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The Exhibition

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in Old Mother Red Riding Boots (RCIN 2506234) ©

During the Second World War Her Majesty The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and her younger sister Princess Margaret lived at Windsor with their parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Between 1941 and 1944 the princesses arranged for a Christmas pantomime to be held in the Waterloo Chamber, in the State Apartments, in which they performed as leading characters.

Four pantomimes were presented: Cinderella in 1941, Sleeping Beauty in 1942, Aladdin in 1943 and Old Mother Red Riding Boots in 1944. The fully staged productions were written and produced by Hubert Tannar, headmaster of the Royal School, Windsor, and Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were closely involved in every aspect of the arrangements.

Displayed for the first time are the seven surviving theatrical costumes worn by the princesses in the last two pantomimes, staged almost 80 years ago. These costumes are reunited with the watercolour images of brightly coloured fairy-tale characters specially painted for each production, which have been revealed from behind the portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence that usually occupy the frames.