A ‘truly magnificent’ spectacle: the First Duke of Wellington’s coronation robes.
To mark the coronation of King Charles III on the 6th May, the 1st Duke of Wellington's coronation robes will go on display at Apsley House from Saturday 22 April.
These magnificent garments were made for the 1st Duke and his two sons for the coronation of George IV in 1821. Displayed to the public for the first time for many years, they recall the splendour and ceremony of previous coronations.
The coronation of George IV
To mark the coronation of King Charles III on the 6th May, the magnificent robes made for the 1st Duke of Wellington and his two sons for the coronation of George IV in 1821 will be going on display at Apsley House. As a national hero, Wellington was given the prominent role of Lord High Constable; he took part in the procession to Westminster Abbey, and during the ceremony he was amongst the chain of officials who passed the regalia to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who crowned the king. At the grand banquet, held afterwards in Westminster Hall, Wellington also made an impressive entry on horseback, a spectacle that was greeted with great applause.
The costumes worn at the coronation of George IV were designed in the style of Tudor and early Stuart dress and made of luxurious silks and velvets in crimson, cream and blue. They were a celebration of tradition and a reflection of the king's extravagant tastes and desire for ostentatious display. As Wellington himself remarked, the effect was a truly magnificent spectacle that delighted the thousands of spectators.
Displayed to the public for the first time in over thirty years, the robes worn by Wellington and his sons recall the splendour and ceremony of previous coronations. They will be on show at Apsley House from the 22 April 2023 - 10 March 2024.