Signs of spring include warmer weather, love in the air, flowers in bloom – and Queen Elizabeth II getting out her sunglasses! The British monarch has been seen everywhere from Buckingham Palace garden parties to the races wearing her sunnies, with royal watchers commenting how cool Her Majesty looks when she's sporting her shades. When the Queen stepped out for the Epsom races last week, she demonstrated exactly why her sunglasses are not just cool but also practical! Like many grandmothers, the royal knows the value of photochromic lenses – clear eyeglasses that transition to sunglasses when activated by the sun's UV rays.
The Queen arrived at the Epsom Derby Festival on June 2 in a cheery lavender suit and hat adorned with red and white blooms. Along with her signature accessories – low-heeled shoes, gloves and message-sending leather handbag – the monarch also was wearing her trusty eyeglasses.
Going, going... gone! The Queen seems to be a fan of clear eyeglasses that convert into sunglasses when activated by the sun's UV rays Photos: Getty Images
By the time Her Majesty was in the stands, though, the lenses had tinted, giving her the dark shades look for which she's quickly becoming known. In fact, the Queen's accessories have been especially in focus now that the busy royal month of June, which includes Trooping the Colour and Royal Ascot, is well under way. As Buckingham Palace garden party season kicked off in May, Queen Elizabeth was completely prepared for the British weather, wielding an umbrella as well as her signature shades.
Joined by grandson Prince William, Queen Elizabeth was ready for the British weather at a May 31 garden party at Buckingham Palace, keeping both her sunglasses and umbrella handy Photo: Getty Images
Earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth was in the headlines not for her own sunglasses, but for those of Anna Wintour. The iconic Vogue editor kept her trademark sunglasses on when she joined the Queen in the front row at London Fashion Week, breaking royal protocol. Etiquette expert Grant Harrold, who worked in Prince Charles's household, told the Press Association: "Ms Wintour should know that to wear sunglasses when talking to another person, with no medical reason, is unacceptable. She should have removed them before being in the presence of the Queen, let alone in discussion."
Looking cool: Anna Wintour rocked her own trademark sunglasses when she joined the Queen in the front row at London Fashion Week in February Photo: Getty Images
He added: "Eye contact is important while holding a discussion, and not removing sunglasses is the height of bad manners and a serious breach of royal protocol. If the Queen gave her permission to keep them on then that would be acceptable, however this would be unlikely."