In preparation for King's Coronation service this Saturday 6 May 2023, The Royal School of Needlework’s Embroidery Studio has conserved a number of coronation textiles for the service. The Robe of State of The King, which will be worn by His Majesty on arrival at Westminster Abbey.
Image: conservation of the King's Robe's. Image courtesy of PA News
The King’s Robe of State is made of crimson velvet and was originally worn by King George VI at the Coronation in 1937. In preparation for the Coronation Service, the velvet has been conserved by the Royal School of Needlework, with the lining and gold lace conserved by Ede and Ravenscroft.
The Royal School of Needlework has also worked on the Chairs of Estate and Throne Chairs (Chairs of State) that will be used by The King and The Queen Consort at different points during the Coronation Service on 6 May.
The Throne Chairs were made for the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1937 by White Allom and Company, replicating seventeenth century style which in turn was based on X-framed Tudor stools. The Chairs were upholstered in crimson velvet and applied with the Royal Arms of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
In preparation for the Coronation, the Chairs have been conserved by the Royal Collection Trust’s Furniture Conservators. The crimson silk velvet with which the chairs were originally upholstered has been replaced with the velvet and trimmings by the firm of AT Cronin Workshop Ltd.
The Royal School of Needlework has conserved the original embroidered Coat of Arms on His Majesty’s chair and lightly cleaned it before transferring it onto new velvet.
In addition, the Royal School of Needlework has hand embroidered a new Coat of Arms of The Queen Consort for Her Majesty’s Throne Chair using the Silk Shading technique, which has been applied to the new velvet.
New silk braid and trellis fringe, replicating the original trimmings of the Throne Chairs has been woven by Heritage Trimmings Ltd of Derby. The silk was produced by The Humphries Weaving Company, Suffolk, and the silk for the fringe has been specially dyed by Gainsborough Silks, Suffolk.
Image: Sewer at Royal School of Needlework working on an embroidery piece April 2023. Image courtesy of Image courtesy of PA News.
By tradition, ceremonial chairs and thrones are used for the different stages of the Coronation Service. These are in addition to the St Edward’s Chair (Coronation Chair), which is used for the moment of crowning.
The Chairs of Estate will be used during the early parts of Their Majesties’ Coronation, with The Queen Consort to be crowned in Her Majesty’s Chair of Estate. For the final part of the Coronation Service, The King and The Queen Consort will be seated in Throne Chairs once crowned.
In Selvedge issue 46: Souvenir, p28-29, we take a closer look at the weavers, embroiderers and designers behind the Queen's coronation in 1953.