‘A Working Royal Wardrobe – The Public Persona of Queen Alexandra’

Strasdin, Kate ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7617-9153 (2014) ‘A Working Royal Wardrobe – The Public Persona of Queen Alexandra’. In: Tailored Trades Network Conference, September 2014, Bishopsgate Institute.

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Abstract / Summary

As the world press disseminates images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touring Australia, the concept of a carefully presented working royal wardrobe feels like a familiar one, ensuring that both sartorial and cultural expectations are realised and logistical considerations managed.

It was not always thus, but during the second half of the 19th century and into the first decade of the 20th century, one celebrated figure successfully negotiated the realities of nomadic royalty. Alexandra, Princess of Wales and from 1901, Queen Consort to Edward VII arguably rescued the British monarchy from the brink of crisis following Queen Victoria’s retreat from public life. A young and vivacious Danish Princess, she married Edward Prince of Wales in 1863 and was launched into British society to become the public face of royalty. Her popularity was enormous and this was in no small part due to her shrewd sartorial decisions.

This paper will consider how Alexandra made her wardrobe work in her favour when travelling both in Britain and abroad, promoting the royal family in a recognisably modern fashion. The management of her appearance was a carefully crafted affair and relied upon the skill of those who have been largely hidden from the historical record – the dressers and wardrobe maids, the directors of travel, messengers, dressmakers, tailors and hairdressers – who all ensured that the public persona of the Princess of Wales exceeded the expectations of the many thousands of British subjects who inevitably flocked to see her.

Based on recently completed PhD research, I will consider how Alexandra managed the complexities of dressing and changing garments whilst travelling. Using evidence from surviving garments, diaries, letters and photographs, it reveals Alexandra’s recognition that with an increasingly sophisticated media machine her managed appearance was a powerful contributor to positive public perceptions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Fashion & Textiles
Courses by Department: The Fashion & Textiles Institute > Fashion Design
Depositing User: Kate Strasdin
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 13:34
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 13:16
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/1582


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