Queen’s Speech: the Heat is On
The Queen’s Speech 2017
State events, with all their pomp and ceremony may be an opportunity to see a few traditional uniforms in all their colourful glory, but we can’t help wondering what it might be like for those that have to wear them in a heatwave that’s nudging 32°C (that’s global warming for you). You can understand why fully uniformed guardsmen were fainting at Trooping the Colour a few days ago.
A bearskin hat is probably not the best headgear in that heat, of course (it was skirts and linen for us in Fashionizer’s new offices), so it was pretty fortunate that yesterday’s State Opening of Parliament ended up being a much more low-key event, with a minimal number of men in hot uniforms and the Queen in an outfit that was more in line with a royal visit than a state ceremony. The official reason was that the last-minute scheduling of the ceremony left no time for rehearsals, but the Queen must have been thankful for the stroke of good fortune, mainly because it meant she didn’t have to wear this:
- An ermine cape with a 4.5-metre long train in crimson velvet, lined with more ermine.
- A train top, decorated with gold lace and gold filigree, bringing the total weight of the robe to nearly 7kg (pretty much the same weight as two new-born babies).
- The Imperial State Crown, with its velvet, ermine-trimmed crown made of gold, silver and platinum, and decorated with 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and five rubies. That weighs a mere kilo more.
Instead she wore an outfit that we can’t help but describe as fit for purpose: summery blue and yellow, loosely cut, a traditional hat making her very visible (although with some twitter speculation about whether the blue hat with its small yellow detail was a subtle nod to the EU’s blue and yellow flag).
The other advantage of the hastily scheduled event was that Her Majesty was able to travel to the Houses of Parliament in a car with air conditioning. That’s got to be cooler than a heavy gold coach. The crown itself should know: it travelled in its own, chilled limo.
The purpose of her journey was to deliver the Queen’s speech. Curiously, on the hottest June day since 1976, climate change was noticeable by its absence in the speech itself.
For the garment industry that is an issue that is very much on the agenda, with sustainability and environmental issues being a challenge.
We would, of course, be happy to do our bit for the guardsmen on future ceremonial events, and make them a sustainable, lightweight version of the state military uniforms. We’re guessing that climate change might make that a good idea sooner than we think.