Coronation’s 60th: The most perfectly regal dress

A look back at the Queen’s sartorial show-stopper

There are dresses that wear the woman—think of Jennifer Lawrence struggling in an outsized Dior gown at the Oscars—and then there are women who wear dresses. Queen Elizabeth II fall into the latter category. She’s never totally au courant but never totally out of vogue. Rather she’s adopted a uniform that works for her: a bright coat and matching hat, accessorized with pearls, a glittering brooch, gloves and plain shoes and purse. For big formal events, she pulls out all the stops, starting with a tiara and spectacular gems.

But on June 2, 1953 for her coronation, the Queen turned to master couturier Norman Hartnell to create what is certainly the most perfect dress she’s ever worn. Only Hartnell could have dreamed it up. Only she could have carried it off. He spent months researching the topic, and produced nearly a dozen sketches before finalizing the design. The white silk dress, heavily embroidered with the emblems of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland as well as Commonwealth countries like Canada (yup, there are maple leafs on it), served to emphasize the responsibility being placed onto the then-26-year-old monarch. Made of English silk with a sweetheart neckline and short sleeves, it was so heavy that three layers of horsehair were used, so as to lighten it enough that the Queen could move freely through the complicated manoeuvres in Westminster Abbey. It was delivered to Buckingham Palace days before the big event. (The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor has a lovely piece on the dress.)

The Telegraph has rare coloured film from the event which shows off the dress:

Interestingly, that wasn’t the only time the dress would be worn by the Queen, including the opening of Parliaments in New Zealand, Australia and Canada in 1957. This summer, Buckingham Palace’s exhibition will focus on the events of 60 years ago, especially the outfits. And the highlight will be her coronation dress.

Hartnell’s influence didn’t end there. As the Royal Collection says, “Norman Hartnell (1901-79) was responsible for designing The Queen’s Coronation Dress and Robe, the dresses worn by all the principal ladies of the immediate Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and the outfits for the Maids of Honour. Hartnell’s influence on Coronation Day also extended to the outfits worn by the peeresses. According to the Earl Marshal’s orders, peeresses were expected to wear Robes of State and coronets according to their rank, together with kirtles and coronation dress. Those who were not in possession of this attire, and who were below the rank of countess, could wear alternative robes and dress. Hartnell submitted designs for both alternative dress and head coverings, as his original watercolour and pencil sketches in exhibition show.”

Hartnell, who died in 1979, is known primarily for designing the Queen’s wedding dress and then her coronation dress. But he was also instrumental in establishing London as a leading fashion centre. As Linda Grant stated in the Telegraph, “Hartnell not only designed one of the most important dresses of the 20th century, the Queen’s coronation outfit, but was single-handedly responsible for turning London into a design centre, if not to rival Paris, at least to challenge its sole, overwhelming supremacy. For until Hartnell, British designers such as Charles Worth and Edward Molyneux either moved their operations to Paris, or stayed at home and focused on what even the French grudgingly acknowledged the English were renowned for: tailoring, particularly the tweed day suit so essential in draughty, damp English country houses. There was no British couture and, if you wanted to dress well, you had to cross the Channel.”

Buckingham Palace’s state rooms will be open from July 27 to Sept. 29. Tickets are on sale now. If you’re still deciding between London or another destination, then chose the former. This is one fashion exhibit that is unlikely to be seen again in a very, very long time.




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Coronation’s 60th: The most perfectly regal dress

  1. how anyone care for this lady or what she wear the Queen IT WEARING NO honor and the idea she care for people

    • I see a bunch of English words, but did you intend to formulate a cogent thought?

      • 6 million Jews died in the hands of Nazis and their followers Mary. mary you are a Nazi and anti-semite. God will punish you.

  2. Never forget. 6 million Jews were gassed, burned alive and minced with canned beef in the holocaust of World War 2. The decomposing bodies of 6 million Jews permeate the air around Auschwitz to this date.
    I visited the Auschwitz concentration camp 2 months ago, and I can hear faint screams coming from nowhere. The discarded clothes and the dried blood on the floor sent chills.

    The 6 million Jews were forced to do slave labor and were punished 6 million times worse than Africans in the Slave Trade (those heinous Christian white men).

    Anyone who flags, votes down or questions my comments is a Holocaust denialist. I shall send my complaints of anti-semitism to the police who will notify the B’nai Brith and Israeli Mossad to take serious action against the anti-Semites.

    Christians, Muslims and anti-Semites are the 21st century barbarians and terrorists!

    • The full weight of the Jewish Zionist
      lobby has been brought to bear on Polish historian professor Krzysztof
      Jasiewicz for daring to reveal some truthful aspects about Jewish
      extremist involvement in war crimes during the Second World War.

      Professor Jasiewicz, 61, has been fired
      from his position as head of the Department of Analysis of Eastern
      Issues at the Polish Academy of Sciences following pressure from the
      usual Jewish extremist organizations, including the “Simon Wiesenthal
      Center,” the Israeli ambassador in Poland, and others who all “demanded
      action.” All this simply because a Polish professor told the historical,
      documented truth that just as some Poles participated in war crimes
      against Jews, that some Jews did also.

      In response to this Jewish pressure, the
      Warsaw city prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the
      remarks, and prepared charges of “hate speech” and “insult to the Jewish
      community.” If convicted, he faces up to three years imprisonment.

      Imagine, one of the most respected
      academics in Europe being threatened with years of prison for simply
      voicing an historical opinion. Once again the hollow claim that we honor
      free speech in the West is exposed for the sham it is. We have free
      speech on just about any subject other than issues important to the
      Zionist agenda. Put simply, We do not have free speech for any opinion
      that the Jewish extremists don’t like.

      Professor Jasiewicz’s “crime” was to simply say in an article in the Polish magazine Focus that some Jews took an active part in the murder of Jews during World War II as did some Poles.

      The article, titled “Are the Jews
      themselves guilty?” saw professor Jasiewicz quoted as saying that “This
      nonsense about Jews being killed only by Poles was created to hide the
      biggest Jewish secret: The scale of the German crime was only possible
      because some Jews themselves participated in the murder of their own
      people.

      “The Jews have a problem because they
      are convinced they are the chosen people. They feel they are entitled to
      interpret everything, even Catholic doctrine.” They demand that they be
      the sole interpreters of any history concerning themselves in relation
      to other peoples.

      “I am convinced that there is no point in dialogue with these intolerant Jews, because it doesn’t lead anywhere.”

      Commenting on the massacres of Jews by
      their Catholic Polish neighbors during the war, he said, “I am
      completely convinced that the crime at Jedwabne and other pogroms were
      not committed to seize Jewish property or as revenge for the many
      terrible things that Jews did to the Poles in the past. The pogroms were
      mostly motivated by great fear of the Jews.” (Poles were well aware of
      the huge Jewish role in the secret police and in the murder of tens of
      thousands of Polish officers at Katyn Forest and they were afraid that
      they would aid the Bolshevik murderers to come)

      In the 1941 Jedwabne pogrom, some 340
      Polish Jews were murdered and buried in two mass graves. A 2003 official
      investigation found local Poles, not Germans, were the culprits.

      “These desperate murderers may have told
      themselves that they were doing terrible things, but they felt that
      their grandchildren would be grateful to them,” professor Jasiewicz
      continued.

      “I think that such an interpretation is possible — though it does not absolve them of the crime.”

      “For many generations, the Jews, not the
      Catholic Church, worked to bring the Holocaust about by their actions
      which inflamed populations everywhere in Europe.. It looks like the Jews
      haven’t learned their lesson and haven’t come to any conclusions yet,”
      he added.

      In a further interview with the Do Rzeczy
      magazine about the controversy which flared up after he made these
      remarks, professor Jasiewicz added that “The Jews accuse us [Poles] of
      the worst of everything; they are violent and arrogant against us. Our
      role in this dialogue is limited to apologizing.”

  3. I’m not sure how the holocaust and Jewish issues link into this story (on second thought, it doesn’t link at all. Do I detect some anal retentiveness or mental instability in these comments?

    • may b that is why the blog is non-functional…people are scared sh*t to comment…

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