The Queen's 90th birthday is the catalyst behind a host of celebratory events and exhibitions, including the largest exhibition of her dresses and accessories in Scotland. Hosted at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on April 21 and one of three exhibitions of its kind, the display is entitled Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen's Wardrobe.
The Scottish exhibition will be followed by exhibitions at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from July 23 and at Windsor Castle from September 17. 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.
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.
The exhibition 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 Oct. 16, and will coincide with two other displays at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The Fashioning a Reign exhibition at Buckingham Palace will present outfits worn by the Queen over 10 decades, and look more closely at the requirements of royal couture, including ensembles worn at family celebrations such as weddings and christenings.
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.