I’m working hard on Book 2 in the Edwardian Brides Series, The Daughter of Highland Hall. It continues the story of the Ramsey family as they travel to London in 1912 for the season. One of the first events for the heroine, Kate, is her presentation at court. This rite of passage opened the door for an upper-class young lady to take part in society and hopefully meet her future husband.
Preparing for her presentation and first season took months. She had to learn court protocol, how to curtsy, how to dance, and how to carry on a conversation. Some young women traveled to Paris to choose a wardrobe including their presentation gown, while others, like Kate, visited dressmakers in London.
There were very specific rules for court dress. The presentation gown had to be white, low-cut, and have a long train. They had to wear an ostrich feathered headdress and veil. Three feathers signaled she was a married woman, and two feathers were worn by single woman. Most debutantes also carried a bouquet of flowers. She looked very much like a bride, and some young women refashioned their presentation gowns and wore them on their wedding day.
After all that practice and expense, the young woman only spent a few minutes in the throne room. But being presented signified she was ready to take part in the season and become a member of London society.
Dowton Abbey fans will learn more about court presentations next month in the final episode of season four when Lady Rose is presented to King George. Each girl needed a sponsor, so Lady Cora takes on the roll for Rose. That episode is set ten years after The Daughter of Highland Hall, so it’s a bit more relaxed, but still very similar and fun to watch!
I’ve really enjoyed researching court presentations, and I especially love the beautiful gowns!
Would you like to see more photos of presentation gowns and the characters in The Daughter of Highland Hall? Take a look at my Pinterest board:
Have you entered the Downton Abbey Finale Viewing Party Giveaway? You can see the prizes and enter by following this link:
What do you think? Would you like to wear a gown like the ones pictured here?