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Royals rocking tartan: Princess Kate, Meghan Markle, Duchess Sophie and more looking perfect in plaid

Queen Camilla and even a young Prince William have shown how to look terrific in tartan

diana, meghan and kate in tartan
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
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Love it or loathe it, nothing makes a statement quite like a tartan outfit, especially a royal in tartan. A layered check print in an array of busy and often clashing colours can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to turning up loud and proud to a public engagement.

From full-on kilts to a subtle tartan accessory, the royals have taken tartan in their strides over the years. In fact, the modern wearing of the fabric dates back to King George IV's 1822 visit to Scotland.

 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a party for families of military personnel deployed in Cyprus at Kensington Palace on December 04, 2018 in London,© Getty
The royals love a tartan look

Wearing tartan became historically significant in line with the Ghillies ball, an annual tradition which was started by Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert after they purchased the Balmoral estate in Scotland.

King Charles in a tartan kilt stood with Queen Camilla© Getty
Royal tartan dates back decades

The late Queen Victoria wore the signature Balmoral tartan sash to the annual occasion. But there is also the Royal Stuart tartan in the royal repertoire which dates back to 1800.

Take a look at our modern-day royals in their fabulous tartan looks. Have fun trying to pick a favourite…

Kate in red coat with tartan scarf© Getty

Princess Kate in red

In 2020, the then-Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing a classic longline red coat with a splash of tartan in the form of a cosy scarf and A-line skirt during a visit to Cardiff Castle. The knee-high boots tied the look together seamlessly.

Kate in blue tartan coat© Getty

Princess Kate in blue

One year later Princess Kate upped her tartan-wearing game once again to host a drive-in cinema screening of Disney's Cruella for Scottish NHS workers at The Palace of Holyroodhouse in May 2021. The royal looked so stylish in a structured wool trench coat in a blue tartan fabric that was worn done up to show off the belted waistline and statement gold buttons.

meghan in blue and green tartan coat© Getty

Meghan Markle in green

The Duchess of Sussex also knows how to rock a tartan coat. Meghan visited Edinburgh Castle in 2018 where she rocked a navy and deep green tartan number with a coordinating forest green crossbody bag.

meghan in tartan trench with harry© Getty

Meghan Markle in brown

Who could forget Meghan's uber-stylish tartan brown trench coat from that same year? The Duchess visited the National War Memorial in Wellington, New Zealand wearing a cool-toned number that was done up and styled with classic black suede heels.

Sophie in leather jacket with tartan scarf© Shutterstock

Duchess Sophie

The then-Countess of Wessex showed that tartan can be an addition to a simple outfit. Sophie visited the England Hockey HQ in Bisham Abbey in 2017 where she took her leather jacket look to the next level with a red, blue, yellow, and white tartan scarf.

Princess Charlotte  © Getty

Princess Charlotte

Prince William and Princess Kate's daughter Princess Charlotte was seen arriving at Christmas lunch for members of the Royal Family hosted by the late Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in 2019 wearing the most adorable classic red tartan coat to match her stylish mother.

charles in kilt with camilla in tartan © Getty

King Charles

King Charles showed us how it's done when he was spotted alongside his wife the then-Duchess of Cornwall in 2006 at the Braemar Highland Gathering at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park where he donned a turquoise, yellow, and bright orange tartan kilt.

Camilla in purple tartan coat with pony© Getty

Queen Camilla

The Queen met Pedro a Shetland Pony during a visit to the Ebony Horse Club riding centre in 2017 where her tartan shouted the loudest. The royal was seen in a red, black, and cobalt tartan coat dress with more-is-more blue velvet lapels.

young prince william under tartan umbrella© Getty

Prince William

Prince William took shelter under a bold tartan umbrella whilst wearing a Barbour coat with a tartan lining at just five years old as he watched his father play polo at Cirencester Park Polo Club in 1987. A fashion icon before his time.

Sarah Ferguson in red tartan coat dress© Getty

Sarah Ferguson

The Duchess of York attended a Christmas concert at St George's Church London in aid of the baby charity Tommy's in a maximalist tartan coat dress featuring a festive colour palette and a mandarin collar.

Beatrice in black and white check coat with edoardo© Getty

Princess Beatrice

Princess Beatrice was spotted alongside her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in 2022 in London opting for a much more pared-back look. Her tartan coat featured white, grey and black checks for a quieter feel.

eugenie in brown tartan coat with jack© Getty

Princess Eugenie

Princess Eugenie got the memo at the Christmas 2022 service as she was spotted arriving with her husband Jack Brooksbank also wearing a tartan coat done up but in warm brown shades.

Princess diana in red tartan coat© Alamy

Princess Diana

The late Princess of Wales was seen in Prestwick in November 1989 looking stunning in a longline black and red tartan coat which was styled with a white roll neck blouse and a red leather clutch to tie all the colours together.

zara in black coat with tartan flat cap© Getty

Zara Tindall

Zara Tindall looked unrecognisable at the Ladies Day on day two of the Cheltenham Horseracing Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse in 2011. The royal epitomised the trends of the era in beaded chandelier earrings, a red patent Mulberry bag, and the finishing touch - a flower-adorned tartan flat cap.

anne in tartan green dress with timothy© Getty

Princess Anne

Princess Anne and her husband Timothy Laurence were seen at the Royal Caledonian Ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London where the Princess Royal rocked tartan to its full advantage in a green organza ball gown with tartan over the bodice.

maxima in checked top and trousers © Getty

Queen Maxima

The Queen of The Netherlands attended the launch of the debt lab NL in 2018 where she rocked tartan on tartan and we can't get enough. Maxima wore a puffed sleeve belted blouse in cool-toned browns with wide-leg trousers in contrasting warm-toned browns.

letizia in red tartan tweed jacket© Getty

Queen Letizia

The Queen of Spain visited the central Madrid headquarters of the Association for the Prevention, Reintegration, and Care of Prostituted Women this January where she looked so chic in a red tartan tweed cropped jacket with silver buttons that was styled with a pair of divine culottes.

DISCOVER: 8 times Princess Anne was a royal Rapunzel with rarely-seen natural long hair 


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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