Coronation outfits worn by Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla to go on display at Buckingham Palace

Coronation outfits worn by Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla to go on display at Buckingham Palace

Outfits worn by Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the Coronation will go on public display for the first time as part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace between 14 July and 24 September 2023.

The clothing will form part of a special Coronation display staged in the Ballroom to celebrate the historic service held at Westminster Abbey on 6 May. The centrepiece of the display will be the outfits worn by Their Majesties as they departed from Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach and then appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony to greet the crowds. Shown alongside these will be a selection of the historic vestments worn by The King at the moment of crowning, including the Coronation Glove, Girdle (or Sword Belt) and Stole Royal.

The Robe of Estate worn by The King for his departure from Westminster Abbey was worn by his grandfather King George VI for his Coronation in 1937. It is made of purple silk velvet with gold lace and was conserved by the robemakers Ede and Ravenscroft in preparation for use by His Majesty.

The King’s cream silk overshirt, worn throughout the service, and the Purple Coronation Tunic, worn for departure from the Abbey, were created especially for the occasion by Turnbull & Asser and Ede and Ravenscroft respectively. Their designs were inspired by similar items worn by King George V and King George VI at their Coronations. The overshirt’s collar and cuffs feature embroidered oak leaves and acorns, while the tunic is made of purple satin and trimmed with gold artillery lace. Shown alongside these will be The King’s Royal Naval Trousers, which are regularly worn by His Majesty as part of his Royal Navy full ceremonial uniform.

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Her Majesty Queen Camilla’s Coronation Dress was designed by Bruce Oldfield. Structured like a coat dress, the modern ivory Peau de Soie silk dress features silver and gold embroidered floral designs intertwined with celebratory bunting. Swathes of wildflowers including daisy chains, forget-me-nots, celandine and scarlet pimpernel represent Their Majesties’ affection for nature and the British countryside. The front hem area of the underskirt and the cuffs of each sleeve are embroidered with the floral emblems of the four nations of the United Kingdom (rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock).

Her Majesty’s Robe of Estate was made in rich purple velvet by Ede and Ravenscroft, and designed and hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework using goldwork – a technique that dates back more than a thousand years. The robe’s design draws on themes of nature and the environment, featuring the floral emblems of the United Kingdom and a further 20 plants chosen for their personal associations. These include Scabiosa, known as pincushion flowers, referencing Her Majesty’s patronage of the Royal School of Needlework as Duchess of Cornwall; Lily of the Valley, which featured in Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet and was a favourite flower of Queen Elizabeth II; and Delphinium, the flower of Her Majesty’s birth month and a favourite flower of The King. For the first time on a Coronation robe, the design also features insects, including bees, butterflies, a beetle and a caterpillar.

Visitors will have the chance to view up close some of the historic vestments worn by His Majesty as he was crowned. These include the Coronation Glove, worn to hold the Sovereign’s Sceptre, and the Girdle (or Coronation Sword Belt), which was worn around The King’s waist so that the Jewelled Sword of Offering could be fastened to it. His Majesty chose to reuse both items, which were worn by King George VI at his Coronation in 1937.

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The Stole Royal was presented to His Majesty by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales during the service and worn for the moment of crowning. It was newly created and embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework, from a design prepared by the Royal College of Arms. Inspired by the stole worn by Queen Elizabeth II for her Coronation in 1953, the design features a series of roundels, set in a gold chain framework and applied to cloth of gold. Each roundel features an embroidered image, including the four emblems of the United Kingdom; a dove of peace (representing the Holy Spirit); a Tudor Crown; and a pattern inspired by the Cosmati Pavement in Westminster Abbey, upon which the Anointing of His Majesty took place.

Visitors to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms will also be able to see the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which conveyed Their Majesties to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation and which will be on display in the Palace’s State Entrance. By purchasing a Royal Day Out ticket, visitors can combine their visit to the State Rooms with a trip to the Royal Mews, where they will see the spectacular Gold State Coach, which carried Their Majesties back to Buckingham Palace from the Abbey. The Gold State Coach has been used at every Coronation since that of William IV in 1831.

Ends

The Coronation display will be included in a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, 14 July – 24 September 2023.

Tickets are available now: www.rct.uk, +44 (0)303 123 7300. The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors five days a week, Thursday to Monday, remaining closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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Images of the items in use during the Coronation should be sourced from picture agencies – handout images are not available.

For further information, please contact the Royal Collection Trust Press Office, +44 (0)20 7839 1377, [email protected].

An accompanying programme of events will include:

  • The online lecture A History of Coronation Dress (27 July, 19:00-20:00, £10), which will see Caroline de Guitaut, Deputy Surveyor of The King’s Works of Art in conversation with Dr Susan Kay-Williams, Chief Executive of the Royal School of Needlework, exploring some of the most beautiful and impressive attire worn at coronations past.
  • An exclusive study afternoon at Buckingham Palace (5 September, 14:00-19:00, £145), which will include a private, curator-led tour of the special Coronation display, talks about the craftsmanship and history behind Their Majesties’ Coronation outfits, and light refreshments on the Palace’s West Terrace, on a day when the royal residence is usually closed to the public.

Find out more at www.rct.uk/whatson.

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