Fashion thought exercise: What would you wear to meet the Queen of England? Jeans? Your prom dress? A power suit? Here, find out what 50 famous people decided to wear when they whipped out their best curtsy for her Majesty, from the classic looks to the ever-so-slightly inappropriate ones.
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1952: Kirk Douglas
When meeting Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Command premiere of Because You’re Mine, Kirk Douglas looked the very definition of dashing in a classic white tie tuxedo—he even treated the Queen to a bow. What a class act.
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1955: Ava Gardner
When Queen Elizabeth chatted with screen star Ava Gardner at the premiere of To Catch a Thief, the actress looked impossibly chic in a black evening gown and matching gloves.
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1956: Marilyn Monroe
For her royal moment, Marilyn Monroe opted for a strapless gown with elbow length silk gloves. Still sexy, of course, but tasteful too.
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1957: Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield chose a gown with a high, beaded neckline when she met the Queen at a reception for the Royal Film Performance. The movie star’s bling almost outshined the monarch’s.
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1965: The Beatles
Even though this wasn’t The Beatles’ first time meeting the Queen (they performed for her in 1963 and John Lennon famously told her to “just rattle your jewelry” while they played “Twist and Shout”), this was the most honorable occasion. The Queen awarded them The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1965 and they sported classic black suits for the event, naturally.
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1966: Raquel Welch
Not one to play the wallflower, Raquel Welch reached for an ostrich feather shawl for her meet-and-greet with the Queen at the premiere of Born Free.
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1966: Maggie Smith
Before she was damed by the Queen, Maggie Smith met the monarch at a charity premiere for her film Othello. Maggie wore a sophisticated black evening dress and a jeweled broach for the occasion.
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1966: Catherine Deneuve
French actress Catherine Deneuve greeted Queen Elizabeth with a respectful curtsy, which is all fine and good, but can we talk about her dress? The red beading details. The matching earrings. It’s all so good.
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1975: Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand showed up in your casual hooded gown to meet the Queen at the premiere of Funny Lady in 1975. She’s Barbra Streisand, she can wear whatever she wants.
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1976: Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth met Elizabeth at a charity gala in 1976. The icons are basically twinning, from their dress colors down to their over-the-top jewelry.
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1979: Cybill Shepherd
Actress Cybill Shepherd was pregnant when she met the queen at the premiere of The Lady Vanishes in 1979, but that didn’t hold her back. Her fancy meet-the-Queen look: A sheer beaded and feathered caftan dress.
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1980: Meryl Streep
How does Meryl Streep always manage to get it right? At the premiere of Kramer vs. Kramer, the Academy Award-winning actress donned a full white skirt and crisp white evening jacket to meet the monarch.
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1981: Cliff Richard
Queen Elizabeth looked stunned meeting singer Cliff Richard and after seeing his gilded blazer. It’s bold, sure, but it somehow works.
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1980: Pope John Paul II
This time, it’s Queen Elizabeth who dresses up for her meeting with Pope John Paul II. Nothing to see here, just two heads of the church chatting it up.
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1982: Sally Field
At the premiere of Absence of Malice, Sally Field did what any honorable woman of the ’80s would do. She rocked her biggest puff sleeves for the Queen.
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1997: The Spice Girls
The Spice Girls showed up to their Royal Command Performance dressed to the nines. But the Queen still stole the show. Not that it’s a competition. Girl power!
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1998: Natasha Richardson
Actress Natasha Richardson looked effortlessly chic in a flowy peasant gown. If you look closely, you can see her Parent Trap costar, Dennis Quaid, greeting Prince Philip in the background at the film’s London premiere.
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1999: Vivienne Westwood
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is known for her off-beat personality and famously forgot to wear knickers under her dress when receiving an OBE in 1992. A few years later at a luncheon at Buckingham Palace, she opted for tights. Wise.
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2000: Jim Carrey and Renée Zellweger
Jim Carrey and Renée Zellweger looked polished in a classic tux and navy gown as they made their way to the reception line to meet the Queen at Carrey’s film, The Grinch.
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2001: Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez slayed in the emerald green chiffon gown she wore to meet Queen Elizabeth after performing at the Royal Variety Performance.
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This is what it looks like when the Queen of Pop meets the Queen of England at the premiere of Die Another Day. Also, please note Madonna’s killer arms.
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2002: Halle Berry
Looks like Halle Berry got the elbow length glove note. She pulled out all the stops for her outfit to meet the Queen. Silk, diamonds, embroidery, the works.
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2003: Alexander McQueen
British fashion designer Alexander McQueen chose to honor his heritage and sported a tartan sash and matching hat when he was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth.
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2004: J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter author opted for a light pink monochrome suit and paired it with a pale pink Burberry purse.
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Who wants to bet they’re swapping stories of Andy Warhol and Studio 54? The fashion model paired black pants and a white button-down with a deep purple blazer for the occasion.
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2004: Natascha McElhone
While attending the premiere of The Truman Show, actress Natascha McElhone chatted with Queen Elizabeth while wearing a slinky, pink silk dress.
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2005: Judi Dench
Not only did she play the Queen in Shakespeare in Love, but Dame Judi Dench also kind of copied the Queen’s hairstyle when she met her in real life.
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2005: Shirley Bassey
Queen Elizabeth and singer Shirley Bassey had a major twinning moment while backstage at the Royal Variety Performance. Red is really both of their colors.
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2006: Daniel Craig
We wonder if Queen Elizabeth is as charmed by Daniel Craig in a sharp tuxedo as we are. Judging by the look of their interaction here, we’d say yes.
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2006: Thandie Newton
British actress Thandie Newton kept things elegant and simple in a little black dress with sheer paneling when meeting Queen Elizabeth at a palace reception. She also seems to have the whole curtsy thing down pat.
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