Sir Norman Hartnell, 77, couturier to Queen Elizabeth II and other members of British royalty, died of a heart attack Friday at a hospital in Windsor, England.

He had been dressmaker by appointment to the royal family since 1938, and was made a knight commander of the Victorian Order by the queen in 1976.

Sir Norman, who was considered the dean of British fashion designers was best known for his designs of the wedding dress for the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and for her coronation gown in 1953.

The former was of white satin and embellished with pearls for the marriage of the princess to Prince Philip. It was described in one magazine as " a creation that needs the background of the Abbey, the splendor of the ceremony and a princess to wear it."

The coronation gown, a dress richly embroidered with the emblems of the Commonwealth countries, was designed and constructed with much secrecy. Reportedly, more than a dozen seamstresses worked on it.

While Sir Norman received nothing but praise for the elaborate gowns he created for court and other formal functions, he was often criticized for the daytime ensembles he designed for the queen. Many thought them "dowdy" and "stodgy."

He shrugged off that criticism by noting that he was limited in what he could design for the queen. Her skirts could be neither too tight nor too flared; her hats had to be off the face, which must never be in shadow.

In recent years, however, other designers also were brought to Buckingham Palace to provide more modern "in" clothes for the queen and other women of the royal family.

However, Sir Norman in recent years had made inroads into the haute couture of Paris and other fashion centers. He also had turned to ready-to-wear.

He started work as a clerk in a London dress shop, then began to do his own dressmaking business. His reputation grew and by 1938 he had been named dressmaker by appointment to Queen Elizabeth (now the queen mother)

During World War II, Sir Norman helped design women's military uniforms and advised the government on the production of utility clothes for mass consumption.

A bachelor, Sir Norman lived in Sunninghill near Windsor.