Lady Carnarvon’s Coronation Robe

The RSN’s Embroidery Studio recently undertook the restoration and conservation of a robe worn by Lady Carnarvon to King George V’s Coronation in 1911.

When Lady Carnarvon’s Coronation Robe first arrived, the studio team began by thoroughly documenting all the different components. Everything was photographed including fastenings, holes, weak areas and lining prior to work. The next step was to ightly surface clean the hood, train, bodice and skirt. Using a low suction conservation vacuum, any dust or dirt that may have been caught within the fibres of the velvet, lace and trim, was carefully lifted. Once cleaned, the team began encasing the very fragile trim on to the edge of the bodice, skirt train and large train. Supporting the trim meant that the garment would be stabilised securely for future use and displays.

There were a number of holes in the lace overskirt which the team darned. Using a thread in a sympathetic colour, they were able to repair these holes so that they were discreet and blended with the surrounding area. It is very common for historical items of clothing to disintegrate and this had happened to the silk and lace sleeve inserts. As there was very little of the silk remaining, two new silk inserts were made and the original lace was attached to it.

This historic garment went on display at a special event at Highclere Castle last September. The restored robe was also featured on the local BBC TV News programme including an interview with one of our Studio embroiderers, Marg Dier.