Duchess Sophie’s flattering hair trick to 'balance' her features is so easy to adapt for an effortlessly chic look

Duchess Sophie's flattering hair trick is something she's favoured for decades and it suits both longer and shorter styles

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh watches the Changing of the Guard
(Image credit: Photo by Victoria Jones-Pool/Getty Images)

Duchess Sophie's flattering hair trick helps to "balance" her features and it can add more "personality" to any look.

Whether you’re fully embracing one of the top 2024 hair trends or prefer to keep your style a little more timeless, many of us have a signature hair look we always find ourselves returning to at some point. The Royal Family are similarly-minded when it comes to their tresses and although the Duchess of Edinburgh has switched things up considerably over the years, there’s been one failsafe part of her hairstyle that’s rarely changed. Duchess Sophie’s flattering hairstyle trick to accentuate her features and add texture is incorporating some kind of fringe.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie posing for photographers at St. James's Palace during announcement of their engagement

(Image credit: Photo by Ken Goff/Getty Images)

Throughout the years, the senior royal has favoured a fringe of some kind no matter what her hair length. She is a particular fan of side swept bangs rather than a centre-parted, full block fringe and this style looked especially beautiful with the short bob hairstyles she’s had in the past.

Duchess Sophie’s fringes have often been more subtle and feathery, especially when she had very short layered hairstyles. In 1999 she and Prince Edward announced their engagement and Duchess Sophie’s choppy fringe complemented the shortest pieces of her hair, creating a sense of movement and texture.

Duchess Sophie Opens Childline's New Counselling Centre and offices in 2003

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

As she grew her hair out a fringe remained a staple part of her hairstyles and the layered side-fringe was the perfect choice to give dimension to any look. This cut ensured that her fringe didn’t look too overwhelming and helped to slightly shorten her gorgeous oval face shape.

Whilst you might have been a little cautious about committing to one of Duchess Sophie’s more pronounced fringes yourself, a fringe can be found to suit everyone. Sally Brooks of Brooks & Brooks and British Hairstylist of the Year previously told womanandhome.com that she believes a fringe is a brilliant way to “balance” your features.

Composite of Duchess Sophie with her side fringe pieces seen in March 2024 and September 2023

(Image credit: Image 1: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images //Image 2:Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

“There is a fringe for everyone,” Sally explained. “Fringes can balance out features: an oval face shape can take most looks; a fringe can help to shorten the appearance of a long face and balance it out. But more importantly, a fringe can give your look more personality - from blunt to chewy, slick to messy - it can really define your overall style.”

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Duchess Sophie’s hairstyle trick has certainly helped to define her overall style, though in recent years rather than opting for more of a defined fringe, she’s had her hair shaped around her face with a shorter section on the right. A longer length side piece is a great way to give your hairstyle a sense of “personality” without going for the full fringe chop as side pieces give a similar face-framing effect with more versatility.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh on behalf of King Charles III, attends the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Photo by Victoria Jones-Pool/Getty Images)

The senior royal can easily pull hers back or tuck it behind her ears, but she’s also showcased her side fringe piece to full effect too. On 8th April this year the Duchess inspected a guard of honour during a special Changing of the Guard ceremony to mark the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale. She went for a beautiful bun hairstyle, but left a piece of her side fringe loose and softly waving down to her chin.

Having longer side pieces like this one means that Duchess Sophie has more flexibility when it comes to formal updos and with styling her hair generally. She can effortlessly adapt her hairstyle to suit her outfit and mood and it’s clear why a fringe of any description remains a key part of her signature look.

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!