We're expecting a few royal christenings in the coming months following the recent births of August Brooksbank, Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor and Lucas Tindall.
Until 2004, royal babies were christened wearing the Spitalfields silk and Honiton lace christening gown, first made for Queen Victoria's daughter in 1841. In total, a staggering 62 royal infants wore the beautiful heirloom over 163 years!
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However, following the baptism of Lady Louise Windsor on 24 April 2004, it was decided the garment was too delicate to be used again, so the Queen commissioned an exact replica to replace the original robe - using tea to achieve the right colour!
The Queen with Prince Charles in the original christening gown
The Queen's dressmaker Angela Kelly was the lady in charge of producing the new gown, along with fellow dressmaker Barbara Buckfield.
In her book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, Angela wrote: "To make sure it looked authentic, we dyed it in Yorkshire tea (the strongest, as we all know)."
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Prince George wears the new replica gown
"We placed each piece of lace in a small bowl, from the Dressers' Kitchen, filled with cool water and a teabag, and left it for about five minutes, checking regularly until the colour was perfect.
"At each stage of the process, I would show our progress to the Queen: first the bodice, then the sleeves attached to it, then the skirt with the under-layers on, and finally the completed robe. Her Majesty was very interested to see how it was developing. From start to finish, it had taken us, appropriately, nine months."
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The Queen at a fashion show with her dresser Angela Kelly (far right)
How remarkable! A christening gown dipped in tea that took nine months to make.
The replica gown has since been worn by Prince William and Duchess Kate’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, along with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's son Archie Harrison.
Duchess Kate holding baby Princess Charlotte
Prince Edward and Countess Sophie’s son James, Viscount Severn, was also baptised in the gown.
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