Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Dress Goes on Display in Honor of Platinum Jubilee: See Pics!

·4 min read
Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Dress Goes on Display in Honor of Platinum Jubilee: See Pics!

Queen Elizabeth's dazzling coronation dress is on display again in honor of her Platinum Jubilee year — and this time the exhibition is sparklier than ever!

Platinum Jubilee: The Queen's Coronation, which opens at Windsor Castle on Thursday, not only includes the Queen's famous coronation dress (which has only been displayed three times in 69 years!) designed by Sir Norman Hartnell for her 1953 coronation — it also includes a collection of jewelry, including the dazzling necklace and earrings she wore on the historic day.

"It's probably one of the most important dresses made in the 20th century — certainly a great piece of British design," says Caroline de Guitaut, curator of the exhibition. "The combination of rich fabrics and beautiful embroideries was really Hartnell's absolute signature and I think the greatest expression of all his career."

Queen Elizabeth Ii And The Duke Of Edinburgh On Their Coronation Day
Queen Elizabeth Ii And The Duke Of Edinburgh On Their Coronation Day

The Print Collector/Getty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the day of the monarch's coronation in 1953

The Queen was very involved in the design process of the gown, which was created in the finest white duchesse satin, richly embroidered in a lattice-work effect with an iconographic scheme of floral emblems in gold and silver thread and pastel-colored silks and encrusted with seed pearls, sequins and crystals.

The Coronation Dress of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The Coronation Dress of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Royal Collection Trust The Coronation Dress of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Hartnell, who also made the Queen's wedding dress in 1947, created eight sketches, but it was his ninth — which included floral emblems of the U.K. — that the Queen liked the most, but she did have some additional requests.

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Sir Norman Hartnell’s original sketch of the chosen design
Sir Norman Hartnell’s original sketch of the chosen design

Royal Collection Trust Sir Norman Hartnell’s original sketch of the chosen design

"She made two further suggestions to Hartnell, which were that the emblems should be embroidered in colored silks as well as the embellishments of pearls and beads. And also that he should incorporate the emblems of the nations of which she would become Queen, the independent states such as Australia and New Zealand and so on," says de Guitaut.

Due to the nature of the embroidery, the dress is estimated to weigh at least 11 pounds.

Curator Caroline de Guitaut puts the finishing touches to the display at Windsor Castle
Curator Caroline de Guitaut puts the finishing touches to the display at Windsor Castle

Royal Collection Trust Curator Caroline de Guitaut puts the finishing touches to the display at Windsor Castle

The exhibition, which runs from July 7 to September 26, also includes the Robe of Estate, which features intricate gold embroidery, and the monarch's EIIR cipher.

With wheat ears and olive branches to symbolize prosperity and peace, it took 12 embroideresses, using 18 different types of gold thread more than 3,500 hours to complete.

Curator Caroline de Guitaut puts the finishing touches to the display at Windsor Castle
Curator Caroline de Guitaut puts the finishing touches to the display at Windsor Castle

Royal Collection Trust Curator Caroline de Guitaut puts the finishing touches to the display at Windsor Castle

Guests will also get to see the diamond necklace and earrings that the Queen wore on the day. Commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1858 and made by Garrard & Co., the necklace has since been worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, the Queen Mother and the current Queen.

R. & S. Garrard & Co., The Coronation Necklace 1858
R. & S. Garrard & Co., The Coronation Necklace 1858

Royal Collection Trust The Coronation necklace

Displayed together for the first time are some of the Queen's favorite brooches, each representing a nation of the U.K. or one of the Commonwealth countries, such as the Canadian Maple Leaf Brooch worn by the Queen and also Kate Middleton while on tour in Canada.

"One of the elements that I wanted to draw out of the centerpiece of this display which is, of course, Her Majesty's coronation gown and robe, is how the dress really communicates messages and has an iconography which is entirely linked to the Queen's role not just as head of the United Kingdom but also head of the Commonwealth nations," says de Guitaut, deputy surveyor of the Queen's Work's of Art.

coronation-portait.jpg
coronation-portait.jpg

Queen Elizabeth

Also on display are the original samples of embroidery shown to the Queen by Hartnell during the design process. It was during this stage that Hartnell had in fact made a mistake.

"He had produced a daffodil, whereas actually, the emblem which should have been used is the leek, and so he had to go away and research the leek and make it look really beautiful, which I think he did!" says de Guitaut.

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Alongside the fashion elements are two portraits — one by Sir Herbert James Gunn commissioned to commemorate the coronation and another by William Dargie, known as the "Wattle Portrait" after the inclusion of the yellow flowers on the Queen's dress.

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