Coronation Fashions

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Coronation Fashions


ceremony, ceremonial dress, coronation, coronet, court dress, dress-making, dress regulations, Earl Marshal, ermine, fashion, King Edward VIII, King George VI, kirtle, medieval coronations, fashion, robe, tiara, Westminster Abbey, medieval style


This article from the Western Mail points to the mounting anticipation regarding dress regulations in the lead-up to King Edward VIII’s coronation, which was expected to take place in May 1937. Questions had clearly started to circulate about whether traditional ceremonial robes and coronets would remain the standard of attire, or whether a simpler form of State dress would be adopted. The article speculates that the regulations, which would be announced by the Earl Marshal, would likely differ from those issued twenty-five years earlier for the coronation of George V in 1911, where ceremonial robes were worn over full court dress and peeresses wore both coronets and tiaras. In particular, the robes and kirtles of the peeresses are singled out as garments whose ‘fate is in the balance’, as well as quantities of ermine, which had already been acquired in a number of cases with the expectation that it would be used to line ceremonial robes. The article adds that there was medieval precedent for varying the coronation robes should Edward VIII choose to do so, as coronets had only been standard attire for barons and baronesses since the coronation of Charles II in 1661, and robes since James II’s coronation in 1685.

In fact, this coronation never took place. It was scheduled for the 12 May 1937, but Edward VIII abdicated the throne on 11 December 1936 in order to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson. He is one of very few English monarchs not to have been crowned at Westminster Abbey since 1066. His brother George VI replaced him on the throne, and ruled as the King of Britain, Ireland and British dominions beyond the seas from 1936-1952. For more on Edward VIII and his abdication, see H. C. G. Matthew, ‘Edward VIII [later Prince Edward, duke of Windsor] (1894–1972)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009 [, accessed 13 Dec 2010].




National Library of Australia


The Western Mail


3 September, 1936, p. 38.


The Western Mail


Newspaper Article

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