Barbra Meets The Queen

British and American royalty collided when Barbra Streisand met Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Film Performance of “Funny Lady on March 17, 1975. The British tradition of attending “Royal Film Performance” dates back to 1946 when King George VI attended the premier of “A Matter Of Life And Death.” Elizabeth II attended her first performance just before her coronation in 1952. She attended over 30 premiers before stepping down from the duty. The proceeds from these showings enable the “Film & Television” charity to offer financial support to people from the film industries. Today Royal Film Performances are often attended by Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry. 

While in the receiving line upon meeting The Queen, Barbra famously asked “Your Majesty, why is it that women have to wear white gloves to meet you and men don’t?” The Queen didn’t have any clue, but replied, “I’ll have to think about that one. I suppose it’s tradition.” Watch the video here.

For this event, Barbra asked Ray Aghayan (1928-2011) to design a beautiful lavender cape. Aghayan and Bob Mackie had recently completed designing all of the costumes for Funny Lady. He and Mackie were both life and design partners. Aghayan had been designing looks for Barbra all the way back to The Judy Garland Show performance in 1963. This floor length Medieval style cloak is made from crushed velvet. It features a Scottish Widows hood and pleating at the shoulders. A T-shaped panel of fabric at the back features Art Nouveau embellishments with glass bugle beads & Swarovski crystals. This floral motif runs vertically to the bottom of the cloak. It is continued along the outside and inside of the hood, as well as vertically down the front .  The neck fastens with a hook and eye closure.

Cloaks are one of the earliest garments worn by humans. In ancient times blankets and beddings were used to create them. They reached the height of their popularity during Renaissance times when the wealthy and Royals began to wear them.  Stunning ornate cloaks made from velvets, silks & satins indicated status in and out of court. The coat eventually came into fashion, overtaking the popularity of cloaks. Barbra’s cloak was auctioned in 2004, but is back in her possession today. She keeps it on prominent display in her antique clothes shop at her Malibu home. 

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