If there’s one thing we love about the royals, it’s their clothes. From The Queen’s unending range of hats, to the Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity wear, we’re fascinated by what the other half wear. With the news that Princess Diana’s most famous dresses are to be auctioned for thousands of pounds this month, we’re looking at some of the places in London where you can see attire worn by the royal family – from recently worn clothes to much older garments.
One of the best places to view generations of female royal fashions is at Kensington Palace, where a wealth of garments are on display. You can, for example, see a magnificent collection of royal wedding dresses, or marvel at the clothes included in the Victoria Revealed exhibition (including the dress pictured above). Adult tickets are £15.
This summer, Buckingham Palace is the perfect place to begin your exploration of royal fashions through the ages. From 27 July to 29 September, the palace’s State Rooms will host a celebratory display to mark 60 years since The Queen’s coronation. This will feature a range of dresses, robes and uniforms worn by those involved on the day, as well as the chance to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the historic occasion. Keep an eye out for the charming outfits of Prince Charles and Princess Anne, which provide a pleasing contrast to the adult costumes on display. Adult tickets are £19.
It may not be strictly an item of royal attire, but the replica of King Henry VIII’s crown at Hampton Court Palace is undoubtedly worth a look. Made by the crown jeweller, this stunning piece is on display in the Royal Pew and is crafted to the specifications set out in the King’s servants’ inventories. The original was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War. Adult tickets to Hampton Court Palace are £16.
Museum of London
As you walk through the many galleries of the Museum of London, you’ll notice various displays of clothing that provide extra context to the eras under scrutiny. Some of these garments belonged to the royal family of the time and within the museum’s collection are royal clothes ranging from the mid-17th century to the mid-20th. The most intricate items in their collection, however, may sadly never be on display. Entry is free.
The Tower of London
The most compelling exhibit at the Tower of London is undoubtedly the Crown Jewels. An important symbol of the British monarchy, they are regularly worn by The Queen in state ceremonies and include some of the world’s most beautiful diamonds. Alongside these spectacular adornments you can also view royal armour in the White Tower and King George V’s military uniform in the Fusilier Museum. Entry costs £21.45 for adults.
Visitors to Kew Palace can see George III’s (1738-1820) waistcoat on display. Made from pale blue damask, the waistcoat was designed for the monarch towards the end of his life and was especially crafted with his comfort in mind. You can check out the long sleeves and fine workmanship on this garment from 2 April when the Palace re-opens. Adult tickets are £6.