It's the very image of female power. No wonder royals love Chanel…

From Monaco to Manhattan, it’s become the very image of female power. No wonder royals love Chanel…(Although Diana later refused to wear the brand for a VERY personal reason)

  • A look back at the relationship between royalty and the French fashion house
  • READ MORE: For all the latest Royal news, pictures and videos click here

Understated and always elegant, a Chanel outfit has long been something of a uniform for the world’s most influential women.

As First Lady, Jackie Kennedy was noted for wearing Chanel.

And royals are no exception. One member of the Monégasque royals has even been an ambassador for the label, appearing on the catwalk.

The British Royal Family has had a slightly more complicated relationship with Chanel: Princess Diana would later refusing to wear the brand because it reminded her of Charles and Camilla.

Here, we look back at the extraordinary relationship between one French fashion house  and the very image of female power through the years.

Princess Grace of Monaco, one of the most stylish women of her era, in a tweed Chanel coat dress  to meet Prince Philip with husband, Prince Rainier, in 1966

Princess Grace’s daughter, Princess Caroline, became a close friend of Chanel’s late creative director, Karl Lagerfeld (pictured together in 1989)

Monégasque royals

The link between Monaco’s Royal Family and Chanel is based not only on fashion, but friendship.

Glamorous film-star-turned-royal Grace Kelly was often spotted wearing the brand, donning a tweed coat dress to meet Prince Philip with her husband, Prince Rainier, in 1966.

Her daughter, Princess Caroline, became a close friend of Chanel’s late creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, after they met in Paris in the 1970s.

Speaking to the French-speaking magazine Point de Vue after Lagerfeld’s death in 2019, the royal spoke of their 45 years of friendship.

She revealed how they met at a photoshoot for American Vogue which took place at Lagerfeld’s Saint-Sulpice apartment in Paris.

‘We ended up there with Chris von Wangenheim, wonderful fashion photographer. I wore Chloé clothes that Karl drew. It was a really happy atmosphere, I was very shy at that age,’ she recalled.

Caroline paired her Chanel couture dress with Chanel trainers for the Rose Ball in 2014 in aid of the Princess Grace Foundation

Charlotte Casiraghi and Gad Elmaleh attending the ‘Bal De La Rose Du Rocher’ in 2013

Charlotte Casiraghi attended the qualifications of the 80th Grand Prix of Monaco on Saturday wearing a bright Chanel t-shirt, paired with a classic black bag

Lagerfeld went on to dress her on a number of occasions, including both royal engagements and more casual outings and she became a regular front row attendee at his shows throughout the years.

In the same interview, Caroline talked of how she became Lagerfeld’s number one fan, and how the designer became involved with the Rose Ball, an annual event which is held in Monaco by the princely family to mark the onset of Spring.

She described the designer’s death as a ‘family mourning’, which hit her children, Charlotte Casiraghi, Andrea Casiraghi, Pierre Casiraghi and Princess Alexandra of Hanover particularly hard, because they knew Lagerfeld ‘from birth.’

‘He was home the day before I gave birth to Andrea, he took a picture of me on the stairs. He was there when they were born,’ she said.

The pair formed such a close friendship that Caroline was named as one of the people set to receive an inheritance from the designer, according to a report by French magazine, Le Point.

The magazine has said that Caroline of Hanover is in line to inherit Lagerfeld’s furniture from his Parisian apartment, alongside three other friends of the designer.

Princess Caroline’s daughter, Charlotte Casighari, looked stylish in a Chanel suit with a matching bag for National Day celebrations at Monaco Cathedral in 2005

Charlotte Casiraghi surprised audiences as she rode a horse on the runway in black tweed during the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer show as part of Paris Fashion Week in 2022

Charlotte Casiraghi attending the Chanel Cruise 2023 Collection in May 2022 in Monte-Carlo

Caroline’s daughter, Charlotte Casiraghi, has joined the family ties to Chanel, and was appointed as an ambassador for the brand in 2020.

Last year, Charlotte wowed attendees at Paris Fashion Week when she rode a horse down the Chanel catwalk.

An accomplished rider, she opened the show while resplendent in Chanel black tweed.

Other members of the Monégasque royal family have favoured Chanel through the years, including Pauline Ducruet, the niece of Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Another of Grace Kelly’s granddaughters, Pauline dressed head-to-toe in the brand for the launch of The Coco Club at The Wing Soho in New York back in 2017.

Pauline Ducruet stunned in an all-Chanel ensemble for the launch of The Coco Club in 2017

Dressed in Chanel, Princess Charlene of Monaco attended a ceremony after her civil wedding with Prince Albert II of Monaco on July 1, 2011

Princess Charlene of Monaco, too,  worked closely with Karl Lagerfeld before his death, having collaborated to design her stunning blue outfit for the civil part of her royal wedding to Prince Albert in 2011. 

According to Hello, she said: ‘It’s a collaboration between me and Karl Lagerfeld. We wanted something to match the colour of my eyes. It’s my creation and I’m proud of it.’

British royals

From Ascot to the airport, Chanel accessories have been a staple of the British royal wardrobe.

Princess Diana opted for sleek Chanel outfits, wearing her first suit in 1988 for a trip to France.

She was later spotted at Great Ormond Street in a mint green look and paired a blue boucle suit with a matching hat at St George’s Chapel at Windsor.

Karl Lagerfeld is said to have taken inspiration from the style of Princess Diana and he named the Chanel Diana bag in her honour, produced from 1989 to approximately 1995.

Princess Diana wore her first Chanel suit, a classic red number, in 1988 for a trip to France

Following her split from Prince Charles, it took Diana years before she could bring herself to wear Chanel again

Princess Diana soon became a fan of Chanel and was later spotted at Great Ormond Street in a mint green look

Diana wore a cobalt-blue Chanel jacket for an engagement at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1992

The design resembles that of  the Chanel Single Flap and the Diana bag was resurrected in the Spring 2015 collection as the Vintage Chic Flap bag.

Diana later turned away from items showing the recognisable Chanel logo, featuring two interlocking Cs, because it reminded her of the names of her former husband, Charles, and his future wife, Camilla.

Australian designer Jayson Brundson recalled a time he picked out Chanel shoes for Diana while he was preparing her for a photo op in 1996.

He told Harper’s Bazaar that she selected a cream-colored Versace skirt, adding: ‘I went through them all and I found a pair of Chanel shoes. And I said, ‘Well these would look great with the Versace’ and she said, ‘No, I can’t wear linked Cs, the double C.’ So I asked why, and she said, ‘It’s Camilla and Charles.’

Fashion observers previously noted that Chanel was rarely worn by modern royals, with Kate Middleton not being seen in the brand for years after her appearance in the label during a trip to Paris in 2017.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a belted Chanel dress during a trip to Paris in 2017

The Princess of Wales was spotted in a stunning vintage Chanel blazer while visiting the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in October 2022

Insiders had long suspected the royal snub was linked to Lagerfeld’s acid-tongued remarks about the Middletons.

After the 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, he famously said that Kate has a ‘nice silhouette’, but that her sister Pippa ‘struggles’. 

Speaking to a German magazine, he said: ‘Kate Middleton has a nice silhouette and she is the right girl for [William]. I like that kind of woman, I like romantic beauties.

‘On the other hand, her sister struggles,’ the designer added. ‘I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back.’

But the Princess of Wales was spotted in a stunning vintage Chanel blazer while visiting the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in October 2022.

She appeared again in the vibrant Chanel 1995 garment, which featured CC-logo embossed buttons, two months later for a basketball game in Boston.

Lady Amelia Windsor stepped out in a gorgeous tweed dress from the Chanel spring/summer ’18 collection for the 2018 Serpentine Summer party

Queen Camilla attending the Royal Maundy Service at York Minster in April with a Chanel navy blue bag in hand

Princess Beatrice carried a classic Chanel handbag to the Royal Ascot in 2013, teaming it with her classic striped coat and statement hat

Meghan Markle was spotted a sleek all-black look with a $6,400 Chanel bag in hand as she was photographed leaving an International Women’s Day event in West Hollywood in March

Another young royal to don the French fashion brand is Lady Amelia Windsor, who wore a gorgeous tweed dress from the Chanel spring/summer ’18 collection.

Chanel are renowned for their use of tweed, which their iconic two-piece suits are traditionally made out of, and Lady Amelia certainly knows how to waves in the fashion industry thanks to her great dress sense.

Despite the fashion house’s complicated past with the Royals, it would seem that a Chanel handbag is a staple, with Queen Camilla, the Duchess of Sussex and Princess Beatrice among those who have carried the enviable accessory at public engagements. 

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