Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Queen's Coronation 1953 * Buckingham Palace * Until 29 September 2013

The largest exhibition ever mounted about the Coronation of Her Majesty The Queen opened at Buckingham Palace on Saturday, 27 July 2013. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of this historic event, The Queen’s Coronation 1953 at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace (27 July – 29 September) brings together an unprecedented array of the dress, uniform and robes worn on Coronation Day.

The Queen’s white satin Coronation Dress was created by the British couturier Norman Hartnell (1901-79). The design incorporates an iconographic scheme of embroidered national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold, silver and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with pearls, crystals and sequins. The exhibition at Buckingham Palace also includes Hartnell’s original designs for the Dress and his embroidery samples.

The Queen’s Robe of Estate, worn when Her Majesty departed from Westminster Abbey for the Palace, is of English purple silk-velvet and is more than 6.5 metres long from the shoulder to the tip of the train. It is exquisitely embroidered with wheat ears and olive branches, representing peace and prosperity, and terminates in The Queen’s crowned cipher. The embroidery, which includes 18 different types of gold thread, was designed and executed by the Royal School of Needlework, a task that took 3,500 hours to complete between March and June 1953. The Royal School of Needlework employed its policy of never a seat goes cold, which meant that if an embroiderer left the workroom she was immediately replaced.
I have to say I rather like this cartoon invite made especially for the young Prince Charles and signed by Norfolk E.M (Earl Marshall). The video link tell you more about the exhibition and for more details, just click here.
When I was small I had a little book of the Coronation with an actual piece of velvet which came off the same production as the velvet used for the Queen's cloak. My sisters who were older than me decided to get Coronated one day in the local church - this was in the days when churches were left open until dusk. They were like naughty mice and used the altar cloth for a cloak and the chalice for an orb and they processed up and down the church aisle looking very regal I'm sure. Then the verger came along and closed up and went home for his tea and the two little sisters were locked in the church! They tried casting Holy Water at the door and when that failed they resorted to Open Sesame and other dark arts, deary me. Fortunately they found the light switch and had switched lights on and the verger looking up from his mug of tea in his cottage thought it was he who had left the lights on and hurried back to the church to switch them off. There he found my sisters snuggled up together up in a nest of pew cushions and kneelers fast asleep. My mother and father had been frantic with worry.....


  1. What a wonderful story about your sisters..

  2. Loved your story - I laughed as I pictured your sisters marching up & down being crowned!! Such a little girl thing to do. I especially laughed at them trying to unlock the door with Holy water. I took a class from a needlework teacher who was a pupil in the Royal school when the Queen's robe was being stitched. She got to work on it and everyone was given a little pillow made from the velvet and gold threads as a keepsake. She brought it to the class to show & we all got to touch it! Almost as good as touching the robe itself!! Lori