Queen Margrethe's dresses on exhibition

To honor Queen Margrethe on her 75th birthday in April, the National Museum of Denmark have exhibited some of her dresses and costumes from her 32 years as princess and more than 43 years as Queen of Denmark. All to represent the Queen and her life devoted to Denmark and the Danish people. Some of her most elegant and colourful dresses were exhibited in the Banquet Hall at Frederiksberg castle.

Around the opening in March 2015 the Queen herself visited the exhibition and with great pleasure she admired every single piece. Unfortunately, I did not get to see it myself but a good friend of mine did. Pernille visited the exhibition and took lots of photos. She has allowed me to share them with you in this post. I have created the post with knowledge from the book Dronningens Kjoler written Katia Johansen.

Please, remember that these photo can only be used with my written permission. Thanks.


The little fur coat you see in the background, was worn by the Queen from approx. 1942-1944 and is made of small pieces of squirrel fur all sewn together in a special way. It features a little collar and four large buttons. The label says Birger Christensen, Copenhagen. After Queen Ingrid's death it was apparently handed over to the Amalienborg Museum.

Just a month old, Margrethe was christened in Holmes Church in an old christening gown from the time of Frederik IIX and Queen Lovisa when their son Christian (x.) was born (1870). The lace were found by Queen Lovisa herself in Belgium. Since Prince Christian X was christened, many other royal children have worn it, including Queen Margrethe in 1940. This christening gown has also been worn by Crown Prince Frederik and three of his four children.

From 1958-1970, Queen Margrethe attended the voluntary service with the female flying corps and this is her uniform. Made of a very delicate wool in a marine blue colour. The white 'label' you see on the left pocket says 'SG Prinsesse Margrethe'. What you can't see, is that it comes with a matching hat featuring her name inside and a short jacket.

One of the most important dresses of them all -her wedding gown from 1967, here. It is created by Jørgen Bender, who has designed many of her dresses afterwards. 15 dresses he created to the wedding according to the book, where Margrethe also tells that it was her wish to get long sleeves, a square neckline and wearing her mothers old lace, which are not on the dress anymore. The Crown Princess wore the same lace on her wedding gown and as the time of Margrethe the lace was also taken off her dress. The train is five meters long and attached to the gown in a way that it's able to be removed.

Another dress designed by Jørgen Bender. With it's classic 80s style this yellow dress features white dots and a matching hat, which was worn on May 26th 1986, here. A special day because her oldest son turned 18. It also features a draping on the back. Later it was worn on a state visit in the Czech Republic in 1991.

Here we have a dress from the time around her engagement in 1966. The Queen tells that she purchase the printed fabric in Kyoto in around 1963. With great certainty the dress is from Magasin (not the same as we know today). Originally, it was created without any sleeves, but about a year later, sleeves were added. She wore it back in 1967, when she visited Ottawa and attended a gala dinner with the Prime Minister.

This is one of my personal favourite gowns of them all. I am crazy in love with it. The dress was given to her by Erik Mortensen on occasion of their weeding. It is made of the same fabric as the weeding gown and is from Balmain. At the time Queen Margrethe wore the dress with a long coat featuring matching pearl embroidery as in June 1967 when she attended a dinner at den French embassy, here, and again in 1969 at one of the annual New Year reception.

This has to be the "dress" owned by Margrethe that has been redesigned most times. Originally, it was designed back in 1973 to her fist state visit in Sweden, by Jørgen Bender in collaboration with the Queen. One year later, 1974, the floor length dress became a skirt and worn with a white lace blouse as in the 1840/1860s. Then in 1986 the dress was now a blouse, skirt and jacket as we know it today and as it was exhibited. She has worn it at several New Year receptions from 1987-1997. Here you see her in 1995. And here on one of her official photographs.  

This bordeaux lace dream of a dress was also created by Jørgen Bender. Around 1972, Magasin and later Illum did not make dresses etc. anymore and Bender was the one to make Margrethe's gowns. According to Dronningens Kjoler, the Queen purchased the lace in France. It was worn in 1983 at a state visit in Spain and actually it appears more than once over the years. Like here and here


This Jørgen Bender-dress was worn by the Queen at the party in Tivoli before she turned 50. The dress is called "the Tivoli-dress" mainly because she wore in on that specific occasion and I think also because of the many colours. Margrethe purchased the fabric herself by the milliner Vagn. 

This rather large gown was made in 1994 on occasion of Prince Henrik's 60 years birthday, here. The significant floral embroidered sleeves features smaller roses in the middle, which you unfortunately can't see. Since 1994 she has worn it multiple times -1994, 1995, 1998. 

At the wedding in 2004 Queen Margrethe was wearing the white floral gown (right) created by Mogens Eriksen, here. As her wedding gown, this features a square neckline. A little more interesting is the other dress (left) because you may remember at the wedding, Margrethe wore a floor length coat over the floral dress. This is it. It was redesigned to a dress with shorter sleeves and a square neckline. Both dresses have been worn at several occasions since. 

Back in 2000 Margrethe celebrated her 60th birthday, here. On that occasion she and Verner Enquist designed this purple dress. Significant is the square neckline and of course the wonderful crystal belt. The Queen drew this herself and Verner Enquist did the embroidery. Here you see the dress about a years later. 

This massive tulle gown is drawn by Uffe Frank, created by Verner Enquist. The midnight blue tulle gown is the first dress after Jørgen Bender pasted away. The dress was worn in 2000 on occasion of her 60th birthday, here. It features the characteristic square neckline the Queen loves to much. The tulle is embroidered with an abstract pattern in silver threads. 

A bright red dress which was a gift from Jørgen Bender to the Queen on occasion of her 50th birthday in 1990. It features several very special details: first of all the unique neckline, second the large draping, third the slim sleeves. 

One of my favourite gowns of them all which reminds me so much of the Crown Princess' Birgit Hallstein dress. Margrethe's was created in 1997 in the most wonderful burgundy velvet. It features slim sleeves and a beautifully designed train. At front a significant pattern of leaves and birds designed by the Queen herself. Because if was designed to her jubilee in 1997, it is designed to have space for all her orders and golden chains. 

When Margrethe and Prince Henrik celebrated their silver wedding at Fredensborg castle, she wore this dress, which she had designed in collaboration with Jørgen Bender. It features rather large tulle sleeves, a low neckline and dark purple flowers. The fabric is purchased in France and features silver threads. The many meters of fabric have become a beautiful train to complete this (different) purple shade evening gown. 

This huge blue dress has a story that goes back to a visit in Saudi Arabia. Some of the fabric is from another dress from 1974, where more fabric was added. Around the 90s the blue dress was transformed to what you see today. The paisley-fabric is from another dress the Queen did not like to wear. 

A greenish A-line evening gown from the 70s created by Jørgen Bender. The very different colour of the dress may have occurred because there had painted a portrait of the Queen and the painter had the dress sway backed and it might has been faded in the sun. Since 1973 the dress has been worn at several different occasions. It features a low neckline on the back, which you unfortunately can't see.

11 comments:

  1. Henriette:

    Great post. Please make available the name of the book or was this taken from a pamphlet from the exhibit? I would dearly love if this were a traveling exhibit because I would surely be there with bells on! In addition, would you have any information about what looks like a grey tulle gown in the 7th through 11th photo. I don't think I have seen that dress on the Queen--it surely is lovely.

    Merry Christmas All.

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    1. RW: The book is called "Dronningens Kjoler" written by Katia Johansen, just like I write in the post :) I know this exhibition have 'traveled' to several different places in Copenhagen but I'm sure it will ever leave Denmark. I actually do have informations and pictures from the exhibition of the grey tulle dress :) I will add all of this to the for you. I just had to chose some of the dresses because else it would be way too much to write about. You will soon see the changes. All the best, Styleofmary

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  2. Replies
    1. Sorry RW but this turned out completely wrong. Because this exhibition has not travelled anywhere. I need to give an explanation of mean with what I wrote. A reader made me aware of my terrible mistake. On occasion of the Queens 40 years as Queen of Denmark in 2012, a celebration we all remember, some of these dresses were exhibited at Amalienborg Museum. This exhibition was on occasion of her 75th birthday. Don't know if this makes any sense and I'm so sorry of the confusion.

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  3. Henriette:

    Thank you so very much for the update--it is greatly appreciated.

    Happy New Year!

    RW

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    1. I took a little longer than I expected to do an update but at the same time I realized that there were many more photos and stories to share ;) Make it a wonderful new year!

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  4. Henriette:

    Thanks for the reminder about this post and also for the update: What a feast for the eyes? I truly love the Queen's style! I too love voluminous skirts and tulle. Unfortunately, I am not good at sewing or else I would alter or re-design my dresses etc.

    By the way, the book mentioned in your post is still available for purchase, unfortunately, not in English!!!

    Thanks again.

    Kind regards,

    RW.

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    1. You are welcome!
      I also love this post very much because it shows the Queen's life in "just" dresses. Few are able to do the same. Who knows, maybe Mary will get her own exhibition one day? I will keep my finger crossed.

      Though the book only is available in Danish it is differently worth buying. Amazing pictures, showing the Queen at several occasions wearing the dresses. I can't translate the entire book but I will always help with translations if you need it.

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  5. Henriette:
    Thank you for your very kind offer--it is something to think about! However; I found another book by the same author on the subject of royal gowns and it is in English! It is from an exhibit held in 1990 at the Rosenborg Palace:

    "Royal Gowns: Rosenborg Palace (Copenhagen, 1990)"
    Book by Katia Johansen

    Once I get it in hand, I will share with you my thoughts--this one is in English. Do you know anything about it? I feel certain that gowns worn by Queen Margrethe were featured.

    I agree an exhibit of Crown Princess Mary's gowns will be quite interesting. Once the time comes, I am sure she will also have an exhibit of her gowns.

    I too love this post. Thanks again for reminding us about it.

    Kind regards,

    RW.

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    1. I am very happy for you that you have found a readable book :D That is wonderful. I have never heard about it before so I can't tell a thing about it. Unfortunately. Hopefully you will share your experience when getting it. For sure there will be much good stuff to read about and lots of pictures to enjoy. The book about the Queen's dresses is remarkable and this might be too.

      Happy reading!

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