Minor British Institutions: Prince of Wales check

Appropriately for the check-on-check pattern known as Prince of Wales check, there are two misconceptions to unpick before we can focus on this timeless design.

The first is that it was devised by the Duke of Windsor, formerly Edward VIII (the one who abdicated to marry Mrs Simpson) while Prince of Wales.

It may have been popularised by the most nattily dressed man of the 20th century, but it is better associated with his father, Edward VII (of cigars fame) when he was Prince of Wales, in the latter part of the 19th century, a product of the while-hunting-at-Balmoral thing.

The second point is that it is not a royally inspired style at all, but a variant of the much older Glen Urquhart check.

Authentically, as a Glen Urquhart check, it is seen in shades of black or grey, but it need not be and when colours are found these could be said to be the true Prince of Wales variety.

The check is not often seen in suits today, and is a more popular choice in a shirt. Perhaps it needs another royal model.

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