Duchess Sophie's beachy curls and golden tan lines proved she nails the fresh-off-holiday aesthetic

Duchess Sophie's beachy curls from 2011 was a gorgeously voluminous hairstyle that we can't help wishing she'd bring back

Composite of Duchess Sophie with beachy waves in 2011 and with her straight hair in 2024.
(Image credit: Image 1: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images // Image 2: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Duchess Sophie’s beachy curls and golden tan ahead of the Prince and Princess of Wales’s wedding is still giving us summer inspiration.

If you’re eager for inspiration for how to style a bob then look no further than the Duchess of Edinburgh. She might be known for her mid-length blonde tresses right now, but over the years Duchess Sophie has been a huge fan of short bob hairstyles and she hasn’t been afraid to switch up her look. From Duchess Sophie’s shaggy bob look to her auburn pixie cut, the senior royal has favoured both textured and sleek hairstyles. However, when it comes to spring/summer looks, it doesn’t come much more beautiful than Duchess Sophie’s beachy curls

Wavy hairstyles are popular for a reason, though we don’t often see the Duchess of Edinburgh with curls. She had them in April 2021 for a pre-wedding dinner at the Mandarin Oriental ahead of the Prince and Princess of Wales’s big day and her hairstyle was fabulously voluminous.

Duchess Sophie attends a pre-wedding dinner before the Prince and Princess of Wales's wedding

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Going for her favourite side-parted hair look, Duchess Sophie’s hair fell to the nape of her neck and framed her face in bold, big waves. The top layers of her hair had a tousled appearance to them whilst lower down, the soft curls looked slightly more defined. Instead of choosing to have pristine, polished curls, Duchess Sophie’s hairstyle had a beachy feel to it with a lot of texture.

Shop Essentials For Beachy Curls

Although Prince William and Kate got married in April, the Duchess of Edinburgh’s hairstyle wouldn’t have looked out of place in the summer. Beachy curls like this are so flattering and legendary hair stylist Adam Reed previously told woman&home that waves are "always in fashion and so popular" simply because they’re "undeniably chic".

"That wavy, beachy hair looks effortless and is usually quite easy to create once you have the hang of it. Think back to Brigitte Bardot, a young Kate Moss, and Sienna Miller’s Boho trend – they were all about the soft kinks and bends, those effortless waves that aren’t too uniform or too rigid," Adam declared.

Duchess Sophie attends a gala pre-wedding dinner held at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park on April 28, 2011

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

With one of the best curling irons you can easily recreate a similar look, although it’s important to prep your hair if you’re interested in how to make your curls last longer. Adam believes that this is “absolutely key” and recommends “a blow-dry spray or lightweight mousse” if you’re using heat styling to achieve your waves.

Duchess Sophie’s beachy curls looked especially lovely with her golden tan which shone through in snaps taken of her arriving for the dinner. Although she didn’t go on holiday immediately before the wedding, her tan and bright blonde hair evoked a sense of holiday glow and looked stunning with her dress.

Duchess Sophie and Prince Edward attend a gala pre-wedding dinner held at the Mandarin Oriental

(Image credit: Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

For this special occasion the Duchess of Edinburgh went all out in a floor length red gown. It featured elaborate fold over details across the bodice rising up elegantly into two wide straps and she even coordinated her nail polish with the vibrant scarlet hue. Duchess Sophie’s base makeup was fresh and light, allowing her tan to do all the talking. She added a touch of her signature dark eyeliner, and finished off the outfit with some magnificent white and yellow diamond jewellery pieces.

In recent years the Duchess of Edinburgh has tended to leave her hair quite straight and often opts for a practical updo, but her tousled loose waves were so glamorous back in 2011. We can’t help feeling this hairstyle deserves to make a reappearance - especially when the warmer weather returns this summer.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!