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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wee Balmoral Kilt

Recently I was fortunate to acquire, through Ebay.co.uk, a child's Balmoral kilt from a Scottish antiques dealer. I got it for a steal, really, and it even came with a small photo album showing pictures of the original owner. None of the photos have a name or date, so we don't know anything of the wee chap. I would assume the photos to be from the 1930s. I've included a couple of them below.

When the kilt arrived, I couldn't help but notice that it looked to be just the right size for my son, Josiah, age 3. He was super excited to try it on. (He especially liked that fact that this child's kilt is of the variety that has an attached vest to help keep it up. He loves tank tops and would wear them year round if we let him. It was all I could do to convince him to put on a pull-over to go out in the 40 degree weather!). When I brought out a pair of kilt hose and flashes for him, he was beside himself. "Now I can come to work with you, Daddy!" he beamed at me.

We went out in the yard for a few pictures. (That's one of my other sons, Malcolm, in the background of the second shot). What do you think, is my son a natural in the kilt, or what?


Now I know what some of you are thinking. Isn't the Balmoral tartan restricted for the use of the Royal family? Well, yes it is. It was designed in 1853 by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband. Today it is worn by the Queen and several members of the Royal family. According to the Scottish Tartans Authority, the only other person authorized to wear the tartan is the Queen's personal piper. The tartan was originally woven by Romanes & Pattersons, but today the Royal Warrant holders are Kinloch Anderson.

According to the Royal Insight page, however, it was Edward VIII in 1936 who put restrictions in place to "to prevent further commercial manufacture for the public." This indicates that prior to that time it was being manufactured and sold to the public, at least on some scale. Since I sincerely doubt that my wee kilt here was worn by a member of the Royal family (at least if it had been I doubt I would have gotten it at such a low price!), my assumption is that this kilt was purchased originally prior to 1936.

Wearing the Balmoral tartan is not illegal in the UK, though it would be considered in poor taste. If my family and I were to travel to the UK, I'd never have my son wear it there. However, I see no harm in him wearing it to explore his own back yard. He certainly loves wearing it! And he takes to it quite naturally. Now he wants a sporran for Christmas. All I can say is that his father is certainly proud!
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1 comment:

Arlen said...

Matt, he looks fantastic. And that really is a steal.
I'm kinda old fashioned and still hoping to get a reply from the queen with permission to wear a Balmoral kilt, but I think your boy does it proud.