Skip to main content

The Robing Room

The Robing room is principally used by the Sovereign for the State Opening of Parliament.

Today, it is in this room where the Queen puts on the Imperial State Crown and her ceremonial robes before making her way to the House of Lords. The 19th century Chair of State is provided for her use, beneath a canopy carved with the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the shamrock of Ireland and Queen Victoria's monogram.

The fireplace in the room was designed by Edward Barry; made of marble of different colours from the British Isles and contains two cast-brass statuettes depicting St George fighting the Dragon and St Michael overcoming the Devil.

The border of the room's inlaid floor is decorated with heraldic devices showing the portcullis, the rose and the lion, and the shields in the frieze are emblazoned with the arms of the Knights of the Round Table. The ceiling of the room is richly panelled and decorated with badges of the monarchs of England.

The paintings by William Dyce in the room depict the chivalric virtues of hospitality, generosity, mercy, religion and courtesy, as represented through scenes from the legend of King Arthur and his court. Two other frescoes, illustrating fidelity and courage were originally intended but were never carried out.

Use by the Lords

The Commons Chamber was destroyed by bombs during the Second World War, and so for several years the Lords sat in the Robing room and gave over their own Chamber to the Commons for their regular sittings. The room was quickly fitted up for the purpose; temporary division lobbies and galleries and even a replica of the Woolsack were installed in the room. Between 1941 and 1944, the state openings of new sessions also took place in the Robing room. The Lords returned to their own Chamber on 29 May 1951.

Related information

See the Robing Room on a virtual tour of the House of Lords

View more photographs of the Robing Room on flickr

Also in this section