Mourning outfits that spoke volumes about their wearers

Mourning outfits that spoke volumes about their wearers: Cherie Blair showed off her CBE, Liz Truss went jacketless, and Carrie Johnson wore a rented frock… how guests at Queen’s funeral dressed for the occasion

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Of the 15 Prime Ministers the Queen saw during her 70-year reign, all seven who are still alive were gathered together at Westminster Abbey yesterday.

And, while funerals don’t lend themselves to a great versatility of dress, the outfits chosen by them and their spouses still spoke volumes.

Boris Johnson eschewed the respectful morning dress of such a serious occasion in favour of a suit, but his dress-down approach was not echoed by his wife. 

Carrie chose an unconventionally low-necked Karen Millen tuxedo dress accessorised with a big buckled belt and a large handbag from British designer Grace Han worth £2,050.

Boris Johnson eschewed the respectful morning dress of such a serious occasion in favour of a suit, but his dress-down approach was not echoed by his wife

Reflecting her laudable commitment to sustainable clothing, the £255 dress was hired from rental agency My Wardrobe HQ for just £7 a day. 

At 34, she was able to youthfully leave her long hair loose and prettily dressed with a wide, veiled band rather than a hat.

In contrast, Samantha Cameron, accompanied by her husband — who was in tails — chose the less flamboyant £390 Zahra silk maxi dress from her brand Cefinn, and put her hair up below a veiled pillbox.

In contrast, Samantha Cameron, accompanied by her husband — who was in tails — chose the less flamboyant £390 Zahra silk maxi dress from her brand Cefinn, and put her hair up below a veiled pillbox

With its pin-tucked bodice and tie neck, the dress was both delicate and sober, and made an excellent foil for her waterfall diamond earrings. 

For me her simple attire was the most successful — indicative of a woman who, since leaving No 10, has become accustomed to mixing fashion with appropriate public dressing.

Our current Prime Minister Liz Truss, only two weeks into the role, was less self-assured. 

Liz Truss’s unremarkable tie-waist Valentina dress, £228 from Reiss, gained points for its lack of extravagance, but it also lacked the substance of a tailored coat or jacket, like those worn by several members of the Royal Family

Her unremarkable tie-waist Valentina dress, £228 from Reiss, gained points for its lack of extravagance, but it also lacked the substance of a tailored coat or jacket, like those worn by several members of the Royal Family. 

That might have been more fitting for the central role she had in the day’s proceedings.

No understatement, however, from the Blairs, both decked out in medals — Cherie with her swirling prom-style skirt and a heavy rope of pearls that threatened to overwhelm the large ribbon of her CBE.

Their delight in pomp was such a contrast to their successors at No 10, Gordon and Sarah Brown. 

Sarah was the only woman in the group to choose a shorter, more everyday, skirt length.

As always, the language of clothes spoke as loudly as words.

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