Wednesday 18 January 2017
This colourful ensemble was worn by Mrs Felicity Aitken at a garden party held in Christchurch in 1970. The garden party was in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The royal visitors were in New Zealand to mark the bicentenary of the discovery of New Zealand by Captain James Cook.
A royal garden party was an opportunity to dress up. Men were expected to wear morning or lounge suits, while women were required to wear dresses and a hat. The turban-style hat was very much in fashion and favoured by the Queen herself. The hat was made by Lola Crew, which had a shop on High Street. The striped coat was made of silk in New Zealand under licence from Christian Ducosse.
Mrs Felicity Aitken is the descendant of Sir John Cracroft Wilson, a significant nineteenth century Christchurch politician. You can read more about Sir John Cracroft Wilson in his card entry from the Museum's Macdonald Dictionary of Canterbury Biography.