Historic Chairs to be Reused for Coronation

1st May, 2023

The Royal School of Needlework has had the honour of working on the Chairs of Estate and Throne Chairs (Chairs of State) that will be used by The King and The Queen Consort at different points during the Coronation Service on 6 May.

In the interests of sustainability, Their Majesties have chosen to use Chairs of Estate and Throne Chairs from the Royal Collection made for previous Coronations.

The Chairs of Estate will be used during the early parts of Their Majesties’ Coronation, with The Queen Consort to be crowned in Her Majesty’s Chair of Estate. For the final part of the Coronation Service, The King and The Queen Consort will be seated in Throne Chairs once crowned.

Chairs of Estate

The Chairs of Estate, which will be used for the Coronation, were made in 1953 by the London firm White, Allom and Company for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

In preparation for the Coronation, Gilding and Furniture Conservators from the Royal Collection Trust have cleaned, restored and consolidated the giltwood frames. New silk damask was woven by the Humphries Weaving Company, Suffolk to the same pattern with which they were originally upholstered. This was to allow for the cyphers of The King and The Queen Consort to replace those of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, which were removed and will be kept in the Royal Collection.

The Royal School of Needlework has hand embroidered new cyphers for the Chairs of Estate. They have been created with cloth of gold, woven with a metal thread. The cloth of gold was then embellished with gold metallic threads, such as Pearl Purl, Gimp and Check. Upon completion, the RSN applied the cyphers onto the silk damask using the Appliqué technique.

The upholstery was completed by the Royal Household’s Upholsterers, including the re-use of the original braid and trimmings.

Throne Chairs

The Throne Chairs were made for the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1937 by White Allom and Company, replicating seventeenth century style which in turn was based on X-framed Tudor stools. The Chairs were upholstered in crimson velvet and applied with the Royal Arms of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

In preparation for the Coronation, the Chairs have been conserved by the Royal Collection Trust’s Furniture Conservators. The crimson silk velvet with which the chairs were originally upholstered has been replaced with the velvet and trimmings by the firm of AT Cronin Workshop Ltd.

The Royal School of Needlework has conserved the original embroidered Coat of Arms on His Majesty’s chair and lightly cleaned it before transferring it onto new velvet.

In addition, the Royal School of Needlework has hand embroidered a new Coat of Arms of The Queen Consort for Her Majesty’s Throne Chair using the Silk Shading technique, which has been applied to the new velvet.

New silk braid and trellis fringe, replicating the original trimmings of the Throne Chairs has been woven by Heritage Trimmings Ltd of Derby. The silk was produced by The Humphries Weaving Company, Suffolk, and the silk for the fringe has been specially dyed by Gainsborough Silks, Suffolk.

By tradition, ceremonial chairs and thrones are used for the different stages of the Coronation Service. These are in addition to the St Edward’s Chair (Coronation Chair), which is used for the moment of crowning.

Images show: work in progress of The Queen Consort’s Coat of Arms at the RSN’s Embroidery Studio copyright RSN; and work in progress of re-upholstery of chairs copyright PA News