Why do kings and queens wear ermine? How can we use art to help us decode courtly clothing? With the upcoming coronation of Charles III in mind we explore the emergence of traditions in dress and jewellery that still feed into UK court ceremonial today.
‘The splendour of royalty delights the people’, so Queen Victoria was told. A Victorian viewer would still recognise much in the richness and regulation of court ceremony today. Indeed, the form and symbolism of the royal regalia of Elizabeth II can be traced back to the era of Elizabeth I, if not earlier. The actual objects to be used in the coronation of Charles III mostly date back to the coronation of Charles II in 1661. The clothing to be worn by the King on May 6th dates back to the era of George IV, whose coronation in 1821 was the most expensive in history. How will the coronation of Charles III compare to this?
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Meet the lecturer:
Jacqui Ansell is Senior Lecturer at Christie’s Education, and a regular lecturer on the public programmes of the National Gallery and NPG. Most recently she has been conducting tours at the V&A in conjunction with SIX the musical (about clothing and ceremonial of the Tudor Court). After her MA at the Courtauld in History of Dress she was commissioned by the Kensington Palace Court Dress Collection to write three 10,000 word reports on court dress and etiquette focusing on the 1690s, 1740s and 1870s. Her account of Lillie Langtry being presented to Queen Victoria was published in The Court Historian and she frequently lectures on the subject of ‘Splendour at Court’ for The Art Society in the UK and abroad.