Fans of Queen Elizabeth II and her royal style will get to see her wedding and coronation gowns for the first time. The style icon’s gowns — one from her wedding with Prince Philip in 1947, and the other from her coronation in 1953 — will be exhibited at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace in July. Both the gowns belonging to the nonagenarian royal were designed by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell.
For the first time both the gowns will be displayed together at and will serve as the show stoppers at an exhibition titled 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace that will begin from July 23. Hartnell, who died in 1979 wanted to make “the most beautiful dress” he had ever made, when he was asked to design a wedding gown for the then Princess Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s ivory silk gown was embellished with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls. The iconic gown featured a 15 foot star-patterned train, woven in Braintree in Essex and inspired by the famous Renaissance painting of Primavera by Botticelli, symbolizing rebirth and growth after the war. During the time the queen got married, there was rationing in Britain and so she collected clothing coupons to pay for the dress.
After a gap of almost six years, Elizabeth wore another gown by Hartnell, one of his finest creations for her coronation at the Westminster Abbey ceremony in June 1953. The dress was made of the finest white duchesse satin, richly embroidered with a scheme of national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold and silver thread and pastel-colored silks, encrusted with seed pearls, sequins and crystals. The couturier had added an added four-leaf shamrock on the left side of the skirt for good luck, which Elizabeth was ignorant of.
The exhibition will chart important events in the queen’s life such as state occasions, international tours and family celebrations, focusing on the outfits she wore throughout the years. The display will also highlight Elizabeth's support of British couture and millinery. Three exhibitions have been organized to celebrate the queen’s 90th birthday this year — one at Buckingham Palace, one at Windsor Castle and one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Around 150 outfits will be shown at the exhibition.