Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection

Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection

Muslin and silver court mantua 1780s

Historic Royal Palaces' collection of royal, ceremonial and court dress, has been designated as a pre-eminent collection of national and international importance.

About the collection

The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is a designated collection of national and international importance, cared for by Historic Royal Palaces. It contains 10,000 items of historic dress from the 16th century to the present day, providing information about the history of fashion, life at court, British ceremonial traditions, and the lives of key historical figures. 

Our collection contains items of clothing worn by royalty including George III, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret, Diana, Princess of Wales and The Queen.


The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection was created in the early 1980’s after Aubrey Bowden, an amateur historian, loaned Historic Royal Palaces a significant collection of court uniforms. In 1989, the collection was passed to Historic Royal Palaces, who have continued to expand and develop the collection, which also contains prints, sketches, historical photographs, letters, diaries and scrapbooks.


The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is open by appointment for research and education purposes. The collection is based at Hampton Court Palace with a smaller selection at Kensington Palace. Advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment. To book an appointment please email

Further information

Downloadable Resources

Some files are provided in PDF format - you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.

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    Court Dress
    (Adobe PDF, 29KB)

    RCDC fact sheet - top 10 items
    (Adobe PDF, 283KB)

    Royal Dress
    (Adobe PDF, 36KB)

    The Court Mantua
    (Adobe PDF, 28KB)

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