Today’s coronation was a display of tradition and pageantry, to formally crown King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
Just one small element of the day was the clothing and jewellery seen on The Queen, each with its own story. But they also indicate how a dash of personality is added to a day steeped in ancient ritual and ceremony.
Camilla chose one of her favourite designers, Bruce Oldfield, to create her coronation gown. In white silk, following tradition, the dress was almost a coat dress, with underskirt, bracelet-length sleeves and a v-neckline. The fabric was woven in Suffolk.
With ‘signature’ Oldfield panelling that gives a fitted look to the bodice, the dress moves to a skirt with a short train, echoing the shape of the robes.
It is covered with gold and silver embroidery of wildflowers: daisies, forget-me-nots, celandine and scarlet pimpernel flowers, interspersed with celebratory bunting. The hemline features UK floral emblems – a rose, a thistle, a daffodil and a shamrock.
Personal elements could be seen with Camilla’s cypher front and centre near the hem of the skirt, and two embroidered dogs to reflect her own rescue Jack Russells, Bluebell and Beth.
Amidst the scrolls and vines, you might also have spotted names. These are her children and grandchildren, notably including her pages, Gus, Louis and Freddie.
Not only the embroidered dogs on Camilla's skirt, but family names too – Gus, Freddy, Tom, Lola and Laura (it looks like). Lovely personal touch.
— Victoria Howard 🇪🇺🌹 (@TheRoyalExpert) May 6, 2023
Her shoes were made in the same fabric, also featuring her cypher on the toe.
The Robe of State was originally made for Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, of crimson red velvet and was conserved with adjustments made by robemakers at Ede and Ravenscroft.
Her Robe of Estate was new, however, in regal purple velvet embroidered with floral emblems and insects! This was to reflect her and Charles’ love of nature. Bees, butterflies, a beetle and caterpillar, plus cornflower, Lily of the Valley, which myrtle, delphinium, Maidenhead fern, hawthorn and oak leaves can all be seen.
The late Queen’s featured olive leaves.
The show-stopping was made for Queen Mary in 1911 for her coronation alongside George V, and adapted for the new Queen.
She had four of the arches removed, and worked two of the late Queen’s brooches into the crown: the heart-shaped Cullinan V brooch in the front, central arch, the Cullinan IV just beneath that, and the Cullinan III stone in the cross pattee on top. III and IV are worn together to form one piece.
We also saw the Coronation Necklace, which was once Queen Victoria’s, although its unclear if Camilla wore the earrings; she does not have her ears pierced so the originals would have needed modification.