Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother, is hosting a spectacular display of royal robes, 80 years since the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother. Several dresses, robes and coronets worn during the coronation ceremony on 12 May 1937 have been loaned to Glamis Castle for a stunning exhibition.
The exhibition was officially opened by Mary, Dowager Countess of Strathmore, who welcomed guests including Lord Airlie, who was a page that day and is, alongside The Queen, one of the last surviving members of the royal procession. In addition to dresses, robes and coronets worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret and the 14th Earl and Countess of Strathmore (the parents of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother), it also includes a sketch by the 14 Earl of Strathmore.
Castle general manager Tommy Baxter said: “The idea came to me last year when I was reading a book about the coronation of King George VI and realised that 2017 would be the 80th anniversary of that historic occasion.
“I wondered if this was being marked in some way by any other royal households in the UK and got in touch with Jonathan Marsden at the Royal Collection.
“He steered me in the right direction and provided the wonderful sketch of Claude, the 14th Earl, which has never been on public display before.
“So many people have come together to make this exhibition something special, and it is very fitting to celebrate the 80th anniversary of such a significant historic event at the childhood home of the Queen Mother, who was crowned that day as Queen Consort alongside her husband King George VI.
“The items are the Queen’s personal property, and it is with her direct permission that they will be on display here at Glamis until the end of October.”
One of the most stunning centrepieces of the exhibition is a five-and-half-metre long robe of estate worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother over a gown designed by Madame Handley Seymour. It was woven on handlooms by the Essex firm of Warner and Sons by forty embroideresses, who worked in shifts of twelve at a time. It took two months to complete. The purple silk velvet is lined with ermine and has ten different types of gold thread. The designs of the thistle of Scotland, the Tudor rose of England, acorns for the UK, the fern of New Zealand, protea of South Africa and a lotus flower symbolising Queen Elizabeth status at the last Empress of India are incorporated.