy over his business dealings with Saudi Arabia. The country also suffered one of the worst Covid death tolls in Europe. So when King Felipe and Queen Letizia embarked on a tour of the country to encourage tourism and boost morale, the queen’s wardrobe was carefully chosen to be understated and affordable. She re-wore previously seen high street buys from the likes of Massimo Dutti and Sandro - often these came in bright, cheering colours but they weren’t accompanied by the potential for a buying frenzy. 

Hair is everything

Queen Letizia's signature glossy brunette hair Credit: Getty Images

The great philosopher Fleabag’s observation applies as much to royalty as it does to highly-strung sisters. One of Letizia’s defining features is her glossy, brunette hair - a feature which has only strengthened the comparisons between her and the Duchess of Cambridge. But Letizia hair styling choices are as telling as her clothing. This summer, she’s preferred a practical high ponytail with occasional evidence in some lights of greys around the front but we’ve also seen her sport elaborate updos, bouncy blow dries and businesslike long, straight looks, proof that her attention to detail extends head-to-toe.

Land on your staples

Loafers to espadrille wedges, the royal stamp of approval from Queen Letizia of Spain Credit: Getty Images

Queen Letizia’s look may be versatile but there are some mainstays of her style which can always be depended upon to bring a look together and make it distinctly ‘her’. In terms of shoes, in summer she favours espadrille wedges (excellent for adding height in a casual way) while for other engagements, almond-toe heels (a shape which strike the balance between modern and classically chic) are regulars. On the rare occasion that she opts for flats, Hugo Boss loafers are a go-to. 

Other items which are distinctly Letizia? Anything sleeveless (her toned arms are the envy of many), tailored culottes and shirtdresses. 

The power of outerwear 

A tonal look as demonstrated by Queen Letizia of Spain Credit: Getty Images

There is an onion-like thought process required for royal dressing; every layer must be impactful on its own but work together, too. Letizia has paid special attention to her coat collection, experimenting with capes and clever cuts so that she never ‘just’ looks like she’s keeping toasty until she can reveal the full look. Tonal trenches, capes, braid-detailed blazers and soft pastels are just a few of the cover-up options in her repertoire. 

Deploy subtle styling tricks 

Suited with an over the shoulder coat Credit: Getty Images

Letizia’s background as a newsreader once meant that she stuck to simple, streamlined silhouettes, but her tastes have evolved over the years, perhaps thanks to her stylist, Eva Fernandez, a former fashion editor at the Spanish edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. Now we see the queen deploying some of the clever styling tricks loved by the street style fashion set for the added sense of sophistication they lend a look.

Take the way that she ‘shoulder robed’ an old Felipe Varela camel coat over a Hugo Boss trouser suit earlier this year. Had the coat been worn through the arms and wrapped at the waist, it would have looked professional if unstudied. But by draping it over her shoulders, these older pieces immediately looked fresh, sharp and fashion-forward.

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