The surprising way the Royal christening gown got its colour

Posted in Family.

Remember the gorgeous lace gown baby Archie wore in his christening photo? His cousins Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis also wore it when they were christened.

It’s beautiful and is a replica of the original Royal baby christening gown that has been worn for hundreds of years.

But now we know an interesting little fact about how it got its ‘been passed down for generations’ hue.

And it is VERY English, ladies and gentlemen.

Steeped in tradition

The replica gown is based on the original Royal Christening gown, which was first commissioned by Queen Victoria for her eldest daughter, Victoria, in 1841.

Before the gown was decommissioned by The Queen in 2004, it had been worn by 62 Royal babies, including Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry.

When The Queen decided the gown needed to be replaced, she assigned her dressmaker Angela Kelly to create a new replica version.

But of course, it had to look authentic, which means it needed to look a little, well, stained.

Dunked in tea!

In her tell-all book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe, Kelly reveals how she got the new gown looking perfectly old.

And it is very English!

“Together, we sourced lace to complement that being made in Italy, and to make sure it looked authentic we dyed it in Yorkshire tea (the strongest, as we all know),” Kelly says, in extracts published in Hello! magazine.

“We placed each piece of lace in a small bowl, from the Dressers’ Kitchen, filled with cool water and a tea bag, and left it for about five minutes, checking regularly until the colour was perfect.”

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This morning, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was christened in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle at an intimate service officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are so happy to share the joy of this day with members of the public who have been incredibly supportive since the birth of their son. They thank you for your kindness in welcoming their first born and celebrating this special moment. Their Royal Highnesses feel fortunate to have enjoyed this day with family and the godparents of Archie. Their son, Archie, was baptised wearing the handmade replica of the royal christening gown which has been worn by royal infants for the last 11 years. The original Royal Christening Robe, made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 and first worn by her eldest daughter. It was subsequently worn for generations of Royal christenings, including The Queen, her children and her grandchildren until 2004, when The Queen commissioned this handmade replica, in order for the fragile historic outfit to be preserved, and for the tradition to continue. Photo credit: Chris Allerton ©️SussexRoyal

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A nine-month process

It took Kelly a long time to get the colour right.

“At each stage of the process, I would show our progress to the Queen: first the bodice, then the sleeves attached to it, then the skirt with the under-layers on, and finally the completed robe. Her Majesty was very interested to see how it was developing.

“From start to finish, it had taken us, appropriately, nine months,” she reveals.

Who knew?

Looking exactly like the original, Royal fans were not disappointed with the tea-stained replica.

The last Royal bub to wear the original was Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s daughter, Lady Louise in 2004.

The first Royal baby to wear the replica was Prince Edward and the Countess’ son James, Viscount Severn in 2008.

Since then a new generation of Royals have worn a new version that actually looks very, very old.

And it’s all thanks to some good ol’ Yorkshire tea.



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