Since the mid-1970s, The Queen has designed, and in part embroidered herself, various vestments and church textiles for churches in Denmark, Greenland, Germany and England: richly detailed bishop’s capes, chasubles in white, red, green and violet for the church festivals, antependiums or altar table cloths, and even a wedding rug and the cover for a book of collections.
The Queen commenced work on the first church textile in the mid-1970s, when, on her own initiative, she began sewing a new, green chasuble for Frederiksborg Palace Church. The chasuble, together with a white and violet chasuble – designed by The Queen, but embroidered and appliquéd by Queen Ingrid and HRH Princess Benedikte, respectively – was presented to the church on its 250th anniversary in 1976.
Since then, numerous church textiles have been created, as shown in the list below. All have been designed by The Queen, who has done the embroidering herself from time to time but has otherwise left the needlework and assembling to, especially, Selskabet for Kirkelig Kunst. The Queen generally draws motifs, symbols and embroidered quotations from the New Testament, the Danish Hymnal or the actual church and its nearby surroundings, while the textiles, which must last for many years, are often robust, damask-woven silks or woolen materials in colors suited for the church’s interior. Occasionally, they are blended with beautiful, recycled fabrics from The Queen’s reserves. For example, the antependium for Haderslev Cathedral, in which the appliqués are made of fine silks from The Queen’s and Prince Henrik’s travels to Japan, China, India and Thailand, combined with orange silk fabric from one of The Queen’s own evening gowns. For the church’s white chasuble, remnants of yellow silk damask found at Fredensborg Palace from The Queen’s great-grandmother are used.
Among The Queen’s newer church textiles are an antependium and a chasuble for Graasten Palace Church, made in 2019-2020, and both filled with embroidered, personal symbols such as marguerites, delphiniums, Gråsten apples and French lilies on a light-blue background, which harmonizes with the church’s Baroque ceiling. Most recently, The Queen has designed a red chasuble for St. Katharine’s Church, The Danish Church in London, which began using the chasuble in December 2020.
Selection of church textiles
See examples of The Queen’s church textiles in the gallery below.
Sketch for bishop's cloak
Sketch for bishop's cloak
Sketch for wedding rug for Frederiksborg Palace Chapel
Sketch for violet chasuble
Sketch for antependia
"The Queen's antependium"
Overview of church textiles
The Queen’s church textiles
- Fredensborg Palace Chapel, three chasubles (with Queen Ingrid and HRH Princess Benedikte), 1976
- Kronborg Palace Chapel, chasuble, 1985
- Angmagssalik/Tasiillaq Church, Greenland, 1985
- Helsingør Cathedral, bishop's robe, 1986
- Haderslev Cathedral, four sets of chasuble and antependiums, 1987-1988
- Viborg Cathedral, bishop's robe, 1989
- Aarhus Cathedral, four chasubles, 1993-95
- Frederiksborg Palace Chapel, wedding rug, 1999
- Marie Kirke, Sønderborg, festhagel, 2007
- Vemmetofte Kloster, chasuble, 2008
- Holmens Church, four chasubles, 2012-13
- Haderslev Cathedral, bishop's robe, 1999
- Aarhus Cathedral, bishop's robe, 1999
- Aalborg Cathedral, bishop's robe, 2006
- Wittenberg Schlosskirche, Germany, antependium, 2016
- Graasten Palace Church, antepedium, 2018
- Graasten Palace Church, chasuble, 2019
- Holmens Church, antependium and hymnbook cover, 2019
- St Katharine’s Church, The Danish Church in London, chasuble, 2020