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Exhibition of the Queen's dresses to open at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

February 5, 2016
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The largest exhibition of the Queen's dresses and accessories ever shown in Scotland will open on Her Majesty's 90th birthday. The display – one of three separate exhibitions entitled Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe – will open at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on 21 April.

The Scottish exhibition will be followed by exhibitions at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from 23 July 2016 and at Windsor Castle from 17 September 2016. In total, over 150 outfits worn by The Queen will be presented across the three Palaces, many chosen because of their close association with the location.


A selection of the Queen's dresses will go on display in Scotland

The display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse has been selected to cover The Queen's life and reign and includes evening and day wear by the British couturiers Sir Norman Hartnell, Ian Thomas and Stewart Parvin, who trained at Edinburgh College of Art, and the milliner Philip Somerville. All outfits will be on display in Scotland for the first time.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse has been the setting for many significant official occasions during The Queen's reign, including the state visit from King Olav of Norway in 1962 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government reception in 1997 – both of which saw the Queen wear magnificent evening gowns which will be on display in the Scottish exhibition.

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The Palace of Holyroodhouse exhibition will open on the Queen's 90th birthday

The exhibition also includes gowns designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, who produced many of the finest evening dresses in the Queen's wardrobe, along with the Ian Thomas dress the monarch wore to meet with Pope John Paul II in 1980.

The exhibition will remain at the Palace of Holyroodhouse until 16 October, and will coincide with two further displays at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The Fashioning a Reign exhibition at Buckingham Palace will present outfits worn by the Queen over ten decades, and look more closesly at the requirements of royal couture, including ensembles worn at family celebrations such as weddings and christenings.

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Two further exhibitions will be held at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle

Meanwhile the Windsor Castle display will feature both evening gowns and day wear along with childhood fancy dress costumes worn by the young Princess Elizabeth for family pantomimes at the castle.

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