Duchess Sophie's ravishing red gown with plunging neckline is exactly the kind of dramatic royal look we want to see more of

Duchess Sophie wore a breath-taking red gown to an event in Norway in 2002 and we can't help wishing she'd bring it back

Composite of two pictures of Duchess Sophie wearing a red gown to an event the evening before the wedding of Princess Martha Louise of Norway
(Image credit: Image 1: Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images// Image 2: Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

Duchess Sophie wore a ravishing red gown with a plunging neckline to an event in Norway in 2002 and this is exactly the kind of dramatic royal look we want to see more of now.

Many of us might prefer to fill our summer capsule wardrobes with neutral staples and classic denim pieces but it’s not quite the same for the British Royal Family. If there’s one thing they love it's wearing bold colours and particularly at special events they tend to step out in some very vibrant outfits. The Duchess of Edinburgh in particular loves bright dresses and flamboyant hats and in the early 2000s one of her go-to shades was bright red. Her outfit for an evening reception in Norway back in 2002 was a particularly gorgeous look from her.

It was designed with a plunging scoop neck and delicate straps that sat almost bardot-like on the Duchess's shoulders. The neckline framed her décolletage beautifully and the fitted bodice had two darts running down the front, helping to ensure a perfect fit that accentuated her silhouette.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie arrive for a reception hosted by the Norwegian Government

(Image credit: Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

Shop red dresses

Shop red wardrobe staples

Duchess Sophie’s dress had an A-line shape that flared out more at the back and the fabric had a sheen to it that picked up in the light on that evening in Trondheim. The senior royal was there with Prince Edward to attend a gala variety show the evening before the wedding of Princess Martha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that the Duchess of Edinburgh pulled out all the stops with her outfit and the bright red was such a stunning choice. Red is one of the biggest fashion colour trends at the moment and this poppy-red hue had warm undertones to it that complemented her golden hair. 

Although red is often considered quite a statement colour it looks great with blue and white denim and other more neutral tones. You also don’t have to add a dress like Duchess Sophie’s to your wardrobe to wear this colour.

Duchess Sophie arrives at a reception hosted by the Norwegian government

(Image credit: Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)

Red accessories look so pretty with a simple white T-shirt and jeans and can often elevate simple looks into something more special. In Duchess Sophie’s case the silhouette of her dress was already quite formal and she added a pair of pointed toe black heels and pearl jewellery.

The three-strand pearl choker had a diamond encrusted clasp and Her Royal Highness balanced the luxuriousness of this with simple single pearl stud earrings. In her hand she carried a black wrap in case the weather turned a little chilly on this May day. From the colour to the design and her accessories, this was quite a dramatic royal look from the Duchess.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie in Trondheim, Norway in 2003

(Image credit: Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)

Whilst we love seeing the royals in their tailored blazers, best white trainers and stunning floral dresses, it’s also lovely whenever they do wear more unusual or bold outfits too. Duchess Sophie doesn’t wear red so much anymore and now prefers higher necklines on her dresses, but she has proved that she still has a sense of fun when it comes to fashion.

From her bright pink dress at the Orbis Visionaries Reception in April to the curved hat with frilled adornments she wore to the Order of the Garter ceremony last year, the Duchess enjoys pushing style boundaries with her occasionwear looks.

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!