We’ve had our share of tragic queens and princesses lately, so let’s turn to one who was a happy spirit. She was also quite a fashion plate, so this demands a two part Pocket Profile.
Queen Maud of Norway was born a princess of England in November 1869. Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria was the third daughter and fifth child of the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward , and the Princess of Wales, Alexandra. She was a grandaughter of Queen Victoria. Despite being as royal as possible, she was brought up in a fairly casual and frugal way on the Sandringham estate. She was known as a tomboy and a “tearaway”, so much so that her nickname in the family was Harry. She was reportedly her father’s favorite, but was enough of a girly girl to pick up a passion for fashion from her stylish mother.
Princess Maud and her sisters Princesses Louise (Princess Royal) and Victoria, 1886.
Below, Princesses Maud and Victoria, 1890.
King Edward and Queen Alexandra and their children. Maud is in the back row, fourth from the left.
In 1895 she was engaged to Prince Carl of Denmark, the son of Alexandra’s brother, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. Despite the groom being three years younger than she was, and her first cousin, the marriage was considered a love affair. Maud kept the liliac blouse she wore when she was first engaged with the note, “To be kept always….”
The couple was married in 1896, Maud wearing her famous gown by Rosalie Whyte, a student at the Royal Female School of Art. The gown was bedecked with orange blossom, and highlighted her small waist. She wore the veil also worn by her mother, Queen Alexandra.
The young couple lived in Denmark for the first nine years of their marriage, in as quiet and ordinary way as a prince and princess could. They had a son, Prince Alexander Edward Christian Frederik. Maude was often off to England, most notably to attend her father’s coronation in 1902.
The gown that is assumed to be the one she wore to her father’s coronation is shown below, although the sleeves are different from photographs of her at the event. The detailing is machine lace, embroidered with gilt thread. The train was long enough for the grand occasion, and the square neck is a trademark of the Queen. The dress was made by the Paris fashion house La Ferrière, which made several gowns for the Queen in the early years of her life in Norway.
In 1905, the Norwegians dissolved their union with Sweden and established their own monarchy, choosing Prince Carl as their king. Carl became King Haakon, Alexander became Prince Olav, and Maude’s family was off to Norway to begin their reign. In 1906, the couple was crowned at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondjhem.
The Danish, soon to be Norwegian, royals in 1905.
The Queen’s coronation dress was thought to be a joint order between Vernon, of London, and Silkehuset of Kristiania, one of Norway’s top couture houses. This was a collaboration between her birth country and her new home. It’s speculated that the tailoring was done by Vernon and the embroidery by Siklehuset. The gold lame dress was embroidered with artificial pearls and diamante, using metallic thread. The dress sported a square neckline and a train.
The Queen’s life and her clothes changed considerably from that day on. Always stylish, she now became Queenly, in the Norwegian way. Which is to say royal, but accessible. Next week we’ll continue with the clothes from that period. If you need a Maud fix in the meantime, check out this superfan.