I am back with a post covering a quick fashion update, as well as details on the Coronation, now just a bit more than three weeks away.
We begin with a look at a video I forgot to include in recent posts. It shows the Princess of Wales speaking about the Shaping Us campaign with Richard Walker, CEO of Iceland stores.
The foundations for so many of the soft skills businesses are looking for in their workplaces are developed in the earliest years of our lives.
Great to chat with @icelandrichard all about our #ShapingUs campaign with @earlychildhood
▶️ https://t.co/tr5Wbrcwy2 pic.twitter.com/dMwRpYp0GG
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) March 25, 2023
The Princess and Mr. Walker were taped at an Iceland store in Buckinghamshire; the video was released at the end of March.
In the first part of the chat, the pair discussed how businesses such as Iceland can aid early years development for children so they can build skills which will help them excel in their careers in later life.
During the conversation she discussed with Mr Walker how businesses can support children and their carers to help set the foundations for key employability skills ‘in the earliest years of our lives’.
Now to the Coronation. Banners are flying.
Scaffolding is being erected.
And preparations are well underway at Westminster Abbey. The media was invited to a preview at the Abbey on Wednesday.
One of the items on display: the Coronation Chair.
Also called St. Edward’s Chair or King Edward’s Chair, the piece was created for the Coronation of King Edward II in 1308. Twenty-six monarchs, including Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, have been crowned in the chair.
The Coronation Chair is the oldest piece of furniture in the United Kingdom which is still used for its original purpose.
The chair has left the Abbey on very few occasions. When monarchy was in question, it still held its significance as the chair that Oliver Cromwell chose to be installed upon as Lord Protector in Westminster Hall. During the Second World War, it was evacuated to Gloucester Cathedral in order to avoid any damage from the Blitz.
The Abbey notes
, “Most of the graffiti on the back part of the Chair is the result of Westminster schoolboys and visitors carving their names in the 18th and 19th centuries.”
Last week, an image showing the invitation was released.
One of the most dominant elements of the invitation is the vibrant Green Man, “an ancient figure from British folklore, symbolic of spring and rebirth, to celebrate the new reign.” The invitations are being printed on recycled card stock with gold foil detailing. More from the official coronation website
British wildflower meadow bordering the invitation features lily of the valley, cornflowers, wild strawberries, dog roses, bluebells, and a sprig of rosemary for remembrance, together with wildlife including a bee, a butterfly, a ladybird, a wren and a robin. Flowers appear in groupings of three, signifying The King becoming the third monarch of his name.
The invitation was designed by Andrew Jamieson, “a heraldic artist and manuscript illuminator whose work is inspired by the chivalric themes of Arthurian legend. Mr. Jamieson is a Brother of the Art Workers’ Guild, of which The King is an Honorary Member.” Below, an image Mr. Jamieson shared on Twitter.
One of the biggest topics of conversation is the dress code for the event. Many will remember images of the late Queen at her 1953 coronation, seen below in the iconic Cecil Beaton photo marking the day.
Sir Norman Hartnell designed the Queen’s gown.
A closer look at some of the embroidery on the gown.
King Charles is reportedly preparing to swap the stockings and breeches worn at coronations by his male predecessors for a military uniform, possibly that of Admiral of the Fleet, which he wore for the State Opening of Parliament last May.
Below, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at the State Opening of Parliament.
While Charles III will begin the ceremony in the Robe of State, he will leave Westminster Abbey as a crowned King and wearing a sumptuous Robe of Estate.
Most robes are made anew for each coronation. The current exceptions are the Supertunica, which was made for George V’s 1911 coronation, and the Robe Royal, which was made for George IV’s coronation in 1821.
Below, the Sovereign’s Coronation Robes (the Supertunica And Imperial Mantle) as displayed at the Tower of London in 1994.
Embed from Getty Images
In the Cecil Beaton photo above, you see the Queen wearing the Robe of Estate, crafted of purple silk and velvet. Below, a full-length view of the robe during last year’s Platinum Jubilee exhibition at Windsor Castle.
Royal Central also notes, “…it’s not yet been announced whether King Charles III will have a new Robe of Estate or whether he will reuse that of his grandfather. King George VI’s Robe of Estate was much less heavily decorated than the one worn by Queen Elizabeth II.”
Oldfield’s design for Camilla is unlikely to be as lavish as the late Queen’s coronation dress which was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell in 1953 and incorporated gold beads, diamantes and pearls. She is a Queen Consort, not the monarch. It will be the grandest outfit we’ve ever seen her in though. This is more than just a dress, it is a historical artefact.
The shape will be traditional and impeccably tailored, likely reflecting the silhouette which Oldfield has honed for Camilla.
Below, the Queen Consort wearing Bruce Oldfield at last month’s state dinner in Germany. I will have more on the jewelry and crowns the King and Queen will wear for their coronations in a future post.
As far as the Princess of Wale, and other royal family members, we don’t yet know what we’ll see. It’s possible the dress code will not require tiaras and/or coronets (small crowns). More from this People story
, which notes, “PEOPLE understands the conversation around the decision is still ongoing.” The report quotes Lauren Kiehna, perhaps better known as The Court Jeweller
Looking back at past coronations, there is a precedent for women in the royal family to wear bejewelled toppers.
“Tiaras were worn by nearly every royal lady at the Queen’s coronation in 1953, as well lots of aristocratic women but times have certainly changed in 70 years,” Lauren Kiehna, writer of The Court Jeweller
“I’m certainly hoping we’ll see coronation tiaras, but it’s possible that Charles is following the example of some of his European counterparts, like the King of the Netherlands, and setting a daytime formal dress code for the event,” says royal jewelry expert, Kiehna.
Some news stories reference tiaras and gowns as the expected attire, while others say they’re not likely to be worn. The following is from a Hello story
While the hope of glittering gowns and diamond-laden tiaras seems less likely than first anticipated, Parliamentary members invited to the coronation have reportedly been told that formal dress is not encouraged.
I expect we’ll hear something definitively on the dress code in the next week.
Also today, word about Prince George’s special role in the ceremony.
He has been selected as one of eight Pages of Honour. The role isn’t limited to participation in the Coronation. As Metro reports, “A Page of Honour is a ceremonial position which requires participation in major ceremonies such as coronations or the State Opening of Parliament.”
The King has selected four pages of honour:
Prince George, age 9
Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13
Nicholas Barclay, 13
Ralph Tollemache, 12
The Queen’s pages of honour include three grandsons and one great-nephew.
Gus and Louis Lopes, age 12 (twin sons of Laura Lopes (née Parker Bowles) and Harry Lopes)
Freddy Parker Bowles, age 13 (son of Tom Parker Bowles and Sara Buys)
Arthur Elliott, age 10 (great nephew)
The Mirror reports, “Prince George will be carrying a ceremonial sword at the King’s coronation” and notes the pages will wear “red coats, white breeches, and stockings.” All three Wales children are expected to ride in the carriage procession following the ceremony that will go from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.
And finally today, there is even a new emoji for the Coronation.
It “depicts the 17th-century gold jeweled St. Edward’s crown with purple velvet cap – the regalia which will be used to crown the king on 6 May,” per The Guardian
. It will appear on Twitter with the use of any of the following hashtags: #Coronation, #CoronationConcert, #CoronationWeekend, and #CoronationBigLunch.
There is no shortage of merchandise marking the event.
I will have a post next week sharing some of the available goodies tied to the upcoming Coronation.
The official coronation website is here.
Westminster Abbey’s microsite for the Coronation is here.
The Royal family has a nifty piece titled 50 Facts about the Queen’s Coronation.
Tatler offers an excellent story on the robes and regalia the King will wear and use on the 6th.
Here is the entire six-minute conversation between the Princess and Mr. Walker.
This is a good backgrounder on the Coronation Chair.