Princess Elena
Credit: Rafa Samano/Cover/Getty

As an editor on InStyle's digital photo team, I spend most of my time looking at pictures. A photo crossed my desk in early June of a sophisticated middle-aged lady attending a children's painting contest in Madrid. I was struck by her tonal color palette of blues and whites, the sculptural silhouette of her jacket, and the juxtaposition of her menswear-inspired watch and ladylike Chanel handbag. Who was Infanta Elena, and why hadn't I heard of this fabulous Spanish Royal?

Two weeks later, I am dozens of pages deep into her Google search results. Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo is the eldest child of Queen Sofia. She is third in line for the throne, and now she is first on my list of style icons. Join me as I recount the seven reasons Infanta Elena is my sartorial hero.

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1. Not only does she own this absurd hat, but she wore it in public three times.

First, at the wedding Of Princess Alexia Of Greece And Carlos Morales Quintana In London, United Kingdom on July 9, 1999.

Credit: BENAINOUS/DEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Wedding Of Princess Alexia Of Greece And Carlos Morales Quintana In London, United Kingdom On July 9, 1999.


Next, at a horse race in France on June 10, 2001.


At a horse race in France, June 10, 2001.

Alain Nogues/Sygma/Getty

Third, at the wedding of Segolene Frere and Ian Gallienne on September 6, 2003.

Credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty

At the wedding of Sefolene Frere and Ian Gallienne on September 6, 2003.

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty

2. Homegirl can work a brooch.

Every style icon needs a signature accessory. The princess is rarely seen without a large pin under her left shoulder.

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3. She cares 0% about dressing her age.

Sheer blouses and bikinis in her 50s? Why not?

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Credit: Getty (3)

4. She goes full peacock at weddings.

Never let the bride forget who the real princess is.

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Credit: Getty (3)

5. She's found her prints charming, and is deeply in love.

Who needs a husband when you have head-to-toe florals?

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Credit: Europa Press/Getty; Eduardo Parra/Getty

The princess is particularly fond of wrapping herself in a statement jacket.

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Credit: Getty (4)

She often pairs her prints with crisp whites.

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Credit: Getty (4)

6. The Duchess is completely loyal to Chanel handbags.

She knows what she likes, and what she likes is quilted leather.

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Credit: Getty (6)

7. ...and completely loyal to Spain.

Is there anything chicer than being proud of who you are?

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Credit: Getty (3)