Celebrate The Queen’s 90th birthday with a visit to a new exhibition at Buckingham Palace

Mark this very special occasion in The Queen’s life by seeing the largest display of her dresses and hats ever exhibited…

Over the course of ten decades, from the 1920s to the 2010s, The Queen has been dressed by icons of British fashion design, from Sir Norman Hartnell to Hardy Amies and Ian Thomas. Now a new exhibition offers the chance to see the largest collection of outfits The Queen has worn over her lifetime in the stunning new exhibition Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe at Buckingham Palace.

The exhibition looks at how The Queen’s clothes have reflected the particular requirements of royal couture, whether it be for ceremonial or military occasions, formal weddings or christenings, or items she has worn for personal family events. The two highlights of the exhibition are her wedding dress and her Coronation dress, both designed by Hartnell.


The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on their wedding day.

Her wedding at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947 saw The Queen wear a dress made from ivory silk and decorated with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls. It also incorporates a 4.6m star-patterned train, inspired by the famous Renaissance painting of Primavera by Botticelli. Interestingly, despite the opulence of the dress, The Queen patiently collected clothing coupons to help pay for it, in recognition of the fact that Britain was still subject to rationing at the time.

Recommended videos for you

The dress for The Queen’s Coronation in 1953, just six years later, was made from the finest white duchesse satin. It was richly embroidered in a lattice-work effect with an iconographic scheme of national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold and silver thread and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with seed pearls, sequins and crystals. Hartnell even added an extra four-leaf shamrock on the left side for good luck, so that The Queen’s hand could rest upon it during the ceremony.


The Queen’s Coronation dress, designed by Norman Hartnell.

As well as Hartnell’s iconic gowns, The Queen’s support of British couture and millinery on a world stage is also highlighted throughout the exhibition, with important pieces on show by renowned designers Sir Hardy Amies and Ian Thomas.

Fashioning a Reign includes two other exhibitions of The Queen’s attire at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (until 16 October) and at Windsor Castle (17 September to 8 January), with each display carefully tailored to its location.

Book your tickets here

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016