Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own | The Evening Sale

Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own | The Evening Sale

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 57. Freddie Mercury's signature crown and cloak ensemble, worn throughout the 'Magic' Tour, 7 June – 9 August, 1986.

Freddie Mercury's signature crown and cloak ensemble, worn throughout the 'Magic' Tour, 7 June – 9 August, 1986

Auction Closed

September 6, 08:20 PM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 GBP

Lot Details


Freddie Mercury’s signature crown and cloak ensemble

Designed by Diana Moseley - worn throughout the ‘Magic’ Tour, 7 June – 9 August, 1986

the imitation gold and jewel encrusted crown with four dipped arches supporting a diamanté studded monde and jewelled spike, the red velvet cap trimmed with imitation ermine; the sumptuous dark red velvet cloak, made by seamstress Jill Thraves, with integral upper shoulder cape, trimmed with imitation ermine and embellished overall with gold-coloured fleurs-de-lys appliqué and real gold bullion trim, and around the neckline with gold-coloured tassels, lined in crimson satin, fastening at the neck with a gold-tone metal chain, the cloak 327 cm long, both items unlabelled, and a quantity of spare gold appliqué in a contemporary red suitcase used for storing the cape

(qty 3 + bag of spare appliqué)

This regal attire was worn at the end of every concert (with the exception of Slane Castle, Republic of Ireland, 5 July 1986 where only the crown was worn) for the finale rendition by Brian May of God Save The Queen. A cardboard cut-out of Freddie posing in the crown and robe appears in The Great Pretender video, 1987, in which previous key costumes make an appearance.

Diana Moseley recalls delivering the ensemble to Freddie’s suite at the Georges V hotel in Paris. Jim Hutton is quoted on an Instagram account, freddymercuryclub, recalling the first time Freddie saw the cape and crown “..Diana Moseley…arrived at our hotel suite delivering for the first time Freddie's campest costume, a deep red cloak trimmed in fake ermine and a jewelled crown... It was extraordinary to watch him as he threw the cloak over his white towelling robe, put on his crown and strutted around the room. Freddie sashayed around regally but said something was missing. Then he grabbed a banana and used it as a microphone. He flounced about, trying to work out the way the cloak fell as he moved. He loved it. And so did all the fans that night." 

Moseley recalls having discussed the concept of a crown and cape with Freddie previously, and that for this tour, Freddie felt there was something lacking in his stage wardrobe and the idea of the crown and cape was re-visited at the very last minute. Moseley was only given a week’s notice as it was important to Freddie that the costume should make its triumphant first appearance in Paris. Moseley recalls “…They were in rehearsals in Sweden when I got the call. He felt the show’s ending was not quite right. ‘I need something just to punch out. I’d like a crown and a cloak…don’t laugh! I just think it would work. Can you do that Diana?’…I said: Are we doing this for real, or a send-up?. He replied ‘A real crown. Let’s give it a grandiose, Napoleonic coronation’….he phoned me up on the Sunday and we were flying out on the Friday”.

Freddie wanted the crown and cape to look as authentic as possible, hence the design of the crown is modelled on the coronation crown of St. Edward, and the cloak inspired by the Emperor Napoleon’s coronation robes. The gold bullion trim came from London firm Hand and Locke who supply hand-embroidery to the Royal Family. Moseley recalls “…It was one of those rare occasions when it was just an instruction on the phone, without any fitting….it was a bit of a rush job. The cloak was hand-stitched in my studio by me, Behira Graham and my sister, Fiona Moseley….all the fleurs-de-lys decorative symbols and inserting all the little fake ermine tails, which were vintage pieces that I had rescued.” With regard to the crown, Moseley faxed detailed instructions and sketches to her prop-maker directing him to “Aim toward the coronation crown”.

The final concert of the tour at Knebworth on 9 August was Freddie’s last appearance on stage with Queen. This final moment of Freddie with the cape over one shoulder raising his crown to the crowd was captured by photographer Richard Gray and is illustrated in ‘Freddie Mercury The Great Pretender, A Life In Pictures’, 2012


‘Queen The Neal Preston Photographs’, Reel Art Press, 2020, illus. p.301.

‘Freddie Mercury The Great Pretender, A Life In Pictures’, 2012, illus, p.125.


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