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'It took 3,000 hours': the story behind The Queen's magnificent coronation gown

The Queen wearing her Norman Hartnell designed dress and robe on the day of her coronation Credit: Getty

Even if the women of the royal family are more closely scrutinised than almost any others in the world, many of us can usually sympathise in some way with their sartorial dilemmas- what to wear to a wedding or for a formal dinner etc. But the conundrum faced by the Queen on 2nd June 1953 was unique.  

In a new documentary about the coronation, the Queen discusses her memories of the day for the first time, telling Alastair Bruce about the precariousness of the crown jewels and how her robes were so heavy that they became stuck on the carpet as she glided through the abbey.

But while that anecdote might suggest an awkward, centuries-old outfit, the Queen’s coronation gown and robe were created for her by Norman Hartnell, the couturier who had been designing for the royal family since the 1930s and who had made her wedding dress five years before.

The Queen on the day of her coronation with her six maids of honour: Lady Moyra Hamilton, Lady Anne Coke, Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton, Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby and Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill Credit: Cecil Beaton

Hartnell was christened ‘the world’s most envied...

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