Two regal displays at Worthing Museum for jubilee

The coronation replica dress on minature dolls
The coronation replica dress on minature dolls

TO celebrate the diamond jubilee, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery has two very special displays on show.

One is of a collection of dolls wearing replicas of robes of state worn for different stages of both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria’s coronations.

One of the dresses is a perfect miniature replica of the Queen’s coronation dress.

The skilfully crafted model was hand-made in the 1950s by local doll collector Dicey Williams.

Exhibition curator Gerry Connolly said “The doll maker has captured the exquisite detail of the sumptuous gowns and robes worn by two of this country’s longest-reigning monarchs at various stages in their lives, including an outstanding replica of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation gown designed by famous couturier Norman Hartnell.”

Mrs Williams had originally wanted to have the dolls cremated with her upon her death, but later changed her mind and the collection was donated to the museum.

Another exhibition, marks the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria with a collection of historic items, such as a delicate silk cape which was donated in 1952.

Very recently, the museum has received confirmation that the cape is, in fact, the one worn by Queen Victoria at the garden party in Buckingham Palace on the occasion of her own diamond jubilee on June 28, 1897.

Research by Royal Historic Palaces verified the cape’s royal credentials.

Gerry said: “A curator carried out research on the royal archive which unearthed a photograph that proves the story which the donor of the cape had told. The photograph is, in fact, one of the official photographs released by the palace as part of the jubilee celebrations. The image was published in The Illustrated London News on August 7, 1897.

“It is fantastic that we are able to exhibit the cape worn by our present queen’s great, great-grandmother Queen Victoria for her own diamond jubilee.”

The display is available to view in the historic costume gallery at the museum in Chapel Road.