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Stuart timeline

Detail of Charles II wearing decadent red robes and a crown.
© University of Glasgow & Historic Royal Palaces

This timeline serves as a handy reference guide to the Stuart period, highlighting key historical events and moments in fashion history. You may find it useful to refer back to as you progress through the week.


Key date: 24 March – Elizabeth I dies at Richmond Palace. James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England

Key fashion date: Fashions follow Tudor precedent: women in farthingales and ruffs, men in doublet and hose

Key date: James stays in the Tower of London when he arrives in England – he is the last monarch to stay there


Key date: Hampton Court Conference debates differences in religion

Key fashion date: The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses masque is performed. The court plunders Elizabeth I’s wardrobe for costumes


Key date: 5 November – the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up James VI & I, is foiled

Key fashion date: The Masque of Blacknesse is performed


Key date: The King James Bible is published


Key date: Prince Henry, the Prince of Wales, dies which makes his younger brother, Charles next in line to the throne


Key date: The original Banqueting House burns to the ground


Key date: Anthony van Dyck makes his first trip to London


Key date: The new Banqueting House, designed by Inigo Jones, is completed


Key date: 27 March – James VI & I dies at Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire. His son, Charles I, succeeds to the throne

Key date: May – Charles marries Princess Henrietta Maria of France


Key fashion date: Waistlines for men’s and women’s fashions have risen, helping to show off the plain silks that were popular

Key fashion date: The Tudor ruff has evolved into the ‘falling band’ or collar of lace, often seen in van Dyck’s portraits of Charles I


Key date: 29 May – the future Charles II is born at St James’s Palace


Key date: Anthony van Dyck returns to London and quickly becomes the favoured portrait painter of the royal family

Key fashion date: Tempe Restored masque is performed at Whitehall


Key date: Rubens’ paintings at Banqueting House are completed


Key fashion date: Van Dyck’s skill at painting lustrous silks can be seen in the portrait of Princess Mary Stuart


Key fashion date: Menswear is becoming increasingly relaxed and streamlined compared with the earlier period, but the doublet, breeches and hose are still the key garments. In contrast the bodices of women’s dresses become more constricted with boning inside


Key date: Charles raises the royal standard at Nottingham – the start of the Civil Wars in England


Key date: Battle of Naseby – Charles I loses

Key fashion date: Leather jerkin associated with Charles I – an example of practical wear


Key date: Charles is kept prisoner at Hampton Court Palace for 6 months. He escapes to the Isle of Wight


Key date: 30 January – Charles I is beheaded outside Banqueting House, Whitehall

Key fashion date: Charles wears two shirts at his execution so that he doesn’t shiver and people don’t think he was afraid


Key date: Charles II is crowned in Scotland but flees to the continent shortly after

Key fashion date: Fashions during the Commonwealth are traditionally thought to be more sombre and sedate


Key date: Oliver Cromwell starts his rule as Lord Protector


Key date: Oliver Cromwell dies

Key fashion date: Petticoat breeches – a full style of breeches which came down to the knee and resembled a short women’s petticoat– are popular with fashionable men


Key date: Charles II is restored to the throne


Key fashion date: Fashions see a rise in decoration and extravagant styles with lots of ribbons and billowing materials, and constricting bodices for women’s dress

Key fashion date: Charles II is thought to have introduced the levée to the British court upon his restoration


Key date: Charles II marries Catherine of Braganza of Portugal and they establish their court at Hampton Court Palace


Key date: The Great Fire of London

Key fashion date: The Great Wardrobe, the store for the royal clothes, is destroyed in the Great Fire of London

Key fashion date: October – Charles II announces a new fashion of a vest (a long, narrow coat) to replace the doublet, an outercoat and breeches. This is the start of the three-piece suit.


Key fashion date: Women had often worn loose gowns when relaxing at home. The early mantua, a loose garment with centre opening, could be pinned and draped, starts to make appearances as a day dress


Key date: Princess Anne marries Prince George of Denmark


Key date: 6 February – Charles II dies at Whitehall palace. He is succeeded by his brother, James VII & II

Key fashion date: Contemporary illustrations of James II’s coronation show a mix of fashionable dress (mantuas and vests), with traditional robes of state


Key date: James VII & II is deposed in favour of his Protestant daughter and son-in-law and he sets up an exile court on the continent

Key date:William III and Mary II arrive to take the throne and set about making improvements to Hampton Court Palace


Key fashion date: Orb made for Mary II at her coronation


Key fashion date: The mantua becomes increasingly formalised


Key fashion date: An example of the bright colours used in royal fashions can be seen in the rare surviving stockings and shirt of William III


Key date: 28 December – Mary II dies of smallpox at Kensington Palace


Key date: Banqueting House is the sole survivor of a fire at the palace of Whitehall


Key date: 8 March – William III dies at Kensington Palace. His sister-in-law, Anne inherits the throne


Key date: Act of Union unites the parliaments of England and Scotland


Key date: 1 August – Queen Anne dies at Kensington Palace. This is the end of the Stuart dynasty

© University of Glasgow & Historic Royal Palaces
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A History of Royal Fashion

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