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Object: Coatee (short coat) for Seddon’s Civil Uniform, Full Dress

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Title Coatee (short coat) for Seddon’s Civil Uniform, Full Dress
Production Hill Brothers (manufacturer(s)), 1897, England
Medium summary Velour wool with gold braid, gold thread and sequins, and gilt brass buttons
Materials wool, gold, brass
Classification coatees, uniforms
Dimensions Overall: 1060mm (Length) x 620mm (Width) x 420mm (Depth)
Credit line Gift of Dame Elizabeth Knox Gilmer, 1955
Registration number PC000765

This coatee was part of a Privy Counsellor's First Class full dress uniform (also known as 'Civil Uniform 1st Class'). It belonged to the Right Honourable R J Seddon, Prime Minister of New Zealand and was worn at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 and the Coronation of Edward VII in June 1902.

Seddon was an ardent imperialist, and is said to have greatly enjoyed royal events. His outfit and accessories met the precise dress regulations of the English court - he was required to wear the Civil Uniform 1st Class. It was made specifically for his height (nearly 6 feet) and weight (nearly 20 stone - he ate and drank without moderation, which resulted in failing health towards the end of his life).


Seddon governed from 1893 to 1906, making him New Zealand's longest-serving Prime Minister. He was energetic, hardworking, and noted for having 'the common touch'.  However, he could also be overbearing and autocratic.  These qualities led to his nickname, 'King Dick'.

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