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Learn to dress like a royal through free online course from the University of Glasgow

Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge, Duke of Sussex, Duchess of Sussex
By Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -, CC BY 2.0, Wiki Commons

While the ‘Kate effect’ and ‘Meghan effect’ has fashionistas racing to their laptops every time the duchesses step out in a new ensemble, royal fashion lovers rejoice, as there is a new way to indulge in your passion.

The University of Glasgow has collaborated with Historic Royal Palaces to develop a five-week online course and best of all it is free!

The course, A History of Royal Fashion is available now, through the FutureLearn website.

Each week the course will upload four hours of content focusing on a specific royal dynasty and how they used fashion and clothing to control, entertain and impress.

Sally Tuckett, a lecturer in dress and textile histories at the University of Glasgow, explained to Insider , “Historic royal fashion could be practical and functional, it can also be decorative, and frivolous, and anything in between. And by studying their clothes, we can learn a lot about the monarchs of the past and about their subjects.”

‘This free online course is going to take you behind the scenes of the royal wardrobes of the kings and queens of Britain’ she said.

The course commences with the Tudors and works it through the reigns of the Stuarts, Georgians and Victorians before looking at the modern-day wardrobes of the Windsor’s, including Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge.

But royal fashion is about much more then what each monarch wore. “There’s so much more to fashion than clothing,” Sally explained.

“For instance, Henry VIIII’s wife, Catherine of Aragon, made his shirts even when Anne Boleyn was on the scene. It shows how politics weighed heavily on fashion, and how it was part of the rivalry.”

The course content is delivered through a variety of methods including video, articles and images from the Historic Royal Palace archives.

Amongst these images is a sketch from designer David Sassoon, of a red evening gown, he designed for Princess Diana in 1982.

The “Yes please!” scribbled in the left corner, shows the Princesses approval of the design.

While the course has been designed for people, mostly wanting to learn how to accurately make the historical clothing, studying the past, gives us important insight into the fashion choices of modern royals.

 ‘During Queen Victoria’s reign, she was big on British products to show her support got British manufacturers,’ Sally Explained. ‘You can see that with the modern royals.’

So what is the biggest change to royal fashion over the years? Sally believes it is the publics access to royal fashion choices. “When Henry VIII was king, he had only a small circle who knew what he was doing. Now, however, when the royals step outside for an engagement, within thirty seconds a photo of them, what they’re wearing, and where you can get the outfit from is online.”

About author

Kylie is a writer for Australia's most trusted celebrity and entertainment magazine, Who weekly. Her words have also appeared in Woman's day, Girlfriend, OK and that's life! and online at Daily Mail Australia. Kylie has a strong interest in royal fashion and her wardrobe contains over 100 of the same dresses, shoes and clutches as seen on the Duchess of Cambridge. When not writing, you'll find her searching for Sydney's best brunch spot. Follow her on Instagram @theladywallace