Why did Queen Camilla rewear her coronation gown at the opening of Parliament?

I still can’t get over the visuals from yesterday’s big State Opening of Parliament. The whole thing was ROUGH! King Charles and Queen Camilla looked completely ancient and both of them seemed physically and metaphorically weighed down by all of that finery and stolen loot. The fact that Republic managed to pull off another big “Not My King” demonstration along the king and queen’s route to Parliament was amazing too. Anyway, did anyone else think it was weird that Camilla decided to rewear her coronation gown? While Charles, for his first state opening as monarch, was supposed to wear the cape and crown, Camilla was not required to wear her exact coronation finery as consort. So why did she? The Telegraph tried to explain:

What does one wear for the State Opening of Parliament? That’s an easy question to answer for King Charles (ceremonial regalia) and for members of the House of Lords (Parliamentary robes). For Queen Camilla the solution was not so obvious, but she neatly resolved the issue by arriving at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday in the same dress she wore for the Coronation in May. With it, she wore George IV’s State Diadem – a crown originally designed for the sovereign in 1820, and later worn by Queen Victoria, all subsequent Queens Consort, and by the late Queen Elizabeth II in her profile on stamps and coins.

The gown was created for the Queen by Bruce Oldfield for the Coronation. The couturier has been a trusted go-to for Camilla, 76, for the past decade, alongside her other favoured designers, Fiona Clare and Anna Valentine. The gown was not designed to be worn over and over again, Oldfield told The Telegraph following the event. “We were just thinking about the Coronation and about what it signified generally. I didn’t really think about the longevity or the amount of wear the dress is going to get. Any garment like this can’t be worn too many times anyway – the fabric and all the embroidery is quite fragile, it doesn’t stand up to many outings.”

Historical artefact it may be, but it’s a move that reflects Their Majesties’ values. The King was championing sustainability long before it became mainstream. Meanwhile, at the very moment he was delivering his speech to Parliament, the Prince of Wales was in Singapore announcing the winners of his Earthshot Prize awards. For the current generation of Royals, the future of our planet is a priority.

The rewearing of a lavish couture gown isn’t exactly going to move the needle on climate change, but it is a gesture that represents some awareness of sustainability – some solace, perhaps, given that the King was obliged to reference the Government’s controversial climate climbdown in his speech.

“I think the way we are at the moment, the state of the economy and the way people are feeling in general, nobody wants to be profligate in a moment like this,” Oldfield says. “Everybody wants to be seen as somebody who thinks about such things.”

[From The Telegraph]

It sounds like Oldfield is actually kind of upset that Camilla chose to repeat this gown. Perhaps he believes that a “historical” piece like this should have gone straight into a museum, or handled with kid gloves in some palace archive. He’s kind of right? Her coronation gown should be in storage or on exhibit (behind glass) in the palace or Windsor Castle. It’s bizarre that she chose to rewear it and, not only that, rewear it so poorly. It was wrinkled and it looked like it had not been stored properly in the months following the coronation. Please don’t argue that the coronation gown was her only appropriate gown for this event either – she’s attended tons of white-tie and black-tie dinners. She has plenty of white and cream gowns in her archives. It’s ridiculous that she chose her coronation look as some kind of pseudo-sustainable stunt.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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