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The under-the-radar fashion brand where Princess Anne buys her clothes

princess anne in cotswold collection
The Princess Royal in the paisley co-ord by Cotswold Collections

It will come as a surprise to nobody that Princess Anne, the hardest-working royal, is also in possession of the hardest-working royal wardrobe.

She’s a careful shopper, buying clothes that are not just for the next few years, but the next few decades. Like her brother, the King, and her parents before them, she continues to wear pieces that are 30 or 40 years old. To designer Silvia Venturini Fendi, whose latest Fendi menswear collection is inspired by Anne, she is “the most elegant woman in the world”.

Of course it’s easier for Anne’s generation of royals to do so, most of their clothes are made bespoke. When a lot of time, effort and money has been invested into a garment, it makes sense to repair and rewear it. Doing the same for a high-street piece might cost more than just replacing it – no matter that it’s kinder to the planet, largely speaking, the modern consumer has neither the time nor the skills.

But the Princess Royal does buy more affordable clothes too, it emerged during her latest royal tour of Sri Lanka. On the final day she wore a new paisley shirt and midi skirt set – a co-ord – by Cotswold Collections, a 30-year-old brand based in Cheltenham, not far from her Gatcombe Park home.

The Princess Royal wearing a paisley Cotswolds Collections co-ord during a visit to Commonwealth War Graves Commission Jawatte Cemetery in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as part of day three of a visit to mark 75 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Sri Lanka
Princess Anne's paisley shirt and midi skirt set in French crinkle crepe was a practical choice for the Sri Lankan heat - Jonathan Brady/PA
The paisley co-ord is now on sale at Cotswold Collections
The paisley co-ord is on sale at Cotswold Collections

Practicality will have driven her choice. The French crinkle crepe may be polyester, but it is lightweight enough for the heat and won’t look creased in photos. And paisley won’t date, so there’s no risk of it going out of style. “The Princess Royal has been wearing our clothes for a good while, actually,” says Jane Cheesman, managing director of Cotswold Collections. “We’re used to seeing her quite often in our pieces.”

Anne also has a cream tweed blazer from the brand, which she wore in 2023 for a Coronation street party; a grey swing coat, which she wore to the Cheltenham Festival; and a lemon yellow jacket seen on tour in New Zealand last February.

Princess Anne in a cream tweed blazer from Cotswold Collections at a Coronation street party on May 7 2023 in Swindon
The princess wore a cream tweed blazer from Cotswold Collections at a Coronation street party in May 2023 - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Princess Anne, Princess Royal visits the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand (RAS) at the Canterbury Agricultural Park, the home of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association on February 17, 2023 in Christchurch, New Zealand
Anne wearing a lemon yellow jacket while on tour in New Zealand last February - Rob Ball/Getty Images

So does the Princess Royal shop online like the rest of us? Does she scroll through the “new in” section on her iPhone of an evening, while watching The Traitors? “She has somebody, I think, who orders on her behalf from Gatcombe Park,” says Cheesman. “There is an inner circle of people who have worked with her for a long time and I think she trusts them and would instruct them to purchase on her behalf. I do believe they’re absolutely her choices.”

Cotswold Collections may be at the more affordable end of the market, but it’s hardly fast fashion. Anne will likely appreciate that the offering is designed to last, and that more than 50 per cent of it, the “Heritage” collection, is made in the UK. “The fact that we keep seeing her rewearing pieces at different events, and they really do look as new as the day she bought them, really feels like a great endorsement and proof of the longevity and relevance of our collections,” Cheesman says.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, attends day three of 'St Patrick's Thursday' of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 16, 2023
Princess Anne at last year's Cheltenham Festival in a Cotswold Collections grey swing coat - Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The Princess isn’t the only high profile fan of Cotswold Collections either. Mary Berry is also a customer, Cheesman reveals; she wore a scarf from the brand on the cover of a Great British Bake Off recipe book, published back in 2013. So is Joan Bakewell. “All these people inspire us,” says Cheesman, who makes no secret of the fact that the collection is designed with a mature woman in mind: “We adapt our fit to accommodate certain changes in the body,” she says. “We have several high-profile mature inspirational women in mind, as well as our own mothers and grandmothers. In many cases we feel like we’re designing for our future selves.”

Mary Berry wore a Cotswolds Collections scarf on the cover of a Great British Bake Off recipe book in 2013
Mary Berry wore a Cotswold Collections scarf on the cover of a Great British Bake Off recipe book in 2013

Cotswold Collections isn’t the only local fashion business endorsed by the Princess. She also has several pieces by Gloucestershire-based formalwear brand Shibumi, and wore a coat from the label at Royal Ascot last year.

If you fancy taking a leaf from Anne’s style playbook, you might be interested to know that her paisley co-ord is now on sale, the shirt reduced from £99 to £59, and the skirt from £109 to £65.

Team with a crossbody bag and loafers to complete the look. Wraparound sunglasses optional.

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