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King George IV’s sword made for his historic visit to Edinburgh in 1822 and jacket the monarch wore for iconic portrait go on display alongside baby shoes worn by his only child

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A stunning sword that was made for King George IV’s historic visit to Edinburgh in 1822 has gone on display in a new exhibition.

The ceremonial weapon, which is made of blued steel inlaid with gold, is being displayed at the King’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

It features alongside a deep blue uniform jacket that was designed by George himself, along with a pair of baby shoes worn by his only child, Princess Charlotte.

Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians, is the first exhibition to open at the King’s Gallery following an 18-month closure. It was previously known as The Queen’s gallery but was renamed following the death of Elizabeth II in September 2022. 

Overall, 100 objects from the Royal Collection are on display. Visitors will also be able to see a rarely displayed, full-length portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of Queen Charlotte, George IV’s mother.

A stunning sword that was made for King George IV's historic visit to Edinburgh in 1822 has gone on display in a new exhibition. The ceremonial weapon, which is made of blued steel inlaid with gold, is being displayed at the King's Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

A stunning sword that was made for King George IV’s historic visit to Edinburgh in 1822 has gone on display in a new exhibition. The ceremonial weapon, which is made of blued steel inlaid with gold, is being displayed at the King’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

It features alongside a deep blue uniform jacket that was designed by George himself. The deep blue military jacket is lined in white silk and boasts silver lace on the chest, along with five rows of wooden buttons

It was depicted in the monarch's portrait by Sir William Beechey

It features alongside a deep blue uniform jacket that was designed by George himself. The deep blue military jacket is lined in white silk and boasts silver lace on the chest, along with five rows of wooden buttons. It was depicted in the monarch’s portrait by Sir William Beechey

The deep blue military jacket is lined in white silk and boasts silver lace on the chest, along with five rows of wooden buttons.

It was depicted Sir William Beechey’s portrait of the monarch.

In 1782, when he was the Prince of Wales, George was appointed Colonel Commandent of the Tenth Light Dragoons, which then became known as The Prince of Wales’s Own.

In 1793 he spent his 33rd birthday with the regiment, and, although banned by his father from bearing arms on active service, he channeled his interest by collecting military dress.

His jacket would have been worn with a pelisse, a fur-trimmed jacket worn by Hussar regiments over the shoulder.  

Also seen in the new exhibition is Benjamin West’s portrait of three-year-old Prince Octavius, who, as the 13th child of George III and Queen Charlotte, was one of George’s youngest siblings.

These baby shoes were made for Princess Charlotte, the only child of King George IV and Queen Caroline

These baby shoes were made for Princess Charlotte, the only child of King George IV and Queen Caroline 

Princess Charlotte died in childbirth in 1817 aged just 21, leaving her father without an heir

Princess Charlotte died in childbirth in 1817 aged just 21, leaving her father without an heir

It shows him wearing a skeleton suit – a style of children’s dress that was inspired by the functional clothing of working-class sailors.

George IV’s two-week visit to Edinburgh was the first trip to Scotland by a reigning monarch since the mid-17th century. 

The visit was seen as a big success. Organised by Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, It boosted the king’s popularity in Scotland. 

The Holyroodhouse exhibition shows David Wilkie’s full-length portrait of the king in Royal Stewart tartan.

His decision to wear a kilt helped to cement the garment’s status as a key part of Scottish identity.  

Pearl-adorned buttons from a dress coat that George III wore were reused to create a necklace for the Duchess of Clarence, later Queen Adelaide.

George IV's two-week visit to Edinburgh was the first trip to Scotland by a reigning monarch since the mid-17th century. The visit was seen as a big success. Organised by Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, It boosted the king's popularity in Scotland. The Holyroodhouse exhibition shows David Wilkie's full-length portrait of the king in Royal Stewart tartan

George IV’s two-week visit to Edinburgh was the first trip to Scotland by a reigning monarch since the mid-17th century. The visit was seen as a big success. Organised by Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, It boosted the king’s popularity in Scotland. The Holyroodhouse exhibition shows David Wilkie’s full-length portrait of the king in Royal Stewart tartan

Georgian jewellery was often repurposed, even by the Royal Family. 

The necklace is shown alongside items of Queen Charlotte’s impressive jewellery collection.

One such object is her opal finger ring, which dates to 1810. 

Queen Charlotte and George III had 15 children, 13 of whom survived into adulthood.

But their eldest son only had one child with his wife, Queen Caroline of Brunswick. Their marriage is known to have been disastrous and the pair separated after their daughter’s birth.

Queen Charlotte, depicted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1781. She had 15 children with King George III

Queen Charlotte, depicted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1781. She had 15 children with King George III

A Cavalry sword, which was made before 1783 by Bland & Foster

A Cavalry sword, which was made before 1783 by Bland & Foster 

George Hunter & Co., Dirk, scabbard, knife and fork, part of the Highland Dress accoutrements, 1822

George Hunter & Co., Dirk, scabbard, knife and fork, part of the Highland Dress accoutrements, 1822

A necklace made from King George III's dress coat buttons. Clothes and jewels in the Georgian era were often repurposed

A necklace made from King George III’s dress coat buttons. Clothes and jewels in the Georgian era were often repurposed

A German snuffbox with jewels, made in 1770. It is on display in the new exhibition

A German snuffbox with jewels, made in 1770. It is on display in the new exhibition

Queen Charlotte's opal finger ring, which dates back to 1810

Queen Charlotte’s opal finger ring, which dates back to 1810

A ring with a miniature of King George III, made by Jeremiah Meyer, 1761

A ring with a miniature of King George III, made by Jeremiah Meyer, 1761

Objects on display at Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians

Objects on display at Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians

George IV had several mistresses, including actress Mary Robinson and Grace Elliot, the divorced wife of a physician. 

He was rumoured to have fathered several illegitimate children. 

As well as Princess Charlotte’s shoes, an embroidered bonnet that she is thought to have worn is on display for the first time.

It was bequeathed to the Royal Collection in 2022 by a descendent of the princess’s teacher, Miss Mary Hunt.

Princess Charlotte died in childbirth in 1817 aged just 21, leaving her father without an heir. 

It meant that after George IV’s death, the throne passed to his brother William. 

Exhibition curator Anna Reynolds said: ‘The 18th century was an incredibly innovative period, and the Georgians were responsible for ushering in many of the cultural trends we recognise today. 

Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians, is the first exhibition to open at the King's Gallery following an 18-month closure. It was previously known as The Queen's gallery but was renamed following the death of Elizabeth II in September 2022

Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians, is the first exhibition to open at the King’s Gallery following an 18-month closure. It was previously known as The Queen’s gallery but was renamed following the death of Elizabeth II in September 2022

‘From the rising influence of practical working-class dress to the practice of recycling and reusing fabric wherever possible, fashion from this period tells a broader story about what was happening in society. 

‘It is fascinating just how much we can learn from the paintings, clothing, and accessories on display. 

‘And, thanks to our new scheme of £1 tickets, we are looking forward to sharing it with as many people as possible.’ 

Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians opened on Friday at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.  



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