It has been over 70 years since Queen Elizabeth walked down the aisle to wed Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey. The year was 1947 and Elizabeth was 22 years old. The royal wedding fell in post-WWII Britain and was seen as a new beginning after the horrors of the war. At any rate, royal weddings are a big spectacle and the public likes to hang onto every little detail, but this one in particular offered a new sense of hope and positivity. Leading up to Elizabeth and Philip’s big day, there was endless speculation about Elizabeth’s dress and who exactly would be given the honor of designing the gown.
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In the end, designer Norman Hartnell took on the role of creating the iconic gown and vowed to make it “the most beautiful gown he ever made.” Hartnell, along with a huge team of seamstresses, certainly did not disappoint and went on to design an extremely luxurious and lavish gown.
Even now, people still continue to admire the hard work, detail, and dedication that went into the gown. Its exquisite beauty is admired all over the world and regularly appears on display in London. There are also many interesting facts surrounding Elizabeth’s gown. So sit back, relax, and read about 15 secret facts about the dress you never knew about.
1. It Took 350 Pairs Of Hands To Make The Gown
It’s not surprising that it takes a large number of people to create an iconic dress, but did you know that it took 350 women to make the garment? As many know, Norman Hartnell was the Court dressmaker and mastermind behind the design, which he entrusted to the workroom of Germaine Davide. Nevertheless, many are not aware that
the dress and train took a total of 350 women working in secrecy to get it done.
It is believed that Davide was rather selective in whom she let work on the gown. At first, she refused to allow an eager group of 18-year-old girls to help out as he was worried about their dedication and ability to keep quiet. However, she eventually decided to let the girls participate once they worked hard and kept their work secret.
2. The Embroidery Was Inspired By A Painting
Different designers have different ways of coming up with inspiration for their designs. When putting together a design as important as Elizabeth’s, you can imagine the careful consideration that went into what detailing to use. When crafting the masterpiece,
designer Hartnell supposedly took inspiration from Botticelli’s Renaissance masterpiece—the Primavera.
It is important to remember that Elizabeth’s gown signified a new world following the war, and Hartnell wanted the gown to symbolize motifs of rebirth, renewal, and growth. The war had taken its toll on everyone and the royal wedding was seen as a positive gathering to bring people to rejoice in a new beginning and something positive. Hartnell crafted patterns using gold and silver thread of wheat, roses, and star-shaped flowers to recreate the detailing used in Botticelli’s famous painting.