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Queen shocks fashion world, joins Vogue's Anna Wintour on the front row at London Fashion Week

  • For the first time in her life, 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth II attended London Fashion Week Tuesday, surprising fashionistas at the show.
  • She sat on the front row at British designer Richard Quinn's show, next to Vogue Editor-In-Chief Dame Anna Wintour.
  • The monarch looked as if she was genuinely enjoying the show.
Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Anna Wintour as they view Richard Quinn's runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx
Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Anna Wintour as they view Richard Quinn's runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.

There are not many places in which Queen Elizabeth II has not made an appearance, but for the first time in her life the 91-year-old attended London Fashion Week Tuesday, surprising fashionistas at the show.

She sat on the front row at British designer Richard Quinn's show, next to Vogue Editor-In-Chief Dame Anna Wintour. The pair chatted during the event and the queen even managed to raise a smile and laugh from the formidable fashion editor, who wore her trademark sunglasses throughout the show.

The monarch looked as if she was genuinely enjoying the show as she watched on from the coveted front-row spot (known as the "frow" in the industry) and was given a special velvet cushion to sit on.

It was not all play and no work, however, and the queen was attending the event to present designer Quinn with an inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.

The designer is known for his bold prints but the queen opted for more subtle attire, wearing a suit of deck-egg blue, black gloves and black shoes and had placed her black handbag at her feet.

Queen Elizabeth II sits between Anna Wintour (right) and Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council (BFC) (left).
KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx
Queen Elizabeth II sits between Anna Wintour (right) and Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council (BFC) (left).

The queen's arrival apparently caused gasps of astonishment among the unsuspecting crowd at London Fashion Week, and was widely reported by U.K. media.

"There was a hush as she entered the room, with the audience standing up to greet the monarch and, of course, raising their phones to get that all-important social media picture," wrote Guardian newspaper journalist Lauren Cochrane.

Seated to the queen's right was British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush who also looked at ease sitting next to one of the most recognizable woman in the world.

The queen's presence and promotion of the British fashion world is important for the industry which is worth £26 billion ($36.3 billion) a year (figures from the 2016 event show) and 800,000 jobs to the economy, the British Fashion Council notes.

The British queen herself is seen as a style icon for many people who have followed her attire since her coronation in 1953.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has also championed British designers but whether her future sister-in-law and Prince Harry's future wife Meghan Markle will adopt British design (she intends to become a British citizen, after all) is yet to be seen.