Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kensington Palace, part 1: Queen Victoria's Dresses

On a recent trip to Kensington Palace I was delighted to find a new exhibit about Queen Victoria. It was kind of, shall we say "artistically" done, so I didn't see a lot of information about each piece, but they are pretty to share, never the less. 

She was a tiny lady. I'm only 5'4'', and standing next to her dresses, I felt like a giant. Mayyyybe she reached five foot. I'm guessing. 

This first dress was the only one I found information on. In each room there was a little book tucked aside with all the information on each exhibit. They were hard to track down, and when found, often the book was already being read by someone else, so I kind of gave up looking for it.

But anyway, this silk dress was originally black. Time has faded the color to a brown, much like how those fugitive purples act.

This next dress is a beauty! I think it was her wedding gown. It looked like an ivory silk satin, but almost with a "fuzzy" finish, like a pronounced nap in the fabric. It's hard to see, but the bodice has that great double row of piping, so often seen in the mid 19th century. Very pretty.

And a pair of her stockings. 

Somewhere else, a while back (it might have been Antiques Roadshow...), I heard that Queen Victoria only wore her stockings once and then gave them away, presumably to members of the court. Apparently, there are a lot of her stockings floating around today...

Below is one of her mourning dresses, from after Prince Albert's death. She never came out of mourning. Going through the exhibit, one can see she was quite in love with him. Very romantic!

A mourning handkerchief. I love the black and white embroidery on it. It reminds me of Ermine tails.

I'm not aware what the below dress was worn for, though it is interesting to see how much taller Albert was than her. Dashing ;)


  1. The dress with the bows was worn at the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851, although it originally didn't have the bows.

    1. Thank you! And very interesting about the bows.

  2. wow thanks for these! I Wanted to see the exhibition but I can't afford a trip to england right now. What splendid dresses she wore!! I read once that she was quite an icon of fashion when she was young, kinda like Kate Middleton today. Anyway, can't wait for the rest of your pictures!

    1. Well, I think this is their new permanent exhibit (how permanent I don't know...) so it should be there for a while. Hopefully you can get to it!

    2. Hi Caroline, is the exhibition still on? if yes where is it now?

  3. Beautiful!! I had heard that Queen Victoria's wedding gown wasn't going on display until March of this year, so it's fabulous that the exhibit is up already! Thank you for sharing these pictures.

    I will be visiting Kensington in September 2013, so I'm so happy to see what I have to be looking forward to!

    Happy sewing,


  4. The wreath & matching ornaments (pins, earrings) were designed for her by Prince Albert.

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