Short course
Royal Dress and Appearance: Medieval to Modern

Friday 27 September 2019 - Friday 6 December 2019

  • Friday 27 September 2019 - Friday 6 December 2019

  • Seminar Room 1

  • Course price £380.00 - £472.00

  • +44 (0)20 7942 2000

    9.00 – 17.30, Monday-Sunday (closed 24-26 December)


In 2016, Queen Elizabeth II remarked, “I have to be seen to be believed”. Learn how the clothing and dress of British royalty has changed over the past thousand years to reflect shifting social and political roles. Looking closely at documents, clothing, jewellery, portraiture, and even social media, you’ll explore the wardrobes of key figures, from the Angevins to the Windsors.

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Dr Benjamin Wild

FRHistS, author and lecturer Dr Benjamin Wild

Dr Benjamin Wild, FRHistS, is a consultant lecturer at Sotheby’s. He has published widely on the subject of fashion and material culture. Benjamin’s book A Life in Fashion: The Wardrobe of Cecil Beaton was published by Thames & Hudson, February 2016. From Carnival to Cosplay: A History of Fancy Dress Costume is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Academic.

I found the breadth and depth of this course exciting and fascinating. Such an incredible series of lectures! 2018/2019 Short Course Student

Course Overview

Between the Middle Ages and Modernity, the role of British royals changed considerably and the clothes they wore reflect this. From ceremonial to day wear, crown jewels to haute couture, the conspicuous to the conventional, discover the changing form and function of rulers’ dress between the Angevin and Windsor dynasties. The course will consider key periods, when rulers’ clothing underwent marked changes. It will examine the role of specific royals and designers, whose political will and aesthetic vision shaped the look and performance of monarchy. Through the evaluation of a comprehensive range of records, paintings, garments, jewellery and regalia, the course will explain how the appearance of today’s royals continues to be informed by the past; a connection made all the more important as their political authority has waned.


Course tickets will be available for priority booking for V&A Members from 9.30am Monday 6 May 2019. General booking will open on 9.30am Monday 13 May 2019, subject to availability.

This course has a Half Term break on 25 Oct • Refreshments served • Price reductions available for Seniors (60+), jobseekers (ES40 holders) and registered disabled people

Enrol Now

Short course: Royal Dress and Appearance: Medieval to Modern

27 September 2019 - 6 December 2019

£380.00 - £472.00


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)