The Royal Wedding III: Evening Reception & Black Tie

After, discussing the uniforms as well as the morning dress at the Royal wedding, we want to round out our wedding coverage by highlighting some details of the black tie evening outfits.

Royal Wedding - Prince Charles & Prince William in Black Tie

Royal Wedding – Prince Charles & Prince William in Black Tie

For the evening reception, which was hosted by Prince Charles, it seems like the dress code was black tie. Long before the wedding, I assumed that the reception would be a white tie affair, but considering that Prince William does not seem to be very much interested in formal dress, it does not really come as a surprise.

Unfortunately, there are very few pictures available of the evening reception. Interestingly, some Royals did not seem to be all to concerned about proper Black Tie Dress while others cut a splendid figure:

Prince Charles with Cuffed Dinner Jacket

Prince Charles was wearing a dinner jacket that he has worn a number of times before. It is a 6×2 jacket with rather wide, peaked and curved lapels, a high gorge as well as a high buttoning point. Interestingly, he wears it with a cuff on either sleeve that has the same matte silk facing as the lapel. All six front buttons as well as the four cuff buttons on each side are covered with the fabric and the jetted pockets are exactly leveled with the lowest pair of buttons. Since the jacket is double breasted, it is neither worn with a vest nor a cummerbund. In his chest pocket, you can see a satiny, silk pocket square with a pattern in red on a yellow-goldish background.

Surprisingly, his black butterfly bow tie seems to be rather shiny and was probably made of silk satin.

The jacket is accompanied by a white shirt with turndown collar, two white studs and French cuffs with gold cuff links. In one of the pictures you will be able to see the buttonholes on the cuff are not centered, but instead moved all the way forward so that the cufflinks are visible at all times.

The trousers feature the obligatory stripe that is approx. 1 inch in width or even a little wider. On his feet, he is wearing a pair of non-patent, calf leather opera pumps with a flat bow made of repp silk – a very elegant choice indeed.

Altogether, Charles chose a well fitting dinner outfit that looked simply classic to most people but had in fact a number of subtle details that made it rather special.

Prince William Wingtip Shoes faux pas

Prince William Wingtip Shoes faux pas

Prince William in Dinner Jacket & Wingtip Brogue Oxfords

Prince William’s Dinner Jacket was a classic 6×2 double breasted with silk facings on the rather curved lapels. Despite the prominent buttonholes in either side of the lapel, he chose not to wear a boutonniere. His white shirt had a turndown collar and seemed to have two lightly colored studs, while his bow matched the silk facings of his lapels. Interestingly, the jetted pockets were located in between the lower button pair and were not leveled with the buttons. I think this was done because he is so much taller compared to Charles, and the balance of the coat simply changes with height. In his chest pocket he wore a nonchalantly puffed up white square. His coat sleeves were cut rather long so it was usually not possible to see his cuffs. In only one of the pictures can you spot a shiny light reflection from underneath his left cuff, which probably came from the Omega Seamaster wristwatch he supposedly wore that day with his black tie ensemble. Although I find it admirable that he wore a watch that was given to him by his late mother, Lady Diana, a chronograph is definitely not suited for a black tie ensemble. His trousers featured the obligatory silk stripe down the side. Certainly, William’s outfit was not sartorial eye candy, but so far, so good.

However, William committed a faux pas that overshadowed the rest of his attire. Instead of wearing patent leather pumps or plain patent or calf leather oxford shoes, William opted for a non-shiny, black full brogue wingtip oxford shoe for his black tie outfit! This kind of rustic look is absolutely inadequate for evening wear. Sadly, if the future king of England appears not to care for even the most basic rules of evening etiquette, one might assume there will not be much dress culture left 40 years from now.

Other Dinner Outfits

The night before the wedding reception, there was a gala dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London, where we could spot a number of tuxedos as well.

Prince Felipe of Asturias

The Spanish Prince wore a very classic one button dinner jacket with peaked lapels, a black, deep cut waistcoat with three closing buttons, a shawl collar lapel, two shiny studs, black bow tie and patent leather shoes. Overall, a very nice a classic outfit.

Prince Pavlos of Greece

Just like Prince Charles and Prince William, Prince Pavlos wore a 6×2 dinner jacket that had the pockets of Prince Charles’ jacket and the cuffs of Prince William’s coat. Instead of wingtips or pumps, he opted for the classic, plain patent leather shoe and accented an otherwise black and white outfit with one turquoise shirt stud.

Prince Andrew & the Double Breasted Dinner Jacket

Prince Andrew wore 4×1 double breasted dinner jacket, and just like his brother, Charles, he needs neither a waistcoat nor a cummerbund since it is always worn buttoned, even when sitting. Apparently, he wore his jacket unbuttoned and it did not look good at all.

Prince Edward & the Shawl Collar

The Queen’s youngest son decided to wear an elegant double button shawl collar dinner jacket in black with jetted pockets. Note how the shawl collar gets wider in the area of the chest – this cut looks much more elegant in my opinion than a shawl collar with the same width throughout. It was complimented by wide cuffs on the sleeves which had the same silk facings as the lapels. He also wore a turndown collar shirt with 3 studs and a soft, unstarched front. His black bow tie was rather small and in a batwing shape instead of the more common butterfly shape. Instead of a waistcoat, he chose a black cummerbund. His trousers featured a braided stripe along the side and his shoes were plain patent leather oxfords. Two additional accents completed the classic yet very unique outfit:  a signet ring on the pinky finger of his left hand and light blue pocket square with burgundy edges in his chest pocket. Just like Prince Charles, he obviously understands how to create a one-of-a-kind look with a pretty standardized garment without having to resort to flashy colors.


While all gentlemen wore black socks, no one went with a boutonniere! Overall, of the gentlemen presented, Prince Charles and Prince Edward displayed the most refined outfits in my opinion while Prince Felipe and Prince Pavlos where dressed absolutely correctly and classically. Prince William, on the other hand, ruined his wedding reception black tie ensemble with his choice of shoes.

11 replies
  1. La Sombra Sofisticada says:

    Thank you for a very nice series of articles on the royal wedding!
    /La Sombra Sofisticada

  2. Bespoke Lawyer says:

    Great posts! Your observations are definitely food for thought. Because it was his wedding day, I won’t comment on Prince William’s attire. However, I agree that it doesn’t make one sanguine about the future.

  3. The Norwegian says:

    Insightful reading! I am curious to know if a colourful pocket square paired with black tie as featured by Prince Charles is acceptable. The norm tends to be white…

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Dear Norwegian,
      Thanks for your comment. The most classic pocket square for a black tie outfits certainly a white linen pocket square. However, it is perfectly acceptable to add a colorful accent such as a patterned pocket square in a contrasting color. If you look closely, Prince Edward wore just like Prince Charles a colored pocket square and both looked excellent.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] dinner suits worn by the likes of Daniel Craig at the 2009 Oscars, Tom Ford at the 2010 Oscars and Princes Charles and Edward at the wedding reception of Prince William in […]

  2. […] you can even wear a cuff in satin silk that matches the lapel – see Tom Ford or Prince Charles. I once even saw a version that was tailored in a way so it could be removed eventually without […]

  3. […] care about classic men’s style and so the outcome is often funny or even gaudy – even Prince William has troubles when it comes to black tie attire. I can attribute some of the strange ensembles to the couture houses; simply choosing the brand du […]

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