This Museum of Costume exhibition, which opened on 12 December
2001, gave visitors a glimpse into the glittering wardrobe of Her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The exhibition was the Museum of
Costume's celebration to mark fifty years of The Queen's reign.
Her Majesty had given her special permission for these dresses,
which have never before been on public exhibition, to come to
Bath. Curators at the Museum of Costume, working with
colleagues from Historic Royal Palaces and The Royal Collection,
carefully selected fourteen dresses in order to turn the spotlight
on the complex world of costuming the Head of State.
"We are thrilled and honoured that Her Majesty has agreed to
lend these magnificent dresses to the Museum" said Penelope
Ruddock, Curator of the Museum of Costume. "2002 is a landmark year
for the country and I know that our visitors will be fascinated and
entranced by this once in a lifetime chance to see these
The exhibition showed how Her Majesty must wear dresses in strong
colours, frequently with only the subtlest decoration, so that she
can always be visible. One of the highlights of the exhibition was
a bright yellow silk dress worn to a White House banquet during the
State Visit to celebrate America's Bicentenary in 1976.
While The Queen's dresses must make a splendid impression, they
must also be practical. The Queen is always in the spotlight
and everything that she does, from getting out of a car to walking
up and down steps, is always under scrutiny. It is the job of
the royal fashion designers to ensure that both needs are
seamlessly met. The exhibition included a glittering yellow
dress embroidered in sequins, beads and diamanté designed by Sir
Hardy Amies. This dress was worn to a special performance of The
Mikado at the Saville Theatre in London in 1968.
The Jubilee! exhibition included dresses designed by perhaps the
most famous royal dressmaker, Sir Norman Hartnell, including a
stunning white silk dress encrusted with pearls, gold beads and
sequins in a scalloped design.
Decorative detail from one of the Queen's
dresses on display
Her Majesty The Queen in a Norman Hartnell
evening dress during the royal visit to Ghana in 1961.
Courtesy: Camera Press Ltd