An exhibition at Buckingham Palace this summer will showcase the christening gown worn by both Prince George and his younger sister Princess Charlotte. Starting on July 23, visitors will be able to have a closer look at the spectacular lace garment, a must-see in the special collection titled 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe.'
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The white lace and silk-satin gown is a replica of the one worn by the month-old Princess Elizabeth in 1926. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria for her first child in 1841, and was worn by over 60 royal babies up until 2004, when it became too fragile to wear. The Queen then commissioned her personal dresser Angela Kelly to create an exact replica, which was first used in 2008 for the christening of James, Viscount Severn, and which will be featured in the Buckingham Palace display.
Other key items in the exhibit include the Queen's beautiful ivory silk wedding dress from her 1947 marriage to Prince Philip, and the embroidered satin gown she wore for her coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953. More recent pieces include the vivid green wool crepe and silk dress and coat she chose for Trooping the Colour in June 2016.
Also on display for the first time are the outfits used for the Queen's unexpected and memorable role in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. Two beaded peach cocktail dresses were created by Angela Kelly for the spectacle – one for the monarch, and one for her stunt double – and both will be on show.
"The second piece was made in complete secrecy and even those working on the piece did not understand why they were working on two completely identical dresses," Caroline de Guitaut, curator of the exhibition, revealed. "The seamstresses had no idea."
The Buckingham Palace exhibit is one of three displays honouring the Queen's sense of style in celebration of her 90th birthday. They are situated at each of her three official residences; the exhibit at the Palace of Holyroodhouse is open from 21 April to 16 October 2016, the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace from 23 July to 2 October 2016, and at Windsor Castle from 17 September 2016 to 8 January 2017.
A total of around 150 outfits are on show and the content of each exhibition has been chosen to tie in with its location, with Holyroodhouse focusing on the use of tartan in royal dress, and Windsor Castle displaying some of the magnificent evening gowns the Queen has worn on official occasions.
"I think she understands that it's her 90th birthday and visitors to the palace are always excited to see something that's very closely associated with the Queen and obviously clothes provide that. They're very immediate and people can relate to them," remarked Caroline.
"She has come to see it already and she found it very interesting to see all these things again and the film footage. She was very interested in the way it was all set up. She seemed very engaged and seemed to enjoy it.
"I think she always likes to see her wedding dress and coronation dress - they're obviously very significant in her life."