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US Vogue editor Anna Wintour criticised for talking to the Queen while wearing sunglasses

The Queen was a surprise visitor to London Fashion Week. Credit: PA

A royal expert has criticised Anna Wintour for wearing sunglasses while conversing with the Queen at London Fashion Week.

The editor of US Vogue's decision to wear her signature sunglasses as she sat next to the catwalk was labelled "unacceptable" and "the height of bad manners".

Ms Wintour and the Queen were watching London-born designer Richard Quinn's fashion show on Tuesday, with the former keeping her sunglasses on throughout.

Grant Harrold, an etiquette expert who worked in the Prince of Wales' household, said Ms Wintour's actions had broken royal protocol.

"Ms Wintour should know that to wear sunglasses when talking to another person, with no medical reason, is unacceptable," he told the Press Association.

"She should have removed them before being in the presence of the Queen, let alone in discussion."

"Eye contact is important while holding a discussion, and not removing sunglasses is the height of bad manners and a serious breach of Royal protocol," Mr Harrold said.

"If the Queen gave her permission to keep them on then that would be acceptable, however this would be unlikely."

Ms Wintour is rarely seen without her Chanel frames on but did not wear them during investiture ceremony last May when the Queen made her a dame.

Wintour, who has been at the helm of US Vogue for 30 years, is rarely seen without her signature Chanel spectacles, but did not wear them during the investiture ceremony last May when the Queen made her a dame.

In an interview with CBS in 2009, the editor said her sunglasses were "armour".

"They're seriously useful. I mean, I can sit in a show, and if I'm bored out of my mind, nobody will notice. And if I'm enjoying it, nobody will notice," she told Morley Safer.

People online expressed some shock that she did not remove the shades.

"Dame Anna Wintour," said one, "being a fashion editor surely you should know wearing sunglasses indoors is so naff especially being seated next to the Queen".

Another called it "rude" and "ignorant".