Albumette:  Queen Mary’s Coronation

An Australian newspaper, The Queenslander, ran this description of the dress on 12 August 2011.  "The Queen's dress for the Coronation is a triumph of the designer's and dressmaker's art, and is not only beautiful in general effect, but splendidly achieves the special object of introducing a number of national aod imperial eiribfems to the design without any sacrifice of grace or elegance (says an Engbsih paper). The dress is of tihe princess type, and the skirt has a moderately long train of its own. But over the skirt train trails the magnificent robe which, depending from the shoulders, stretehs away for 18ft., like a huge Court train.

Her Majesty has a tall comnandfing figure, but even so there will be well over four yards of trail wthen the robe is worn. The etfedt of having a moderaitely long and very amply wide seif-train to tihe areas is that tihe dress and robe trains cannot become separated as the wearer walks.

Deep ivory dudhesse satin, made in England by the Queen”s special command and desire, is the material used in the make up of the dress (which warn illustrated in Tbe Queenslander last wedk). The county of Essex has every reason to feel proud of iftie production. The embroidery is truly wonderful work, and shows up ell the more effectuatty because of the simplicity of the style of gown upon which it is placed.

The pattern in the embroidery introduces the rose, the thistle, the shamrock, the Star of India, the lotus lily of India, and English oak leaves and acorns. All these emblems are wrorked in finest gold thread, and in order to produce tihe desired effects of light an shade, eight or ten different threads have been used, the blending being carried out witfh the utmost skill. The lower edge or border of the design, almost corresponding with the edge of the skirt is of oak leaves and acoms. Above this is a band of gold embroidery cleverly worked so as to simulate water, meant to represent  “Seas of Bmpire," upon which float lotus leaves. The use of variations of the gold tftread is particularly effective in the treatment of the acorns and that of the delicate petals of the lillies.

The water band and its oak leaf edging extends completely round the skirt. Springing from the upper edge of the "Seas of Empire" band are representations of the stems of roees and thistles rising towards and culminating in a magnificent Tudor rose at the centre of the corsage. Widely separated at their bases, the stems bend gracefully inward, and at intervals blooms are thrown out. The Star of India end the shamrock are so skilfully introduced into the design as not to appear in any way incongruous or to mar the general effect of growing plants. The frontal design is reproduced on the back of the skirt, although almost totally concealed when the robe, or outer train is in position. The bodice is cut very low, and is edged with gold shamrocks. The sleeves are short - reaching barely to the elbows - and have "V" shaped openings on their outer sides, the two sections of each sleeve thus formed being caught together by huge thistles worked in the finest of gold thread.

The low cut of the bodice gives arnple room for the introduction of a tucker of most exquisite lace, which is inset in two layers. The outer one is of delicate gold thread, hand-woven into a splendid lace(?), while the inner one is of real Innis-Mac Saint. A white edge of the latter shows above the gold lace - and gives a delight fully soft and charming finish. Filmy hand-made lace of fine gold thread, exactly similar to that upon the bodice, is used for trimming the sleeves, which are bordered with tiny oak-leaves.

The material of the "robe," or larger train, is silk velvet, which was speaailjr woven at a Sudbuiy factory, and the ut most care was taken to secure the true “ Royal" shade of purple. The embroidery (executed in London) is in gold thread, as in the case of the dress, and the idea of the introduction of national emblems hae been adhered to. Fully extended, tbe “robe" measures six yards by a yard and a half, so that there is upon the ground a spread of something between 50 and 60 square feet of rich background upon which the designers and embroiderers could work.

The rose, shamrock, and thistle are cleverly blended upon this superb train, tbe ornamentations being somewhat sparse on tbe depending section of the robe, but gradually becoming closer and more harmonised from the ground level outwards, culminating in a most elaborate and effective design with a crown above the Queen's monogram for a centrepiece. The connected deeign occupies about six lineal feet of the train. With such artistic skill has the pure gold thread been worked into the velvet that the “M“ and the crown appear to be superimposed upon a dehcate framework of shamrock leaves. This exquisite central feature of tbe design is enclosed by roses and thistles, the leaves and blooms of which are all wrought in the gold thread except the tips of the thistle blooms, into which fine silk thread has been introduced, giving a most realistic representation of the delicate purple tinge to be found on tbe fully-opened natural bloom.

The edge of tbe embroidery comprises rose medallions connected by cbains of oak-leaves, and acorns; the whole border is outlined on its inner face by representations of tender oak sprays just bursting into bud, and on its outer face by a plain narrow band of gold lace. The effect of all this elaborate gold-work upon the rich purple ground is very beautiful.

The “robe" is lined throughout its whole length with ermine, aad for every white skin used to form the lining there is the tiny black tail of the animal. To cover so large an area many hundreds of skins were required, and care has been taken to select only the best. The ermine lining is much wider than the robe, and this ar rangement allows a deep turning to form an effective outer edge to the velvet. Thus the whole underside of the great train is of ermine, and its upper surface a mass of purple and gold bordered by ermine.

The cape, which is of regulation shape and depth (about 18in. down from the shoulders) is also of ermine. The "robe" is fastened to the dress at the shoulders by strong hooks, but its weight is so great as to make natural trailing by the wearer a difficult if not impossible feat, and at the Coronation at least three pairs of train-bearers will carry it by looped ribands or other carriers passed beneath it. But while the shoulder-hooks actually hold the robe to the dress, gold cords formed into loose knots at the shoulder points appear to perform this function. There are four cords at each shoulder, and tbe arrangement of the loose knots is such as to divide them into pairs, one pair on each side being worn in front of tbe arm, and another pair behind each arm. All the light cords terminate in gold tassels.

Tbe shoes which her Majesty wore with this splendid Coronation gown are of white kid embroidered in gold to match the dress, and iv similar design.

Formerly it was the custom for a Queen to robe at the Abbey for her Coronation, but Queen Mary wore the dress above described from Buckingham Palace, and appeared alike to spectators on both journeys, except that on returning she wore her crown.

There ia a special reason for, as well as a special significance in, the introduction of the lotus into embroidery design, because the Queen wii, it is understood, wear the identical gown at the Coronation Durbar at Delhi."

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