The Queen is 90, the Queen has worn lots of frocks over the years. Fashioning a Reign takes a look at those frocks. Three exhibitions devoted to the Queen’s wardrobe have been created in Holyrood, Buckingham Palace and now Windsor Castle, each venue has different outfits on display. At Windsor the semi-state apartments show the outfits off to their best advantage. The rooms were created for George IV: think Brighton Pavilion but grander.


Three green dresses stand in the Green Drawing Room, the fabrics of room and clothes bringing out the best in each other. In the middle is a white dress with green straps and a dramatic fold of green falling down the back. This was worn on a state visit to Pakistan, the green is the green of Pakistan and complemented the Order of Pakistan that was worn with it. Nothing as “shouty” as wearing the flag but a subtle compliment to her hosts nevertheless.


George VI and his Queen Elizabeth look down on the Crimson Drawing Room from their full length coronation portraits. Between the two of them, their daughter’s frock shimmers beneath the chandeliers under which they were first worn. Countless tiny beads have been embroidered onto the waist of the dress, the signature look created by Norman Hartnell. Seeing the workmanship and intricate detail up close is wonderful.


Riding horses is something that the Queen loves to do. It is here at Windsor that she gets to ride most of all so it is fitting that we see her riding outfits. Jodhpurs worn so often that they have a small tear in the leg. They stand next to the Queen’s Robes of the Garter, all deep blue velvet and feathers.

Fashioning a Reign Windsor Castle

Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

“Mum I need to dress up as a donkey/cat/Horrid Henry”, will be a familiar refrain to Mothers of small children. Whilst most of us cobble together a papier-mâché camel hump or a deploy a tea towel as a shepherd’s headdress, the Queen had an altogether more lavish costume for a production of Aladdin that she and Princess Margaret put on during the war at Windsor Castle. Old curtains were used for the costumes on display, but something makes me think that more than 24 hours’ notice was given of the need for the outfit!

If you have the slightest interest in clothes, seeing the Queen’s frocks up close and personal is brilliant. Entrance to the exhibition is included in the ticket to see the rest of the Castle. As with all Royal Collection locations the ticket is valid for a year, just make sure you have it stamped on the way out.


Entry is included in the ticket to Windsor Castle

Admission: Adult £20, Family £51, concessions available.

Open: March-October – daily 9.30am-5.30pm, November – February daily 9.45am-4.15pm



  1. September 29, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Love the intricacy of the beadwork. I never see these details in the press but you can truly observe the craftsmanship on display.

    • Catherine
      September 29, 2016 / 10:25 pm

      The frocks are stunning but the Queen was plainly a stunner

  2. September 29, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    This sounds amazing. I haven’t been to Windsor Castle and this looks like a great reason to do so. Those outfits are exquisite.

  3. October 5, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    Oh my, these are all stunning! Such rich fabrics, perfect form. Love the beautiful detailing of the gold dress.


  4. October 5, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    These clothes look beautiful – I especially like the Queen’s riding jacket, with its cinched waist. #citytripping

    • Catherine
      October 5, 2016 / 11:20 pm

      Amongst all the fabulous evening clothes, the riding outfit was the one I coveted most!

  5. October 5, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    oh wow, can you imagine how heavy the bejewelled one is to wear (not that I’d complain!) I bet this is a great exhibition. #citytripping

  6. October 7, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    Some of those costumes are simply amazing – although I also love the sound of the rooms, being grander than Brighton Pavilion! I haven’t been to Windsor for so long and would love to visit, the dresses are really so intricate and the stories behind them all are fascinating. #citytripping

  7. October 8, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    I’d love to see these up close. Despite growing up close to Windsor, I have never been inside the castle so this sounds like a good excuse! Thanks for linking #citytripping

    • Catherine
      October 9, 2016 / 12:18 am

      The castle is stunning inside, well worth a visit

  8. October 9, 2016 / 11:09 pm

    This looks amazing, how I wish I could go!! #citytripping

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