Britain · Norway

Pocket Profile – Queen Maud Part 2

Note: Hey Handbaggers, Maud had a tiny waist and that she maintained it through corsetry is no secret. Let’s not delve into the potential dangers of that practice. It can get contentious, and we prefer to focus on fashion and other light topics Thanks!

Royal as she was, Maud’s youthful life and early married days were relatively obscure. As Queen, she took center stage. This required adjustments on the part of the shy royal, and one of these was a change in wardrobe. She had some natural attributes that helped, she was slim, tiny-waisted, and had a certain charming gravitas about her.

Between 1910 and 1938, the prime years of her queenhood, she attended countless public events and had hundreds of royal dresses made up. Styles changed considerably over this period, and Maud – while never the first to take up a new trend – adapted while keeping to her own personality. She had certain style rules. For example, she was relatively short and her clothes always emphasized the vertical, to make her appear taller.

In many ways, Maud was well suited to her new home. She loved the outdoors, and had missed country life while living in Copenhagen. In Norway, she was able to ski, skate and tobaggen, to the point that her presence at these activities increased the profile of Norwegian country life.

Queen Maud, enjoying one of her favorite activities, skiing, in 1906. Note the stylish beret.

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Due to her natural reticence the Queen found grand occasions difficult, however she loved to dance and dress up. Even the notoriously picky French press found the Queen “….stunning in appearance.” They did add, “But it is understandable. Is she not the daughter of Queen Alexandra?”

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Below are a series of evening gowns worn by the queen from 1907 to 1918. The stunning black and white gown is the “Arlesienne” (Worth, 1912), silver grey sequined gown with rose (Barolet, 1921), three gowns by Laferrière (1907, 1908), and several gowns from the era by unidentified designers. The Arlesienne gown was also owned by Queen Ena.

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In the twenties and thirties, the Queen wore a series of day dresses and coats that are pure works of art. The bold black dress with red piping is the “Flirt”, by Worth, and dates to 1938. The other dresses and the deep red coat are by unidentifed designers.

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The Queen retained a British heart. She continued to spend time in her British home on the Sandringham grounds, Appleton House, and to be seen at British royal events. Below the Queen and King Olav are seen at Sandringham.

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The Queen attended her nephew King George VI’s coronation in 1937. As she did for her father’s and husband’s coronations, she chose a gold lame with the palest of pink undertones. From notes of the time, it’s speculated that dress was designed by Worth. She wore the ermine edged robe from Edward VII’s coronation.

In the autumn of 1938, the Queen returned to Britain. During her stay she was admitted to the hospital for an operation, which was unfortunately unsuccessful. She died on November 20, 1938, with King Olav by her side. Her funeral was at Oslo Cathedral, and she was buried in the Royal Mausoleum. She had been Queen of Norway for 33 years.

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This is surprisingly only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Queen Maud’s spectacular wardrobe. Look for a Designer Diary on the topic in 2021.