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About Queen Victoria's Dresses

Queen Victoria is one of the most famous monarchs in the world. Victoria ascended the throne as an 18-year-old girl and ruled the country for over 60 years. During her reign the British Empire became one of the most powerful states, it had almost a fifth of the land area of our planet.

When Victoria became queen, freedom of morals was replaced by high morality and family values. Victorian morality was also reflected in fashion. Dresses became simple and modest, less bright colours, flirty outfits evoked condemnation.

Queen Victoria's dresses influenced what other women wore.

The earliest Queen Victoria's dress that has survived today: a white dress made of lace, silk and satin, which she, then the Princess of Kent, wore in 1831-1832.

It is assumed that she wore this dress during posing for the painting Queen Victoria when a Girl by Richard Westall, 1830.

I was lucky enough to see one of Queen Victoria's dresses in the Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. It was a corduroy MacDonnell clan of Glengarry tartan gown with wide sleeves, a skirt and a bodice with lace around the neckline. The dress is decorated with silk ribbons. Victoria wore it at the age of 16-18, before becoming queen.

The tartan fabric was very popular in the 19th century. This pattern was worn by Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children when they visited Scotland.

For the first time in the role of Queen, Victoria was at the Privy Council on June 20, 1837. She wore a silk dress with a detachable white cotton collar and gigot sleeves, which were back in fashion at that time. The dress was black as Victoria was in mourning for her uncle, King William IV. Over the years, the dress faded and turned light brown.

The replica of this dress in the TV series Victoria (2016-2019) was worn by actress Jenna Coleman

And Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria (2009).

During her coronation on June 28, 1838 at Westminster Abbey, the future queen changed her outfit. Firstly Victoria wore a satin white dress with gold embroidery and a long train, over which was the second dress in gold colour. This outfit in the TV series Victoria:

At the end of the coronation, the golden top dress was replaced with a crimson-coloured dress with wide sleeves, gold embroidery and stoat fur, belted with a gold cord.

She wore these dresses again in 1859 when she posed for F.C. Winterhalter for a portrait, and in 1887 during the Golden Jubilee of her reign.

The final version of the coronation dress in the TV series Victoria

and in the film The Young Victoria

Victoria's coronation dress was also in the film Victoria in Dover (Mädchenjahre einer Königin, 1954), worn by Romy Schneider.

The most important change in fashion came from Queen Victoria's wedding dress, in which she married Prince Albert in 1840. Before this, brides of royal families wore gold or silver dresses. Brides from common families wore wedding dresses in any colour because it was practical, the dress could be worn again. So Queen Victoria started the tradition of white bridesmaid dresses.

A satin white dress with a narrow bodice and a crinoline skirt with a 5-meter train was decorated with lace from Devon and a gold brooch with sapphires and diamonds, which Prince Albert presented to the bride on the wedding eve.

The bride's head was decorated with a veil and a wreath of orange flowers, symbolizing fertility. The bride also had earrings and a necklace made of diamonds, which were presented to her by the Turkish sultan.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were photographed in their wedding clothes 14 years after their wedding:

Costume designer Sandy Powell for the film The Young Victoria (2009) created a replica of the real Queen Victoria's wedding dress. Every dress that Emily Blunt (who starred Queen Victoria) wore in this film was insured for £ 10,000. Sandy won BAFTA and Academy Awards for Best Costume Design in this film.

In 1851 at The Great Exhibition opening Queen Victoria wore a pink silk dress. The dress was decorated with lace and pink bows. Now the dress has lost its colour.

Silk evening dress with a wide skirt, short sleeves and a round neckline with lace and ruffles, decorated with a printed pattern of roses and foliage, 1851:

The most flamboyant Queen Victoria's dress is a silk dress with lace, gold braid, silver fringe and pearl beads, which she wore at the Stuart Ball in 1851. The dress was inspired by the court of Charles II, the lace of the cape is a copy of the Venetian lace of the 18th century. It is believed that the lace was created in Ireland and purchased at The Great Exhibition.

A white French silk gown decorated with lace, ribbons, and a pattern of flowers on the fabric was worn by Queen Victoria during a visit to Paris in 1855:

After the unexpected death of Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria did not take off her mourning dresses for the rest of her life. She often wore jewelry with Prince Albert's portrait or hair. This long mourning became a cult of mourning in the country, which was expressed in increased attention to the theme of death and the fashion for mourning paraphernalia. The funeral custom became available in all price categories and existed for all classes. Those who could not afford to change their clothes often dyed their regular clothes black.

This is one of her mourning dresses. It is believed that Queen Victoria wore it during mourning for her grandson, Prince Albert Victor, who died during the flu pandemic in 1889-1892:


Another Queen Victoria's mourning dress with white trim around the sleeves and crepe neckline, 1894:

Judi Dench as Queen Victoria in mourning dresses: Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown (1997)

and Victoria and Abdul (2017).

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