Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spitalfields Silk & Honiton Lace: Queen Victoria's Wedding (Part 5)

A Vision in White
Queen Victoria in Her Wedding Dress, 1840
Photo Credit: Tuppence Ha'penny

At half past one, Albert's Bride stepped over the threshold into the Chapel. It's possible his first glimpse of her was slightly obstructed by Lord Melbourne.

One wonders whether he smiled as he caught sight of her pale beauty. She must have been a vision in her elegant satin dress made of creamy white silk, her wreath of white orange blossoms, and layer upon layer of white Honiton lace (pronounced “Huniton”).

Her dress and veil were masterpieces made entirely in England under Her Majesty’s strict orders. During a time when the Industrial Revolution and the expansion of European trade routes enticed many wealthy brides to import silk from France and lace from Brussels, the dressmakers and textile workers in England were enduring great hardship.

The Queen, ever aware of her duty as Mother of her nation, and quite possibly inspired by the novels of Charles Dickens, attempted to remedy this hardship on the advent of her wedding. {9}

Her Royal Majesty insisted upon purchasing the heavy white silk for her gown from Spitalfields and yards and yards of handmade Honiton lace from needleworkers in Beer, Devon.

Both Spitalfields and Devon had long been home to the Huguenots. These famed weavers had been Protestant refugees who settled in South England in the 1600s, after fleeing religious persecution in France. These skilled weavers diligently passed their secrets on to subsequent generations, and Queen Victoria wished to support their struggling kin.

Read Part 4

Read Part 6


2 comments:

  1. Hi Honey, Just finished catching up this series. Very well done. I was especially fascinated by this segment. Keep up the great writing!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mom! I'm glad you had some time to catch up, and I'm really glad you have enjoyed it so much!

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