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The Guild was established in 1882 when the matron of an orphanage in Dorset asked Lady Wolverton for 24 pairs of knitted socks and 12 jerseys for the children in her care.  She started a small Guild amongst her friends to provide not less than 2 garments for each child at the orphanage and to supply clothing for other charitable institutions.  The Guild grew quickly and by 1894 The London Needlework Guild (as it was then known) was making and distributing over 52,000 garments a year.

During WW1 the Guild sent over 15.5 million articles of clothing and surgical items, estimated to be worth over £1 million to troops overseas.  The Guild also provided much needed help to the women and families at home, through donations to hospitals and parishes.


One of the more unusual donations was the gift of parasols, from QMNG in Japan, for the troops in France.

At home the Guild workers were busy making slippers.

Royal Patronage & St James’s Palace

In 1885 Princess Mary Adelaide of Teck (mother of the future Queen Mary) had became patron of The London Guild, beginning an unbroken line of Royal patronage.  In 1897 her daughter, the Duchess of York (the future Queen Mary) became the patron, having helped her mother with the charity since childhood.

St James’s Palace

On becoming Queen Consort in 1910, Queen Mary renamed the charity Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild and in 1914 established St James’s Palace as the headquarters. We continue to receive, sort and distribute our clothing and bedding at St James’s Palace today.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother served as our patron for almost fifty years, from 1953 until 2002 and the Guild was renamed the Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild in 2010 as a tribute to her.

HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy has been our Patron since 2003, regularly attending Packing Week at St James’s Palace, meeting and talking to Guild members, our knitters and the representatives of the charities we support.

“I am very proud that this unique and long-established charity continues to provide effective and much needed support to so many.”

HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy


From 1914 the officials of Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild wore the round burgundy and gilt enamel badges with Queen Mary’s Royal Standard. The regular volunteer workers wore the Tudor Rose enamel badges, sometimes with a blue ribbon and bars denoting the years worked during WW1. The two oval badges on the top row with Queen Mary’s Cypher, MR, and the blue and white enamel shield shaped QMNG badge are all of a later date.  Our modern day badges, top right, are navy or white ovals with the Queen Mother’s Cypher, ER.  It was the shield badge, bottom row, second left, that inspired the new QMCG logo.

Guild Prayer