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Tales from the Royal Wardrobe with Lucy Worsley
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Anyone who believes that fashion is a load of inconsequential, frivolous nonsense should watch Lucy Worsley’s entertaining and detailed examination of the significance of clothes worn by royalty.
She presents a convincing argument that every monarch has used clothing to construct an image of power or to project a certain message, whether it was Henry VIII’s manly attire and impressive codpiece (the inspiration for the expression “a man’s crown jewels”), Elizabeth I’s use of decorative symbolism (pearls for purity, a rainbow for peace and a serpent for wisdom) as propaganda or Queen Victoria’s insistence on wearing British fashion at all public events.
It’s spattered with glorious anecdotes and tidbits while Worsley is her usual enthusiastic self, as excited to be laced into corsets, hoops and bum rolls from the Elizabethan era or to sport Edward VIII’s golfing knitwear as she is unwrapping the gloves Charles I wore to his execution or one of Princess Diana’s designer dresses.
The historian and curator looks at the fashion styles of former kings and queens, contemplating whether their wardrobes were intended to be a personal statement to the people. From Elizabeth I to the present queen, she looks at how most monarchs have carefully choreographed their clothes - and the disastrous consequences for those who did not.
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