18 July 2019

The Queen Gleams at the Palace's Summer Opening

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On Wednesday, the Queen popped over to the summer exhibition space at Buckingham Palace to preview this year's Summer Opening exhibit, which is dedicated to Queen Victoria's life at the palace.




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The Queen took a special tour of the exhibition ahead of its opening to the public. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Victoria's birth. She and Prince Albert were the Queen's great-great-grandparents.


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The Queen inspected a table in the State Dining Room set for a typical Victorian royal dinner.


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The place setting includes the "Victoria" pattern dessert service.


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Clothing from Victoria's life is also prominently displayed. Here, the Queen views the gown that Victoria wore for the Stuart Ball in 1851.


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Here's another view of the elaborate gown. The costume was inspired by the fashions worn at the restoration court of King Charles II. In the literature from a past exhibition, the Royal Collection dubbed this gown "the most glamorous of all Queen Victoria’s surviving clothes."


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This summer's exhibition also includes the supertunica worn by Victoria at her coronation in 1838.


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Her military tunic and hat were also included; replicas of this outfit were featured prominently in the recent Victoria television series.


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One of the most interesting garments on display, though, is a tiny little plaid dress, worn by Victoria when she was a young princess.


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The Queen also carefully inspected musical instruments that were played by Victoria's private orchestra.


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An elaborate grand piano is included in the exhibition, too: it was a gift presented to Victoria.


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Victoria's magnificent throne is on display as well.


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Lots of artwork is featured in the exhibition. Here, the Queen views portraits of Victoria and Albert by Louis Haghe. Over her shoulder you'll spot the famous portrait by Sir Edwin Landseer depicting Victoria and Albert at a costume ball in 1842.


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One of the most intriguing features of the exhibition is a virtual recreation of a quadrille danced at the Crimean Ball in 1856. A Victorian illusion technique (called "Pepper's Ghost") is employed to make the figures appear as if they're actually in the room, though they're actually projected on to a tilted sheet of glass. Costumed dancers were filmed in front of a green screen in Los Angeles to create the footage. The press reported that the Queen was "totally engrossed" by this part of the exhibition, but that she also quipped, "Thank God we don’t have to do that anymore."


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HM wore her usual pearls for the exhibition tour, but she didn't wear a brooch. What piece would you have chosen to go with this outfit?

This year's summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace, "Queen Victoria's Palace," is open to the public from July 20 until September 29. Anyone planning on going?