Here's why the Queen always wears gloves to royal engagements

  • Have you ever wondered why the Queen is always wearing gloves?
  • Fortunately the royal glove makers have shed some light on the situation.
  • The gloves are likely a layer of protection against the countless hands she shakes every day.
  • They’re also just a staple of Her Majesty’s iconic style, and mean she doesn’t need to show her arms.

The Queen likes to wave – a lot.

If you’ve seen her waving in the last 65 years, you might have noticed one constant throughout her long reign: she’s always wearing gloves.

Queen Elizabeth’s gloved mitts are as much a staple of her royal uniform as her hats and bright colours – but why? Fortunately,Reader’s Digest spoke to the Queen’s glove maker to find out just that.

Queen Elizabeth Prince CharlesWPA Pool / Getty Images

Cornelia James has been the Queen’s glovemaker for over 70 years and has had a royal warrant since 1970.

Genevieve James, creative director and daughter of the founder, told Reader’s Digest that her gloves offer her protection from dirt and germs when shaking hands with countless people every day.

“I imagine she always has two or three pairs in her handbag to spare,” James said.

However, she added that Her Majesty is more likely to get the £110 ($US140) gloves repaired than replaced.

“I think the royal family wants to be seen as being economical, not wasting money on things like that. She’ll wear her gloves for 40 years and will pull some out from a long time ago.”

Queen Elizabeth Prince CharlesChris Jackson/Getty Images

The gloves do, of course, serve a style purpose, too. “When you’re the Queen and you’re shaking hands, you don’t really want to show your arms,” says James. “The glove goes a bit under her [sleeve], so you don’t actually see any arm.”

For years, the Queen’s gloves were made from brushed cotton. However, James says Her Majesty recently requested something a bit lighter – so she ordered 70 metres of cotton jersey from Switzerland. “[It] is a lot of gloves, but it’s the Queen,” she said.

Each pair takes roughly 45 minutes to an hour to make.

“They’re an integral part of her outfit,” James says. “You never see her without gloves.”

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