Queen Elizabeth's Stunning Coronation Dress and Robe Are Going on Display Ahead of Her Platinum Jubilee

The Queen has granted permission for key items from her reign to be shown next summer

Queen Elizabeth in 1953
Queen Elizabeth in her iconic Coronation portrait by Cecil Beaton. Photo: Courtesy Royal Collection Trust

The palace is pulling out Queen Elizabeth's celebration clothes!

As the royals near the Queen's historic Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne for the monarch, she has granted permission for some key objects to be on show.

In three separate exhibitions across the royal palaces next summer, visitors will get to see some of the Queen's most iconic looks from her accession, her coronation and her jubilees (she has already celebrated three — Silver, Golden and Diamond!).

The accession one will be marked during the summer opening of Buckingham Palace from July 22 to October 2, when a series of portraits taken by Dorothy Wilding will be displayed. In 1937, Wilding became the first official female royal photographer when she was appointed to take the portraits at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

The Royal Collection, which runs the exhibitions, says the photographs "are remarkable for their modern, emblematic approach." They also formed the basis of the Queen's image on British postage stamps from 1953 until 1971.

Royal Collection Trust Platinum Jubilee Displays 2022
Royal Collection Trust

In the shots, taken just 20 days after she inherited the throne at the death of her father King George VI on February 6, 1952, she wore the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara.

The much-loved diamond tiara was a gift to the then Princess Elizabeth from her grandmother Queen Mary, when she married Prince Philip in November 1947. (Queen Mary had received it on her own marriage to the future King George V in 1893.)

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Royal Collection Trust Platinum Jubilee Displays 2022
Royal Collection Trust

At Windsor Castle, from July 7 to September 26, visitors will be able to see the magnificent Coronation Dress and the Robe of Estate up close.

The dress, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, was created in the finest white duchesse satin, richly embroidered in a lattice-work effect. It was decorated with the floral emblems — created gold and silver thread and pastel silks, encrusted with seed pearls, sequins and crystals — signifying the nations of the U.K. and the Commonwealth.

Royal Collection Trust Platinum Jubilee Displays 2022
Royal Collection Trust

The magnificent Robe of Estate was made for the Coronation (and seen in an iconic portrait by Cecil Beaton) by the royal robe-makers Ede and Ravenscroft and took 12 embroideresses, using 18 different types of gold thread, more than 3,500 hours to complete from March to May 1953.

According to the Royal Collection, the artisans used purple silk velvet and the goldwork embroidery design features wheat ears and olive branches, symbolizing prosperity and peace, surrounding the crowned intertwined EIIR cipher.

Royal Collection Trust Platinum Jubilee Displays 2022
Royal Collection Trust

The third show at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh from July to September is set to celebrate the Queen's Jubilees. There, visitors will see a display of outfits worn by Her Majesty on occasions to celebrate the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees.

One outfit from royal couturier Sir Hardy Amies was worn when the monarch marked her Silver Jubilee. Amies designed a dress, coat and stole in pink silk crepe and chiffon that the Queen wore with a matching hat designed by Simone Mirman. The Queen wore the entire enesemble at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on June 7, 1977, marking the 25th anniversary of her accession.

Royal Collection Trust Platinum Jubilee Displays 2022
The mews at Buckingham Palace. Royal Collection Trust

There are also two new exhibitions — Japan: Courts and Culture at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace and Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse — planned to showcase some of the finest works in the Royal Collection. The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, where historic carriages still used for royal occasions are on display, will open to the public for the first time since the fall of 2020.

After a year when visitors were scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic, the palace hopes hundreds of thousands of visitors will be able to return to see the exhibitions. Tickets for the shows can be found on the Royal Collection website.

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