One early morning in February, our conservators opened a box containing a blouse that once belonged to Queen Maud. It probably hadn’t seen the light of day since it was donated to the museum in 1962.

Text by Reidun Solheim, Communications Adviser.

As the box was opened, it released a scent of roses. Queen Maud’s engagement to King Haakon VII was announced on 29 October 1895, when they were still Princess Maud of Wales and Prince Carl of Denmark. According to an older protocol, the blouse was originally wrapped in paper bearing the inscription “To be kept always”.

A photograph of Queen Maud and King Haakon taken around the time of their engagement suggests that it may have been this lilac-coloured blouse the princess was wearing when the prince proposed to her.

Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Frode Larsen

The information about the inscription comes from notes written by the chambermaids who evacuated Queen Maud’s wardrobe in late summer 1940. At the time, the Royal Palace was closely guarded by the German occupiers, and anything passing through the gates was carefully monitored. But as some of the most senior staff at the Palace, the queen’s chambermaids were highly respected.

In order to preserve the queen’s most important garments, the chambermaids went fearlessly back and forth between the Palace and Molstad in Kongens gate and the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in St. Olavs gate. The chambermaids were Hilda Cooper and Violet Wond, and it was they who provided the museum with crucial information about each garment.