Bridesmaid’s dress from Queen Elizabeth II’s up for auction at Christie’s

The dress, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, was commissioned by the Queen Mother and was once worn by Kate Moss.

The bridesmaid dress worn by the late Lady Elizabeth Longman (née Lambart) at the wedding of her lifelong friend the late Queen to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 will be among the highlights of Christie’s Exceptional Sale on July 2.

Sir Norman Hartnell was commissioned by the Queen Mother to design both the bride’s wedding dress and the eight bridesmaids’ dresses; with a dose of inspiration from Botticelli’s Primavera, mixed in with high-Victorian style, all had floral motifs that were symbolic of post-war Britain’s regrowth. The results were obviously pleasing, as he went on to design the Queen’s Coronation gown a few years later.

The dress, designed by Norman Hartnell. Credit: Christie’s Images

This is the only one of the bridesmaids’ dresses ever to be sold; it was exhibited at the Fashion Museum in Bath from the 1980s to the 2000s and was once even worn by Kate Moss. Apparently, Lady Elizabeth happened to be staying at a private house where the supermodel was doing a photoshoot; Ms Moss said: ‘Meeting Lady Elizabeth and wearing her dress, that had such a wonderful heritage, was a magical moment for me. I felt like I was wearing a piece of history.’

Lady Elizabeth was the daughter of Field Marshal the 10th Earl of Cavan and his wife Joan, who was a lady-in-waiting to the then Princess Royal. Lady Elizabeth’s relationship to the late Queen, which lasted throughout their lives, began when they were children.

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‘Christie’s is privileged to be offering this evocative and rare example of royal fashion history,’ comments specialist Benedict Winter. ‘This beautiful dress epitomises the glamour of Norman Hartnell’s commissions and the hope that the late Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s wedding gave to post-war Britain.’ The dress (estimate £30,000–£50,000) can be seen at a pre-sale exhibition at Christie’s, SW1, from June 28 to July 2.

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