During the last year, I have been lucky enough to have been present at some of the celebrations held to mark the Queen’s 90 th birthday.
At each of the events, the Queen was immaculately turned out, as one would expect from someone who earlier this month was named as one of the best dressed women in the world by the fashion magazine Vanity Fair.
The outfit that sticks out most in my mind is the vivid green dress and coat designed by Stewart Parvin with the matching hat with contrasting bright pink hydrangeas designed by the Queen’s milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan which Her Majesty wore for this year’s Trooping the Colour ceremony.
The Queen’s clothes have to stand out and the green colour certainly did that against the row of scarlet tunics of the soldiers on parade.
This outfit was one of many which was on display as part of a special exhibition at the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Each year the palace is open during the summer and features an exhibition in the Ballroom as its centrepiece.
The Queen’s life story was told through the clothes that she has worn right from the replica of the robe she wore for her baptism when she was only a few weeks old in 1926.
The original, which the then Princess Elizabeth wore was made for the baptism of Queen Victoria’s daughter, the Princess Royal in 1840 and was retired after it was used for the Queen’s youngest granddaughter, Lady Louise Windsor in 2004.
In 1936, Princess Elizabeth’s life changed dramatically with the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII and her father became king. The outfits that she and her sister, Princess Margaret, worn for the coronation of their parents in May the following year.
The war years were represented by the ATS uniform that Princess Elizabeth wore in the closing months of the war where she learned to drive and maintain a variety of vehicles.
There were the iconic dresses that she wore for both her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 and at her coronation in 1953, both designed by Norman Hartnell both featuring a huge amount of intricate embroidery.
There were other famous outfits including the pink outfit worn for the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977 with a matching brimless hat featuring 25 matching flowers and the blue outfit which she wore for the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002 as well as those that she has worn for royal weddings including those of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips in 1973, the Princes and Princess of
Wales in 1981, the Duke and Duchess of York in 1986 and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
The one which stood out most for me was the outfit worn for Princess Alexandra’s wedding in 1963. The Queen wore a pale green dress by Hartnell with silk flowers and embroidery with a matching chiffon coat. The embroidery was very intricate but does not show up well in pictures of the event.
Although this exhibition has now ended, there is a companion one running at Windsor Castle until Sunday January 8, which will feature outfits including the pantomime costumes she and Princess Margaret wore during the Second World War, outfits worn at the weddings of the Earl and Countess of Wessex in 1999 and some of the casual outfits she has worn for riding over the years.
For more information, visit www.royalcollectiontrust.org.uk.