'Downton Abbey' costume designer Anna Robbins has revealed that a dress worn by Geraldine James in the upcoming movie contains a "piece of silver lame" that belonged to the "real Queen Mary".
The Emmy-nominated costume designer joined Julian Fellowes' show from Season Five and once the film version was given the green light she was brought on board to dress the cast, which includes Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Talbot), Laura Carmichael (Edith Pelham, Marchioness of Hexham), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham) and Dame Maggie Smith (Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham).
The movie is set in 1927 and sees Queen Mary and King George V - portrayed by Geraldine and Simon Jones - visit Downton Abbey and Anna raised "the bar" for the film and she was thrilled to use a fabric which actually belonged to the real life monarch.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper, she said: "The production value on Downton has always been high, but for the cinematic experience I knew I needed to raise the bar ... For the film I sourced incredible vintage pieces from dealers all over the UK. People from Yorkshire to the south coast got in touch to tell me about dresses that they had that were from the era. Some things I restored in my workroom, or altered. Our actors are all very leggy compared to the people of the 1920s.
"Laura wears originals so well, they fit her frame like a glove. But there's a peach, beaded, asymmetric dress which Lady Edith wears to the ball, for example, which was an original 1927 dress, but would have been too short for someone to wear on a royal visit. I created a slip underneath to drop that hem.
"The Queen, too is an amalgamation of vintage fabrics - her skirt contains a piece of silver lame that belonged to the real Queen Mary, which is mind-blowing. Anything that was new needed to sit next to things that were old and look cohesive."
Anna is aware that the 'Downton Abbey' fan base has always loved the "glamour of these characters" and for a royal visit it was crucial to also get the jewellery right.
And the clothing expert did get a helping hand when it came to the jewels donned by the 'Downton Abbey' ladies as the production was loaned three antique diamond tiaras by royal tiara maker Bentley & Skinner for the lavish ball scene.
Anna said: "The film has been an amazing opportunity to use tiaras because all of our women are now married. We were loaned them for the ball, but that meant that all of the replica jewellery needed to stand up on quality next to a handful of carats, glittering away on Violet at the side of the dancefloor."
The 'Downton Abbey' film - directed by Michael Engler - hits cinemas on September 13.