Ceremonial Robes made for the Dukes of Rutland for Coronation of George VI in 1937 to be shown at Belvoir Castle
The robes made for the Manners family have not been on public view for more than 22 years. With the Coronation of King Charles III on 6 May adopting less formal attire, there is now an opportunity to put the robes on display at the Leicestershire castle along with Coronation chairs and archive family photographs, documenting the regal occasions.
The Dukes of Rutland have taken part in most coronations since James II in 1685. The roles given to the different Dukes of Rutland varied each time but, in the main, they were bearers of the Sceptre of the Consort (wife of the King) and played a role in the anointing – holding the cloth of gold over the head of the Monarch.
Emma Manners, Duchess of Rutland, said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to share these beautifully made robes in this special Coronation year. It took us a while to track down where they had been stored, but I’m delighted to say we have now got the robes worn by the Duke and Duchess in 1937 and the three page uniforms worn by their three boys. We do hope everyone enjoys coming to see the robes which have been beautifully presented in the Ballroom by the theatrical design team led by Charlotte Lloyd Webber.”
The Duke’s Coronation Robes trimmed with Ermine and Coronet were worn by John, 9th Duke of Rutland at the Coronation of George VI at Westminster Abbey in 1937 where he performed the role of Bearer of the Consort’s sceptre and cross. The same robes were later worn by the Charles, 10th Duke of Rutland at the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.
The 9th Duchess – Kathleen Tennant – or ‘Kakoo’, as she was affectionately known, was a Canopy Bearer for the Queen Consort (The Queen Mother). The Duchess’s Coronation Robes and Coronet feature silver brocade on an oyster satin background, with a train robe trimmed with Ermine.
The red page attire was worn by Charles, Marquis of Granby (future 10th Duke of Rutland, father of the present Duke, David Manners) where he performed the role of page to the Duke of Gloucester just two weeks before his 18th birthday.
Lord John Manners (aged 14), was page to the 9th Duke of Rutland and wore a gold coat trimmed with blue, the Belvoir colours. Lord Roger Manners (aged 11) was page to the Lord Great Chamberlain, Second Earl of Ancaster at Coronation in a blue coat trimmed with gold.
All the page boy garments were made by Wilkinson & Son, Jermyn Street, London. Their coats are made of Mohair wool, with silk satin waistcoats and wool flannel breeches.
The Regency Castle is the perfect setting to celebrate the Coronation Weekend (7-8 May) and witness the firing of the cannons to mark this momentous occasion and enjoy the best of British fare and entertainment.
Belvoir Castle opens on 12 March for weekends only until April. Belvoir gardens, woodland adventure playground and Engine Yard village are open every day.