It is well known that George IV visited Edinburgh in 1822 and affected a fanciful highland dress for the occasion.

However, I found that Louis made one for him in 1789.

The accounts show
11 Jun
To making a Highland dress              2/2/-
9 yds silk plaid to jacquet @ 8/-    3/16/-
7 yds do. to line @ 6/-                   2/5/-
6 yds do. to petticoat @ 8/-           2/12/-
12 yds do. to the plaid @ 8/-             4/16/-
Silk sleeve lining & pockets                  11/9
Velvet coller lining                                  5/-
Waistband lining & pockets                    5/-
2 embroidered epaulets                        1/1/-
White cassimere edging to jacquet         3/6
40 gilt rose & thistle butt’s @ 8/-          1/6/8
Sewing silk, cord & c.        10/-           19/13/11
To a suit as above for Col’l St. Leger    19/13/11
To a pair cotton stocking trowsers for do.

Sure enough there was a newspaper report:
From the Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 18th June, 1789: “The Prince of Wales, and the Dukes of York and Clarence, have provided themselves with complete Highland Dresses…. The tartan plaid, philebeg, purse, and other appendages, were of the handsomest kind…”

I also understand that the highland dresses were worn at balls celebrating (genuinely or otherwise) the King’s recovery from his first bout of ‘madness’ in 1789.  This had put paid to any hopes of a regency at the time.

I don’t know who made the outfits for the dukes, but it doesn’t seem to have been Louis.
I can imagine the long-suffering tailor pursing his lips and exclaiming:
Sacre bleu! Where am I going to find 71 yards of SILK plaid?”

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3 Responses to HIGHLAND DRESS

  1. nicholasstorey says:

    Do you think that this marks a point in the development of Highland clan tartans, which were (as I understand it), mainly a cloth manufacturer’s invention?

  2. Charles Bazalgette says:

    I don’t know – hopefully a tartan expert will advise. I referred to http://www.angrypict.co.uk/tartan.htmlfor a potted history. I imagine that Prinny designed his own and that this practice carried on. People are still designing tartans today. If you design your own it gets round the curse of wearing a clan tartan to which you are not entitled by lineage. I’m not sure if anyone cares much about that now, unless you make the mistake of wearing it to an official clan function.

  3. Charles Bazalgette says:

    I love the way Louis calls the kilt a petticoat.

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