The hidden meaning behind Camilla's coronation outfit
The details of the Queen Consort's coronation outfit have been being teased over the past few weeks, but when finally revealed at Westminster Abbey this morning, it did not disappoint—combining a nod to tradition with more modern and personal touches.
Arriving at the service, Camilla wore a crimson velvet and ermine Robe of State originally made for Queen Elizabeth's Coronation, conserved and adjusted by London's oldest tailors Ede and Ravenscroft.
But it is underneath this historic garment that Camilla's personal story begins. Her ivory, silver and gold embroidered Coronation dress was created by British designer Bruce Oldfield, a house that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and with whom Camilla has a longstanding relationship.
Simple, tailored and cut from Peau de Soie, a silk with a dull lustre finish, the fabric was woven by Stephen Walters in Suffolk, England.
The dress featured Oldfield's signature paneling, a short train and fine yet intricate embroidery of " daisy chains, forget-me-nots, celandine and scarlet pimpernel, representing the King and Queen Consorts affection for nature and the British countryside," said the Palace in a statement.
"I am honored to have been asked to design such an historic gown for Her Majesty. This really is the most important commission of my life. Very exciting and very special," Oldfield told Women's Wear Daily.
"An interesting element of the gown is that it reflects a more fluid and modern representation of the king and the queen consort's affection for nature and the British countryside."
Bruce Oldfield OBE was born in London to an Irish mother and a Jamaican father but spent the first 13 years of his life in the north of England with his foster mother Violet Masters, a seamstress who began his love of sewing.
In September 1973, after studying at Central Saint Martin's fashion school in London, Oldfield began designing for the Henri Bendel department store in New York, followed by a stint in Paris before creating his own label and then, some years later in 1984, opening his first shop in London.
A long-time favorite of celebrities such as Bianca Jagger and Charlotte Rampling, Oldfield's connections with the royal family go back to his relationship with Princess Diana which began in 1981. Oldfield designed many of her iconic gowns in the 1980s and his sharp suiting and flattering dresses from the time have found favor with a new audience, with stars such as Taylor Swift and Rihanna having been seen in his vintage pieces.
Now working out of a studio on the aptly named Prince of Wales Drive in Battersea, south London, Oldfield, who is 72-years-old, told The Guardian he has been designing for Camilla for 13-years, "so for more years than I (designed for) Diana actually."
To leave, Camilla donned another Ede and Ravenscroft cape, what's known as the Robe of Estate made specially for her in rich purple velvet. It was designed and hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework — a hand embroidery school based at Hampton Court Palace in west London, of which Camilla is patron.
Among the 24 plants sewn in gold thread were lily of the valley which featured in Her Majesty's wedding bouquet (and is also known to be the favorite flower of Queen Elizabeth II), lady's mantle, myrtle, maidenhair fern, cornflowers and delphiniums — one of the King's favorite flowers and the flower for the month of July, the birth month of the Queen Consort. The national emblems of the rose, thistle and shamrock also appear.
For the first time, the robe also contained embroidery of insects; bees, butterflies, beetles and a caterpillar — in keeping with the sartorial theme of pastoral appreciation.
The Queen Consort's necklace, by Garrard, was the same as worn by Queen Elizabeth at her coronation in 1953.