Camilla’s coronation gown designer opens up design process

‘Camilla simply wants to look beautiful’: Queen’s Coronation dress designer reveals how he was asked to craft her gown – confessing his team ‘know her figure and foibles’

Queen Camilla’s coronation gown designer Bruce Oldfield has opened up about the multiple fittings he had with the royal ahead of the historic ceremony.

The designer, 72, who had a professional relationship with Princess Diana for 10 years, was approached by Buckingham Palace to create Camilla’s gown last year.

Speaking to Tatler, Bruce described the job as the ‘biggest commission of [his] life’ and explained how his team started work late last year.

He explained: ‘I’ve been dressing Her Majesty for more than a decade. My team knows her figure, her foibles, the bits that we want to exaggerate, the things that we want to diminish, as we do with every client.’ 

Above all, Bruce said Camilla is ‘like all women’ in that she wanted to ‘look beautiful’ on the most important day of her life. 

The Queen Consort pictured in her Coronation gown and wearing the Queen Mary crown following the historic ceremony

He said: ‘She wants to be in skilled hands, with someone who knows what they’re doing – someone who can pull off what they promise.’ 

He explained how he was asked to design the gown, saying: ‘I was asked late last year – quite a long time ago – but there was a lot to do, so we got to work instantly.

‘Soon, the actual design of the gown was decided and it was then the turn of the team to get on with making patterns, cutting and making the cotton mock-ups of the finished dress, which were then fitted on the Queen. 

‘We did three toile fittings (a mock-up of the finished dress) at Clarence House until we were all satisfied and then it was a break for Christmas.’

The show-stopping ivory gown was covered in ornate silver embroidery and also had the names of her children and grandchildren discreetly incorporated into the design near the bottom of her skirt.

Sharing close up snaps of the gown on Twitter royal expert Victoria Howard spotted that the bespoke dress appeared to reveal the names of her two children, Tom and Laura, along with those of her grandchildren, Gus, Freddy, Louis, Eliza and Lola.

Royal fans also noticed two gold terrier pups embroidered onto the gown to represent Charles and Camilla’s rescue dogs Beth and Bluebell.

The royals rescued the pooches from Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home in 2017. The two adorable dogs have even made Buckingham Palace their new home.

Bruce Oldfield pictured in July 2013. The designer has been working with Queen Camilla for the past 10 years

Meanwhile her grandsons were pages of honour during the ceremony and her granddaughter was present on the day.

On the day of the Coronation, Bruce and his ‘sidekick’ Sophie Rowe were also on hand to ensure Camilla’s gown was ‘perfectly set out’. 

In the morning, the designer said Camilla arrived in an ermine trimmed cloak which was then replaced with her ‘heavily embroidered mantle’.

Over the years, Bruce says he has developed a close bond with Camilla and dressed her for several significant occasions.

Queen Camilla and Bruce Oldfield pictured together in November 2017. The designer described being asked to design Camilla's coronation gown as the 'biggest commission of [his] life'

One insider previously told The Sun he was the ‘obvious’ choice for Camilla for the coronation on May 6.

‘Camilla has a very close friendship with Bruce spanning many years so in many ways it is the natural and obvious choice,’ the source said.

‘Camilla trusts Bruce because he has really delivered on dresses for so many important occasions recently for her.’

While Oldfield has not commented on the suggestion he’s designing the gown, he previously said: ‘I gave Diana her glamour and Camilla her confidence.’  

See the full feature in the July issue of Tatler available via digital download and on newsstands from Thursday 25th May


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