Comprising 12,000 items worn by royalty and courtiers from the seventeenth century to the present day, the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is an unparalleled resource offering insight into the story of the British monarchy, life at court and the ceremonial tradition of the UK.
Items of clothing worn by some of the country’s most charismatic royals - including George III, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret, The Queen, and Diana, Princess of Wales - all form part of the collection, together with prints, sketches, historic photographs, letters, diaries and scrapbooks.
The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection was established in the early 1980s, following the long-term loan of amateur historian Aubrey Bowden’s significant collection of court uniforms. The collection rapidly developed, its central aim being to represent the history of royal, court and ceremonial dress from the 17th century to the present day.
In 1989, responsibility for the collection passed to Historic Royal Palaces, who have continued to secure new items to expand and enhance the collection. The collection now includes items purchased or donated for the collection, alongside important loans from the Royal Collection and material from Princess Margaret’s family.