Dressed to Rule: Royal and Court Costume from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II by Philip Mansel - review by Hugo Vickers

Hugo Vickers

Suits You, Sir

Dressed to Rule: Royal and Court Costume from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II

By

Yale University Press 237pp £19.95 order from our bookshop
 

This is a book very much after my own heart. When I was ten, my parents took us to ski in St Moritz, and we stayed at the Kulm Hotel. I noticed that there was a hierarchy amongst the waiters. The Head Waiter wore white tie and evening tails at both lunch and dinner, and the most junior waiters always wore black bow ties and a short white jacket. Our waiter was in between. He wore white tie and white jacket at lunch, and black tie and evening tails at dinner.

One evening he came in dressed as the Head Waiter. I protested to my parents, they tried to dissuade me from interfering and talking nonsense, but when I told him he was now dressed as the Head Waiter, his hand shot up to his tie, and he bounded out of

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