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A Norman Hartnell Dress Designed for Queen Elizabeth II’s Wedding Is Going on Sale – WWD

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LONDON — A bridesmaid’s dress and headdress worn to the wedding of the future Queen Elizabeth II to Prince Philip in 1947 is going up for sale at Christie’s.

Both pieces were designed by Norman Hartnell, who made the late monarch’s satin wedding dress.

At the royal wedding the bridesmaid’s dress and headdress were worn by the late Lady Elizabeth Longman, a childhood friend of the queen’s.

Kate Moss with Lady Elizabeth Longman in 2012.

Christie’s

The Hartnell creation will go on public display in London as part of the “The Exceptional Sale” exhibition at Christie’s from June 28 until the morning of the sale on July 2. 

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The dress is estimated to sell for 30,000 to 50,000 pounds.

Longman’s dress was on loan at the Fashion Museum Bath from the ‘80s to the early 2000s. In 2012, she met with Kate Moss at Houghton Hall and the supermodel wore the dress.

Lady Elizabeth Longman wearing her Norman Hartnell bridesmaid's dress.

Lady Elizabeth Longman wearing her Norman Hartnell bridesmaid’s dress.

Christie’s

“Meeting Lady Elizabeth and wearing her dress, that had such a wonderful heritage, was a magical moment for me. I felt like I was wearing a piece of history,” Moss said.

Hartnell’s dress was a simple sleeveless design taking inspiration from floral motifs such as Botticelli’s “Primavera” and the symbolism of Britain’s regrowth after World War II.

Queen Elizabeth wore many Norman Hartnell couture pieces, from her wedding to coronation. At her coronation in 1953, she was adamant that the symbols on her coronation gown be correct. Hartnell, who was designing the dress, had suggested floral emblems from Great Britain, but the young monarch was thinking bigger and wanted to acknowledge the countries in the Commonwealth, too.

Norman Hartnell bridesmaid's dress for the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II.

Norman Hartnell bridesmaid’s dress for the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II.

Christie’s

In the end, the white duchess satin gown featured floral emblems representing the queen’s nine dominions, Britain and the Commonwealth regions, picked out in shiny threads, seed pearls, sequins and crystals.

Hartnell didn’t hold back, and even included the decidedly unglamorous leek to represent Wales and added an extra four-leaf shamrock on the left side of the skirt for good luck, so that Elizabeth’s hand could rest on it during the ceremony.

In 2020, Princess Beatrice married her Italian beau, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a Hartnell hand-me-down dress from her grandmother, who was pictured in the dress in 1962 attending a performance of “Lawrence of Arabia.”

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