The not-so-humble bouffant hairstyle has come in and out of fashion over the years, but there’s one woman who has continuously retained its relevance within the beauty zeitgeist: Princess Anne.
Indeed, the Princess Royal is an undisputed icon in her own right, but her hair, which she has religiously styled in a bouffant for decades, has its own persona—Anne’s bouffant walked so Miley Cyrus’ bun and Florence Pugh’s topknot could run.
That’s why it’s no surprise to see the royal’s iconic hairstyle positively thrive in the fifth season of The Crown, where British actor Claudia Harrison takes on the coveted role of Princess Anne in the tumultuous 1990s. In various scenes, you’ll witness it defying gravity as it rises high above Harrison’s head, perfectly combed out and swept into a bun—glorious, some might say. But for Harrison, who revealed the ins and outs of recreating the hairstyle to marie claire Australia, it was a little more painstaking to recreate than it looks.
“It’s a wig!” Harrison announced when we asked her exactly how the production team perfected her hairstyle for the new season.
“I got this part in lockdown,” she continued. “I had really short hair at the time and it did that thing that all of ours did in lockdown—well, mine did anyway—and it just went ‘poof!'”
Along with virtually everyone, Harrison was all-too keen to give it a nice healthy chop once local hairdressers started opening back up, but she was stopped short by The Crown‘s hair and makeup department.
“They said, ‘Oh don’t cut it because we need it to tuck into the back bit of the wig,’ so I’ve actually had a mullet all this time,” she laughed.
Why did Princess Anne always style her hair in a bouffant?
Princess Anne’s puffy bouffant essentially became a part of her identity in the 1990s. It was a time of great change in the royal family (Anne divorced her first husband Captain Mark Phillips in 1992 and remarried her current husband Tim Lawrence later that year), and some have speculated that her unchanging hairstyle was a way to reflect her consistency and desire to get on with things.
“She’s a feminist icon to me and hopefully to everybody,” Harrison elaborated in our interview. “She’s not there to decorate a room, she’s there for a job, and I think her hair is part of that.”
She added that this consistency reflected Anne’s well-documented work ethic (often labelled the “hardest working royal, the Princess Royal has logged up 400 public engagements within a year).
“She’s telling us, ‘This is my workmanship, I turn up, I’m not going to let you be distracted by my latest look, I am who I am so let me do my job,'” Harrison explained, “It’s like armour.”
We can’t argue with that—and who knows? Perhaps we’ll see the bouffant make a grand comeback in the 2020s—fashion is cyclical, after all.