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Fashion

Historic Royal Palaces offers free online fashion course

An Allegory of the Tudor Succession
Yale Center for British Art [Public domain], Wiki Commons

These days we’re all looking for new things to entertain ourselves at home and if you’ve got a passion for history and royal fashion, a free online course in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces is now underway.

The five-week-long “A History of Royal Fashion” course can be followed at your own pace and is offered through FutureLearn and the University of Glasgow. It invites you to “explore the styles of monarchs and their families and the impact of their clothing on society” by learning about five different royal dynasties: the Tudors, Stuarts, Georgians, Victorians, and Windsors.

From Anne Boleyn’s French hoods to Diana, Princess of Wales’s evening gowns, the course’s instructors will take students behind the scenes at iconic locations such as the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and the Banqueting House with exclusive access to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection.

Historic Royal Palaces shared a tweet with one of these inside looks at the Collection, posting a photo of 1970s and 80s fashion sketches created for The Queen by designer Ian Thomas.


“Ahead of events, Thomas would be invited to submit designs, and HM would choose her favourites and suggest changes,” Historic Royal Palaces tweeted. “Thomas famously declared that ‘The Queen is always right’ — after decades of selecting outfits for royal duties, she usually knows what works best!”

Virtual learners will be shown these types of behind-the-scenes details by experts including Eleri Lynn, Curator of the Dress Collection at Historic Royal Palaces; Sally Tuckett, a lecturer in dress and textile histories at the University of Glasgow; Claudia Acott Williams, a Historic Royal Palaces curator working at Kensington Palace; Victoria Price, senior lecturer in early modern theatre and drama at the University of Glasgow; and Matthew Storey, a collections curator at Historic Royal Palaces.

Sign up for “A History of Royal Fashion” on the FutureLearn website. Access to the course is available free for seven weeks but upgraded options are available for £52 ($59 USD) including a certificate of achievement and unlimited access to the course for as long as it’s on the FutureLearn site.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.