THE CORONATION outfits worn by their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla will go on public display for the first time at Buckingham Palace.
The special Coronation display is part of a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary since the Palace first opened to the public in 1993.
Staged in the Ballroom, which was used by Their Majesties as a Coronation rehearsal space, the special display has at its centre the outfits, jewellery and insignia worn by The King and Queen as they departed from Westminster Abbey and then appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Shown alongside these are some of the historic vestments worn by The King as he was crowned, as well as the Anointing Screen, Throne Chairs, and designs for the Coronation invitation.
The King and Queen’s magnificent Robes of Estate are a highlight of the display. His Majesty’s Robe was worn by his great-grandfather King George V and grandfather King George VI for their Coronations, and was conserved by the robemakers Ede and Ravenscroft.
Her Majesty’s Robe was newly made for the occasion by Ede and Ravenscroft and hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework. Its 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, as well as insects including bees, butterflies, a beetle and a caterpillar.
Queen Camilla’s Coronation Dress was designed by Bruce Oldfield and features silver and gold embroidered floral designs, representing Their Majesties’ affection for nature and the British countryside, intertwined with celebratory bunting.
Visitors may also spot some more personal details amongst the intricate gold embroidery: the names of The Queen’s children and grandchildren, and depictions of Bluebell and Beth, Her Majesty’s Jack Russell Terriers. Also on display is the spectacular Coronation Necklace, which was originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858 and has been worn at every Coronation since 1902.
The King’s cream silk overshirt and Purple Coronation Tunic were created especially for the occasion by Turnbull & Asser and Ede and Ravenscroft respectively, inspired by similar items worn by King George V and King George VI at their Coronations.
Shown alongside these are His Majesty’s Royal Naval Trousers and the Star, Collar and Great George of the Order of the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom. The jewelled Great George pendant is thought to have been made for George II and was worn for the Coronations of King George V and King George VI, while the Garter Star was a wedding gift to King George V from the Officers of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Naval Reserve.
Visitors will have the opportunity to admire close-up the beautifully embroidered Anointing Screen, which was used to shield His Majesty from view during the most sacred moment of the Coronation.
Its central design takes the form of a tree with 56 leaves, representing the 56 member countries of the Commonwealth, and its maroon, gold, blue and red colour scheme reflects the colours of the Cosmati pavement at Westminster Abbey.
The design was selected personally by The King and is inspired by the stained-glass Sanctuary Window in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, which was gifted by the Livery Companies to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.
The screen’s four oak poles are made from a windblown oak from the Windsor Estate, planted in 1765, and are topped with two gilded bronze eagles. The screen was gifted for the Coronation by the City of London Corporation and City Livery Companies, designed by the iconographer Aidan Hart, and brought to life through both hand and digital embroidery, managed by the Royal School of Needlework.
Also on display are some of the historic vestments worn by His Majesty for the moment of crowning. These include the Coronation Glove, worn to hold the Sovereign’s Sceptre, which was made by Dents the glovemaker and presented by the Worshipful Company of Glovers in 1937.
Alongside this will be 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, and which was originally presented by the Worshipful Company of Girdlers. His Majesty chose to reuse both items, which were worn by King George VI at his Coronation.
The Stole Royal was newly created for the occasion and embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework, from a design prepared by the Royal College of Arms. It was inspired by the stole worn by Queen Elizabeth II for her Coronation in 1953, and was a gift from the Worshipful Company of Girdlers.
During the Coronation service, it was presented to His Majesty by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Visitors will be able to see the final designs for the stole alongside the item itself.
Beneath the Ballroom’s magnificent Throne Canopy, visitors will see the Throne Chairs used by Their Majesties for the Enthroning and the Homage. During their tour of the Palace’s State Rooms, visitors will also see the Chairs of Estate, which were used during the first stages of the Coronation, in the Throne Room. Both the Throne Chairs and the Chairs of Estate were made for previous Coronations, and were conserved by Royal Household and Royal Collection Trust conservators, with additional conservation and new embroidery by the Royal School of Needlework.
In the Palace’s State Entrance portico, visitors will see the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which conveyed Their Majesties to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation.
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.