The Coronation Robes of Paul I 1797

Paul I, son of Peter III and Catherine the Great, came to the throne in 1796 after his mother’s long reign. For his coronation, he wore a uniform that he had designed himself in the style of Prussian military uniform. The day after his coronation, the emperor ordered all the imperial regiments including the two life guards regiments, Semenovsky and Preobrazhensky, to adopt the same style.

Paul I was the first Russian emperor to wear military uniform at his coronation. His interest in uniforms was echoed by Great Britain’s Prince of Wales (the future King George IV), who was colonel of several regiments and collected uniforms. When Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France in 1802, he began to wear his army uniform for everyday dress.

Coronation coat - Russia, 1796. The coat - cloth, velvet, camlet, cotton cloth, gold, silver, enamel, weaving, embroidery, casting, engraving. The garment was transfered to the Armoury Chamber in 1797. The coat’s lining bears two inscriptions with dates of its execution and of the very coronation. The coat has a multipurpose fastener which can be used variously depending on the circumstances. The stars of the Order of St Andrew and the Order of St Alexander Nevsky with silver and gold pieces are sewn on the front of the clothing.

Boots- Russia, the late XVIIIth century. Leather, steel spurs.

Waistcoat - Russia, 1796. Wool, cloth, weaving, gilding. The short jacket, close-fitting in the waist, has no collar or sleeves. Its front side is completed with a fastener.

Hat - France, the XVIIIth century. Felt, leather, cotton cloth, braid, plume, lace, foil, gold treads, weaving.

Gloves - Russia, the late XVIIIth century. Elk skin.

Portrait of Paul I - Stepan Shchukin, circa 1796.

Sources ↳ V&A | The Moscow Kremlin | The State Hermitage Museum