I'm not a royalist or like the Royal family all that much, but I have to have respect for Queen Liz. I mean, throughout all these years with people slagging off her family (i.e. Fergie, Diana...) not once have we heard a peep from her. Most people retaliate with comments or somethings, but she has always kept her lips shut (at least in public )
Much has been made in recent weeks of Victoria Beckham's supposed 23in waist.
The Queen at Princess Margaret's wedding in 1960But an unusually extensive exhibition of the Queen's wardrobe, opening at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, reveals that supermodel slimness is not just a phenomena of our celebrity-obsessed modern culture. Nor is it particularly new.
Several of the dresses, worn when the Queen was in her 20s, reveal her to have had a slim, indeed model figure, with what might be described as a "handspan" waist.
One dress in particular, in black velvet and duchesse satin, designed by Norman Hartnell in the late 1940s, is model-perfect in its silhouette and impact and would not look out of place on an haute couture catwalk today.
It is shown on a mannequin exactly crafted to the Queen's measurements at the time, as are all the gowns on display.
The exhibition, Dress for the Occasion, celebrates the Queen's 80th birthday and features 80 evening gowns, one for each year of her life.
Some of her personal jewellery is also on display, including, the Vladimir Tiara. There is also a gold and jewelled bracelet, incorporating the initials E and P, a naval badge and two roses which was designed by Prince Philip, and made by Boucheron in 1952, as the duke's gift to mark their fifth wedding anniversary.
The exhibition marks the official summer opening of Buckingham Palace and is the largest and most impressive view inside the Queen's public and private wardrobe ever staged.
The dresses are arranged in colour groups: pinks shading up to fuchsia; lemon through to intense saffron; pale aquamarine to jade and emerald; blues from delphinium to cobalt, and a fairytale array of white, cream and gold.
The dazzling encrustations of jewels, stones, sequins and beads, embedded in virtuoso embroidery on satin, silk, taffeta and chiffon, reveal Her Majesty as the original "Queen of bling".
The exhibition, curated by Caroline de Guitaut, is a stroll through fashion history.
It begins with the conventional, small-bodiced "crinoline" gowns of the 1940s and 1950s, moving on to the straight-line silhouettes of the 1960s and 1970s, often in geometric, coloured stripes or beading, then to the more traditional, but no less elaborately beaded gowns the Queen wears on state occasions today. The exhibition continues until Sept 24.