Two of the most iconic dresses that the Queen has ever worn in her 90-year lifetime will go on display for the first time. The wedding gown that she wore for her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947 and her coronation gown will be exhibited at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace in July.
Members of the public will get a closer look at the dresses, both of which were designed by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell.
When Sir Norman was asked to design the Queen's bridal gown, his aim was to create "the most beautiful dress" he had ever made.
The Queen and Prince Philip married in November 1947
Her Majesty, who was Princess Elizabeth at the time, wore the ivory silk masterpiece that was decorated with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls.
It incorporated a 15 foot star-patterned train, woven in Braintree in Essex and inspired by the famous Renaissance painting of Primavera by Botticelli, symbolising rebirth and growth after the war.
The Princess had collected clothing coupons to pay for the dress as Britain was still subject to rationing at the time of her November 1947 wedding.
Sir Norman Hartnell also created the Queen's coronation gown
Almost six years later in June 1953, the Queen stepped out in another of Sir Norman's finest creations – the coronation gown that she wore at the Westminster Abbey ceremony.
The dress was made of the finest white duchesse satin, richly embroidered with a scheme of national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold and silver thread and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with seed pearls, sequins and crystals.
Unknown to the Queen, Sir Norman had added an extra four-leaf shamrock on the left side of the skirt for good luck, so that Her Majesty's hand could rest upon it during the ceremony.
Sir Norman added an extra four-leaf shamrock on the left side of the skirt for good luck
The two dresses on display will form part of the special exhibition Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe. The exhibition will chart important events in Her Majesty's life such as state occasions, international tours and family celebrations, all the while focusing on the outfits the Queen wore.
The display will also highlight the monarch's long-standing support of British couture and millinery.
A total of three special exhibitions will be held to celebrate Her Majesty's 90th birthday this year – one at Buckingham Palace, one at Windsor Castle and one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. A total of around 150 outfits will be shown.