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"I have nothing to wear!" was a familiar Queen Mother refrain, but her protestation was something of an exaggeration considering the rows and rows of clothes which filled her wardrobes. "I'll never know why she wants all those clothes as they are all the same," today's monarch once complained, adding with a shrug: "But you can't change her."

It's true. The Queen Mother always loved clothes. She knew they were a vital part of royal display and her philosophy was simple: if you're going to play the part, you have to dress the part. The Queen Mother adored fine materials. She couldn't resist them - and hang the cost. "What have you brought me now, you temptress," she would joke with vendeuse Evelyn Elliott when she arrived with some beautiful fabric or other.
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