The Royal Dress Collection

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The Royal Dress Collection
Kensington Palace State Apartments, Kensington Gardens
London, UK
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Tel: 0 20 3166 6000
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London, UK: We see London, we see France, we see royal underpants

The Royal Dress Collection

Three things to see at the Royal Dress Collection at Kensington Palace, which archives some 12,000 pieces worn by England's royals and courtiers between the 17th century and today:

1. Diana's honeymoon get-up. Bill Pashley made two tweed suits for Diana, one slightly bigger than the other. She picked the roomier one, with more maneuvering room for hunting. Diana rocks it in this famous frolicking-by-the-river-at-Balmoral honeymoon photo shoot, before everything went to hell in a handbasket.

2. Edward VIII's safari suit. Sure, Edward, Prince of Wales, is mostly known for being the shortest reigning English king (eight months) and abdicating the crown so he could shtup Wallis Simpson, an American (gasp!) divorcée (double gasp!). But did you know he was a major dandy who traveled with 40 trunks of clothes and invented adjustable safari gear? Thank him for roll-up buttoned shorts and detachable sleeves.

3. Queen Victoria's monogrammed, split-crotch bloomers (pictured). She never reached five feet in height, but these are big. Like 56-inch-waist big. And they come with a matching 66-inch-chest chemise. They survived because after the Queen's death, they were divvied up and given to her servants as mementos, and are some of her only remaining personal effects.

You can see about 3,000 items at the Royal Dress Collection these days; expect more to be made public when Kensington Palace wraps its £12 million renovation in 2012.

Photo: Historic Royal Palaces

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