Who was Queen Maud of Norway?
Princess Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria was born 26 November 1869, fifth child of the Prince and Princess of Wales and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The youngest of two boys and three girls, Maud had a frugal but relaxed upbringing at her father's estate at Sandringham in Norfolk. Her mother, Princess Alexandra was a great sportswoman and encouraged all her children to ride, skate and bicycle.

Princess Maud married her cousin, Prince Carl of Denmark on 22 July 1896. Following the honeymoon, they lived in Copenhagen, while Carl pursued his naval career. Their son, Alexander, was born in 1903.

This quiet life changed completely in 1905, when the political union linking Norway and Sweden was dissolved. The newly independent Norway voted to be a monarchy rather than a republic and Prince Carl was elected King. He changed his name to become King Haakon and his son became Crown Prince Olav. The coronation was held 22 June 1906 in Trondhjem. Princess Maud was now Queen Consort of Norway.

Her wardrobe reflects this sudden change in lifestyle. Not only did Queen Maud need a coronation dress and additional clothes for the events surrounding this important occasion, but for her new role as Queen Consort.

Photo of Queen Maud, 1909
Photo of Queen Maud, 1909,
Anderson/Det Kongelige Slott, Oslo

Her wardrobe documents the public and private side of her life. She needed sumptuous state gowns and evening dresses for official occasions, as well as riding habits and winter clothes for her sporting pursuits. Smart tailored suits and simple silk dresses reflect the personal side of her life, such as afternoons in the garden with her grandchildren.

Queen Maud's wardrobe also illustrates the dramatic changes in women's fashions from the last decade of the Victorian era to the years just before the Second World War. Ankle-length skirts with layers of complicated clothing transformed into simple dresses finishing just below the knee. This amazing evolution can be followed in the display.

Maud engaged with contemporary fashion throughout her life commissioning well-known couturiers and dressmakers in Britain, France and Norway to make her clothes. Flawlessly beaded gowns, perfectly cut and hand-finished suits, beautifully embroidered and appliquéd dresses exemplify the high standards of tailoring and couture dressmaking during this period.

Included in the display is the last purchase of clothes Queen Maud made from the French couture company, Worth. Selected from Worth's latest designs, they were ordered shortly before her death 20 November 1938.

Queen Maud, Crown Prince Olav and King Haakon Det Kongelige Slott, Oslo
Queen Maud, Crown Prince Olav
and King Haakon, 1907,
Det Kongelige Slott, Oslo