She was renowned for her love of jewellery and her style; and there was never a fashion moment Queen Mary didn’t meet, so of course her coronation dress would be one of the most magnificent gowns she ever wore.
Queen Mary’s coronation dress was a simple yet ornate work of cream-colour design. It was designed by Reville and Rossiter and later embroidered by workers at the Royal School of Needlework.
The gown featured embroidery work of the United Kingdom’s national emblems: a Tudor rose, a thistle, and a shamrock. There were also embroidered versions of the Star and Lotus of India (as Queen Mary was Empress of India by virtue of her marriage to the King Emperor) and waves fashioned along the hemlines to evoke the ocean that connected the then-British Empire.
For the needlework, the Princess Louise Needlework School also helped create the gown, using gold thread to embroider patterns along the floral motifs.
Queen Mary chose her court dressmakers to fashion the gown. Reville and Rossiter received their first Royal Warrant to Queen Mary in 1910. Not much is known of this British couture house, but they also designed Queen Mary’s coronation robe. However, they were out of business by the 1930s.
The fabric was cream-coloured silk satin with an inner bodice of cream silk taffeta. Boning along the bodice was encased with cream-corded silk. The dress was a Princess line cut with three-quarter length sleeves and a full skirt with rounded edges.
Queen Mary wore this gown at her coronation on 22 June 1911. It was then put on display with the Queen’s Robe of Estate and the King’s Robe of Estate at the Imperial Institute later that summer. Afterwards, it was loaned to the Museum of London.