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Stock No. 9344
Victoria May Chichester was the daughter of Rear Admiral Sir Edward Chichester, 9th Baronet and Catharina Emma Whyte. She married Gilbert Alan Hamilton Wills, 1st Baron Dulverton on 2 December 1914. She was invested as an Officer, Order of the British Empire in 1951. Her husband was known as Sir Gilbert Wills, 2nd Baronet from 1909 to 1929 and was a British businessman and a Conservative Member of Parliament. The Wills family was part owner of W.D. and H.O. Wills, tobacco importers and cigarette manufacturers, which later became part of Imperial Tobacco. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Dulverton of Batsford in the County of Gloucester in 1929.
W. W. Reville-Terry Ltd
Reville-Terry was a sophisticated and well-known couture salon owned by William Wallace Terry, who took the professional name of Reville. Operating under various names such as Reville and Rossiter and Reville Ltd, the fashion house was eventually to split into two in 1928, with William Terry directing W.W. Reville-Terry Ltd. In 1936, he took over the prestigious salon of Worth. Designing costumes for the nobility and minor royalty, the company was dressmaker to Queen Mary and advertised regularly in Vogue magazine in the 1920s. Another of Reville-Terry’s prestigious customers was Queen Maud of Norway, daughter of Edward Vll and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Using all the best European couture houses, Maud was famous for her exemplary style and sophistication and used Reville-Terry for many items of her wardrobe. At least one of her gowns made by the couturier is on display at The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo and was represented in an exhibition in 2005 at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of Norway’s centenary celebrations, titled ‘Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway’s Wardrobe, 1896 – 1938’
Coronation of George Vl
The coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was held on 12 May 1937, on the day that had originally been chosen for the coronation of Edward VIII before he abdicated. Staff on duty started work at 4am and the guests began arriving at 6am, with anecdotal stories of many peers carrying sandwiches in their coronets. At 9.30 the procession of the Regalia started, going through the cloisters to the Abbey. Since the time of Charles II the crowns and other regalia have been brought to the Jerusalem Chamber (part of the Deanery) the night before a coronation and placed in charge of the Dean. Eyewitnesses recalled that the overall impression in the Abbey was colour everywhere, with blue and gold hangings and carpets and crimson robes and uniforms. Queen Mary and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret attended, watching from the royal gallery. Apart from the Archbishop thinking that the Dean had given him St Edward’s crown the wrong way round, a bishop stepping on the king’s train and another putting his thumb over the words of the oath when the king was about to read it, the ceremony was incident free. American-born socialite Sir Henry ‘Chips’ Channon remembered the ceremony in his diary; ‘I tried to remember the great moments of the ceremony: I think the shaft of sunlight, catching the King’s golden tunic as he sat for the crowning… and the loveliest moment of all, the swirl when the peeresses put on their coronets: a thousand white gloved arms, sparkling with jewels, lifting their tiny coronets’.
In 1614, a barrister called John Seldon published a book called ‘Titles of Honour’, an extraordinary and comprehensive description of all positions of nobility and rank throughout history and Europe. In it he described peers’ robes in detail and these descriptions almost identically match the details of the robes worn by peers today. Peers’ ceremonial robes are used solely for coronations, resulting in such robes having been used only a dozen times in the last 300 years. They comprise a full-length crimson velvet coat and an ermine cape. Rows of sealskin spots on the ermine designate the peer’s rank; dukes use four rows, marquesses three and a half, earls three, viscounts two and a half and barons and lords of Parliament, two. Peeresses’ ranks are designated not be sealskin spots but by the length of their trains and the width of the ermine edging on the same. For duchesses the trains are two yards long, for marchionesses, one and three-quarters yards, for countesses, one and a half yards, for viscountesses, one and a quarter yards and for baronesses and ladies, one yard. The ermine edgings are five inches for duchesses, four for marchionesses, three for countesses and two inches for viscountesses, baronesses and ladies. Instead of a loose cape as worn by peers, a peeress’s robe is close fitting, open down the front and with short fitted sleeves edged with miniver fur. A small cape is worn across the shoulders whilst the train is edged with the finest ermine. The coronets of Dukes show eight strawberry leaves.