Royal Harpist unveils premiere dress

Royal Harpist Claire Jones has unveiled a unique dress inspired by the Gardens at Highgrove, which she will wear for the royal premiere of Patrick Hawes’ Harp Concerto.

The Prince of Wales commissioned ‘The Highgrove Suite’, a 25-minute work inspired by his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, where it will be premiered on 8 June in celebration of The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts.

Prince Charles’ Official Harpist Claire Jones will perform the concerto in a dress made by students of Fashion and Design at Wales’ Gwent College. She will be joined by the Philharmonia Orchestra and fellow Welshman, conductor Owain Arwel Hughes.

At a press conference to showcase the dress, Claire Jones said “The role of the Royal Harpist to the Prince of Wales is so much more than just about the music – I feel it’s about being an ambassador for Wales and our culture. This is a new royal music commission - an important event, and a great opportunity to raise the profile of the talents of other young people in Wales.”

A group of students on the fashion course at Coleg Gwent visited Highrove with Claire Jones in spring and presented their ideas after Easter. 26-year-old Katie Fitzgerald and 18-year-old Jasmine Villiers were selected to work together on the dress.

Designer Katie Fitzgerald commented on the choice of colours: “the gold is from a Victorian palette, but the rich purple was chosen for a very special reason: it’s the colour of hellebores that are abundant in the flower beds at Highgrove, and these were used in the floral arrangements and decorations at The Prince and The Duchess’ wedding. The intricate beading and embroidery details have daffodils on them – a symbol of Wales, but also a link to the Royal harp made by Salvi which Claire will play - it has gold daffodils along the soundboard.”