Costumes worn by the Queen as a teenager in pantomimes are unveiled at Windsor Castle
As December approaches, the nation is getting into the festive spirit by putting up their Christmas decorations – and Windsor Castle is no different.
Berkshire’s royal residence has been transformed with twinkling lights, festive garlands and towering 20-foot Christmas trees topped by angels.
Meanwhile, costumes created for a teenage princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret are shown for the first time as they take the stage in an old mother’s pantomime in red riding boots.
Starting today, visitors can view the dazzling decorations and incredible costumes in the State Apartments – which are separate from the Queen’s private quarters.
Windsor Castle in Berkshire has been transformed with twinkling lights, festive garlands and towering 20ft Christmas trees topped by angels
Meanwhile, costumes created for a teenage princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret are shown for the first time as they take the stage in a pantomime of old mother Red Riding Boots (pictured)
The costumes were worn by teenage princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret as they took the stage in an Old Mother Red Riding Boots pantomime and Aladdin (pictured)
A young Elizabeth, now the Queen, wore a long-sleeved pink satin and lace dress to play Lady Christina Sherwood for the World War II production when she was 18.
She also donned a chintz shirt, slacks and sun hat for a seaside scene, in which Margaret donned a blue taffeta dress with cream lace bloomers to play The Honorable Lucinda Fairfax.
The carefully preserved outfits will be on display for the first time from today until January 31st as part of a special Christmas at Windsor Castle in the Berkshire royal residence.
They are shown alongside the outfits the princesses wore for their wartime Aladdin pantomime, which have been previously exhibited.
Berkshire’s royal residence has been transformed with twinkling lights, festive garlands and towering 20ft Christmas trees topped by angels
Staff could be seen delicately hanging Christmas decorations from huge trees for the exhibition in the castle, which opens today
The royal siblings were deeply involved in every aspect of the arrangements for Old Mother Red Riding Boots, performing with children from the Windsor Castle community and the Royal Windsor School.
The specially created show combined elements of a number of different pantomimes and fairy tales, and was written and produced by Hubert Tanner, the school’s principal.
It was performed three times in December 1944, and tickets were made available for each performance to an audience of between 300 and 600 people.
Special discounted seats were offered to members of the armed forces and dress rehearsals were attended by employees of the Ministry of Works and Planning who assisted in the technical arrangements for each production.
Bright and pretty, a twinkling Christmas tree sets a festive mood in one of Windsor Castle’s grand halls
Dazzling decorations: The staff put the finishing touches on one of the Christmas trees. Visitors can view the decorations from today
The princesses’ parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and other members of the royal family attended each pantomime.
All proceeds from the productions were donated to the Royal Household Wool Fund to provide wool for making quilts for soldiers fighting at the front.
The couturier of the surviving costumes is unknown, but many of the costumes worn in the royal pantomimes between 1941 and 1944 were supplied by two theater costume firms, H&M Rayne and L&H Nathan.
The princesses also wore some of their own clothing for certain scenes, including day and evening ensembles created by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell.
Costumes, including a hat worn by the Queen during an Aladdin performance, are on display at Windsor Castle until January (pictured)
Mind blow! One of the costumes was worn by Princess Margaret in an Aladdin performance (left), while another striking red and gold embroidered tunic worn by a fellow cast member to play ‘The King’ can also be seen (right)
The costumes are on display in Windsor Castle’s Waterloo Chamber, where the pantomimes were originally performed 80 years ago
The blue taffeta dress covered in cream lace and matching cream lace bloomers worn by Princess Margaret to play The Hon. Lucinda Fairfax (photo)
The costumes are on display in Windsor Castle’s Waterloo Chamber, where the pantomimes were originally performed 80 years ago.
Also on display are the 16 large-scale and colorful images of fairytale characters that were pasted around the walls at the time to decorate the space.
Christmas decorations also transform the State Apartments at Windsor Castle, along with a 20-foot-tall tree in St George’s Hall.
Christmas at Windsor Castle is from November 25 to January 3, 2022. The Princesses’ Pantomimes display is from November 25 to January 31, 2022.
Meanwhile, the Queen also wore this chintz-coordinated jacket and bloomers during a seaside scene in the piece (pictured)
The garments are shown alongside the outfits the princesses wore for their wartime Aladdin pantomime, which have been previously showcased (Aladdin’s costumes shown worn by the Queen)
The exhibition comes as it was revealed that the Queen is ‘completely committed’ to hosting Christmas at Sandringham after being allowed a week’s rest in hospital on the advice of royal doctors.
Earlier this month Her Majesty underwent medical tests and spent a night at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, her first stay in eight years and has canceled all working visits for the next two weeks.
The 95-year-old, who used a walking stick for the first time during two royal visits this month, is currently recovering at Windsor Castle but is keen to recover quickly for the holidays.
The monarch believes hosting a celebratory gathering at her Norfolk home will be ‘the perfect tonic’ after a year of canceled appointments due to the pandemic.
The exhibition comes as it was revealed the Queen is ‘completely committed’ to hosting Christmas at Sandringham after resting after a week in hospital on the advice of royal doctors
A royal insider told the Mirror: ‘This year it is more than ever incredibly important for Her Majesty to be surrounded by her loved ones.
“The Queen is fully committed to welcoming everyone as she hopes to be fully healthy in the coming weeks.”
“After being forced to cancel a large number of appointments, the family gathering will be the perfect tonic.”
This will be the Queen’s first Christmas since Prince Philip died in April this year and the insider added that after being forced to cancel several engagements due to the pandemic, “the family gathering will be the perfect tonic.”