The Stole Royal and Girdle

7th May, 2023

The Stole Royal for the Coronation of His Majesty The King has been newly created and embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework, from a design created by Timothy Noad, Herald Painter at the College of Arms, overseen by Garter King of Arms.

Inspired by the Stole worn by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the design features a series of roundels set in a gold chain framework and applied to cloth of gold. Each roundel features an embroidered image which has been created using the silk shading technique, also known as ‘painting with a needle’.

Designs in the roundels include the four emblems of the United Kingdom – Rose, Thistle, Leek, and Shamrock; a Dove of peace (representing the Holy Spirit); a Tudor Crown; the Crossed Keys of St Peter; the four Apostles and a pattern inspired by the Cosmati Pavement in Westminster Abbey, upon which the Anointing of His Majesty takes place.

At the nape of the neck is an icon representing St Lawrence, the Patron saint of the Girdlers’ Livery Company, who have gifted the Stole Royal for the occasion. The Girdlers have presented Monarchs with new Stole Royals for the past four Coronations.

The embroidered illustrations have been worked in different colours, using fine twisted silk threads, and the framework has been edged with Gold Grecian and Pearl Purl. The Stole has a gold coloured lining and a gold twisted fringe.

The Royal School of Needlework also conserved and renovated the Coronation Sword Belt, known as The Girdle.  The Girdle was first worn by George VI at his coronation in 1937. The belt is made in Cloth of Gold and embroidered in gold thread.

The Stole Royal and Girdle are presented during the Anointing, when the monarch is invested with the coronation robes and other symbols of royalty. The Stole is placed over the Supertunica and the Girdle is fastened at the monarch’s waist.

The Worshipful Company of Girdlers also provided the Stole Royal and Girdle for the coronations of Elizabeth II, George VI and George V.

Image credit: Prudence Cuming Fine Art Photography courtesy of The Girdlers’ Company