HRH The Countess of Wessex visited the Fashion Museum in Bath on Tuesday 26 February. Her Royal Highness toured the museum galleries and viewed one of her own outfits on display: the ensemble that she wore to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April 2011, which was personally selected by The Countess for the Royal Women exhibition.
HRH was welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Mrs Annie Maw, Deputy Lord Lieutenant Edward Bayntun-Coward and Chair of Bath & North East Somerset Council Cllr Karen Walker. She was shown around the Assembly Rooms and Museum by Head of Heritage Services Stephen Bird, Fashion Museum Manager Rosemary Harden, and Fashion Museum Collection Manager Elly Summers.
During the visit, HRH toured the A History of Fashion in 100 Objects and Royal Women exhibitions, and was presented with a Royal Women book. HRH also visited the Fashion Museum’s Study Facilities, where students, makers and fashion enthusiasts can arrange to see items from the Fashion Museum’s extensive collection. Here she saw a number of royal gloves being prepared for the forthcoming Glove Stories display (2 March 2019-1 March 2020).
Councillor Karen Walker, Chair of Bath & North East Somerset Council, which runs the Fashion Museum, said: “It was a great honour to welcome HRH The Countess of Wessex to the Fashion Museum. The Museum’s collection is one of the best of its kind in the world, and our staff enjoyed showing HRH around the exhibitions and showcasing the care and preparation work that goes on behind the scenes ahead of a display or exhibition at the Fashion Museum.”
The ensemble that the Countess wore to the 2011 royal wedding is currently on display in the Royal Womenexhibition alongside fashions worn by successive generations of women in the Royal Family, including Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret. The ensemble consists of a 2011 Bruce Oldfield ecru silk jacket and skirt worn with a feather and rose ecru silk hat by Jane Taylor, and a matching Bruce Oldfield clutch bag. Royal Women runs until 28 April 2019.
The Fashion Museum, widely acknowledged as one of the top ten of its kind in the world, has a collection that is ‘Designated’ by Government, a status that recognises collections of national / international pre-eminence in non-national museums.