Duchess Sophie's shaggy bob with subtle highlights has got us ready to book a salon trip

Duchess Sophie's shaggy bob from May 2003 was a fabulous hairstyle that accentuated her features and it deserves another chance to shine

Duchess Sophie of Edinburgh
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Duchess Sophie’s shaggy bob with subtle highlights from 2003 is a gorgeous spring style that needs to make a comeback.

Over the years the Duchess of Edinburgh’s hair has perhaps changed the most compared to her fellow royals and we’re particularly in love with her short hair eras - the 1990s and 2000s. During this time short bob hairstyles were part of the senior royal’s signature look and though she often wore her hair sleek or with a blow-dry bounce to it, it wasn’t always the case. Duchess Sophie’s shaggy bob from 2003 was a gorgeously textured style that had a more relaxed feel to it and this is a hairstyle that we’re still in love with all these years later.

The Duchess was pictured sporting this tousled haircut in May 2003 when she and Prince Edward attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show days after announcing they were expecting their first baby, the now 20-year-old lady Louise Windsor. Duchess Sophie’s shaggy bob fell to the nape of her neck, with longer layers at the back and underneath.

Duchess and Duke of Edinburgh in May 2003 at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The top layers of her hair were shorter and this graduated cut helped to frame her face in an incredibly flattering way, as well as blending beautifully with Duchess Sophie’s side fringe. Side-swept hair is an easy way to give your hairstyle an elegant edge and the Duchess of Edinburgh has always been a fan. Back in 2003 she went for an undefined side parting, with her shorter layers falling more naturally either side rather than being perfectly in place. 

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This approach worked perfectly with the relaxed look of her textured bob and Duchess Sophie’s hair also featured subtle highlights on the uppermost layers. The combination of the creamy pale blonde with the more golden shades gave her bob depth and was a move towards the lighter tone that she favours today. 

Meanwhile, the chopped bob was back on trend last year, a decade after Duchess Sophie had one, and we can see no reason why it won’t have a resurgence again. Not only is it a relatively “low maintenance” bob style, but according to Jonathan Andrew, Fudge Professional Global Ambassador, it’s very “versatile”.

The Duchess of Edinburgh at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

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

Speaking previously to womanandhome.com about this haircut, Jonathan explained, “The chopped bob is a more lived-in bob style with texture, movement, and versatility, but at the same time it's ultra-low maintenance. It isn't your traditional blunt bob - it uses layers and texture to make it chic and sexy."

Jonathan believes that the chopped bob suits anyone and that its layers and textures “make it a versatile and laid-back style”. The hair expert added that since “layers can contour the face”, this style “could be the ultimate game-changer to take years off” or might just be a “flattering overall style, which accentuates your features rather than dragging them down or hiding them.”

Duchess Sophie’s shaggy bob immediately drew attention to her features with its face-framing layers and she accentuated her short hair with her collared checked shirt and suede jacket.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2003

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

The neckline of both met the end of her bob and the warm tan shade of the jacket complemented the warmth of her hair colour by keeping within a similar colour palette. She finished off her look with a pair of matching suede wide-leg trousers and mid-height black boots that were a practical choice for walking across the grass at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. 

The Duchess of Edinburgh still attends the annual show, although her hair hasn’t been this short and textured for many years. We can’t help hoping that this laid-back look is one that Duchess Sophie returns to at some point, especially as shorter hairstyles are having a moment right now. 

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!