After months of speculation, it was revealed that Queen Consort Camilla has chosen British couturier Bruce Oldfield to design her coronation gown. Considering the pair's lengthy professional relationship, Oldfield seemed like the natural choice for the occasion, which will take place on May 6. The designer's name has become synonymous with British heritage and the crème de la crème of couture, meaning royal fans can expect a truly magnificent creation to be debuted at the coronation.
Not only has Oldfield maintained a close acquaintance with Queen Camilla, but he also designed garments for the late Princess Diana while she was married to then-Prince Charles. The duo first met in 1981, when Vogue were curating a wardrobe for the young royal-to-be. The magazine selected some of Oldfield's designs for Diana's inventory, a handful of which she subsequently ordered – marking the beginning of her friendship with the couturier.
Diana and Oldfield were also connected through the work of the charity Barnardo's, an organisation of which the People's Princess was president from 1984 to 1996. Oldfield had an especially close tie to the foundation; at birth, he was taken to the children's charity and placed in foster care until the age of 13, subsequently moving to another children’s home until he turned 18. He later enrolled at St Martins School of Art, now known as Central Saint Martins, to study fashion design.
Speaking to Fashion Unfiltered, Oldfield reflected upon his relationship with Diana: "She was young. She was 11 years younger than me, only 24 at the time. We didn't have much in common, but we had a good relationship. We had lunches and went to some parties together. But then it ran out in the end in the eighties when she stepped down from being royal."
It's evident that Oldfield's relationship with King Charles' first wife didn't deter Queen Camilla from selecting him as her chosen designer. So how did this pairing come to fruition?
Upon Princess Diana's withdrawal from royal life, Queen Camilla, then the Duchess of Cornwall, took over as patron of Barnardo's. Naturally, the two mingled through the Barnardo's connection, and formed a friendship that would last over a decade. The VIP designer has been open about his affection for the royal and the two are known to get on exceedingly well.
Oldfield has curated outfits for Camilla on several occasions, spanning glamorous fashion shows and Hollywood film premieres. Oldfield's latest creation for Camilla materialised in the form of a sky blue gown boasting refined beaded embellishments and sheer long sleeves, worn by the royal to attend the premiere of No Time To Die in September 2021.
Not only does Oldfield have members of the royal family listed on his clientele, but also a plethora of celebrities. Helen Mirren, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Charlotte Rampling are just a handful of past customers, proving that the designer's creations are of unparalleled quality and elegance.
While sporting a dress crafted by a designer so closely associated with your husband's ex-wife may seem like a bold move, many consider Camilla's decision to also be something of an olive branch or a subtle nod to the late princess.
However, Oldfield's appointment may simply be a result of the duo's long-lasting friendship, meaning the Queen Consort knows what to expect from her dressmaker for the big day. After all, a coronation is not the time for a fashion faux pas to occur.
READ: Queen Consort Camilla's coronation dress will have a subtle link to Princess Diana
What we do know for sure is that the sketches of the garment will be kept very much under wraps until the day of the coronation. Royal fans can be sure to expect impeccable craftsmanship from the 72-year-old couturier, who will have no trouble creating a dress to remember.
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