The Royal Collection has announced a very exciting series of Platinum Jubilee exhibitions that will be held in royal residences across Britain this summer—with some major royal jewels included!
A press release from the Royal Collection explains, “Magnificent jewels from Her Majesty The Queen’s personal collection will go on display this summer as part of special displays celebrating the Platinum Jubilee at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Each display explores a historic occasion in Her Majesty’s 70-year reign – the Accession, the Coronation and previous Jubilees – through photographs, paintings, works of art, and items of The Queen’s dress and jewellery.”
In the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, which will be open to visitors this summer for the first time since 2019, portraits of the Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding shortly after the accession in 1952 will be displayed. These are some of the most iconic images of the young monarch, taken at the dawn of her reign by Dorothy Wilding. This image, one of the last known Wilding portraits of the Queen, was taken in 1956.
Jewels worn in the portraits will be displayed alongside the images inside the state room. The pieces featured include the Delhi Durbar Necklace, an emerald and diamond jewel made for Queen Mary to wear at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. The necklace is set with stones from the Cambridge emerald collection as well as one of the Cullinan Diamonds.
The Diamond Diadem, worn by the Queen for important occasions including her coronation and the State Opening of Parliament, will also be displayed alongside an early Wilding portrait. The diadem was made for the coronation of King George IV in 1820, and it originally featured a purple velvet cap inside its frame. Since then, it has been worn exclusively by royal women.
Visitors to Windsor Castle will be able to view an incredible array of royal clothing and jewelry linked to the Queen’s reign and her role as Head of the Commonwealth. The Coronation Gown, made for the Queen by Sir Norman Hartnell, will be prominently displayed. The Queen wore the gown for the first time at Westminster Abbey for her coronation on June 2, 1953, but she also wore it on subsequent occasions, including visits to Commonwealth realms.
The Royal Collection notes, “To recognise the importance of her role as Head of the Commonwealth Nations, Her Majesty asked for the emblems of the seven independent states of which she was monarch to be incorporated into the design of her Coronation Dress, together with those of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The emblems were embroidered in gold and silver thread and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with seed pearls, sequins and crystals.” The gown will be displayed alongside the Queen’s coronation robes.
The Queen’s connection to the Commonwealth will be celebrated with a selection of her brooches, also on display at Windsor Castle. Visitors will be able to see the Flame Lily Brooch, a 1947 gift from the people of present-day Zimbabwe. The brooch, famously, was the jewel the Queen was wearing when she arrived back in Britain following her accession in February 1952.
The Diamond Maple Leaf Brooch, a gift from King George VI to Queen Elizabeth to celebrate their first royal tour of Canada in 1939, will also be on show. The Queen wore the brooch for the first time in 1951 during her own first visit to Canada.
Two Coronation gifts from Commonwealth realms will also be displayed. The Queen received the New Zealand Silver Fern Brooch during her coronation tour of the Commonwealth. It was presented to her by Lady Allum, wife of the Mayor of Auckland, on behalf of the women of Auckland, on Christmas Day 1953.
A few weeks later, in February 1953, Prime Minister Robert Menzies of Australia presented the Queen with the Australian Wattle Brooch during a state banquet in Canberra. The platinum brooch is set with white and yellow diamonds.
One of the Queen’s most colorful Commonwealth jewelry gifts will also be exhibited at Windsor. The Colombo Floral Brooch was presented to the Queen by the Mayor of Colombo during her state visit to Sri Lanka in October 1981.
At the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, a special exhibition will focus on the Queen’s Jubilee clothes, as well as several important Scottish royal gifts and items. The coat, dress, and hat from the Silver Jubilee ensemble will be displayed. The Royal Collection explains that “the royal couturier Sir Hardy Amies designed a striking ensemble of dress, coat and stole in pink silk crêpe and chiffon with a matching hat designed by Frederick Fox with flowerheads hanging from silk stems. The ensemble was worn at the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on 7 June 1977 marking the 25th anniversary of The Queen’s Accession.” She pinned the Williamson Pink Diamond Brooch to the coat for the service.
Clothing from the Golden Jubilee will also be shown. And, for the first time, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ensemble will be exhibited. The outfit was “worn to the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and a luncheon at Guildhall, City of London, as part of the celebrations on 5 June 2012,” the Royal Collection states. “The ensemble was designed by Angela Kelly, Personal Adviser to The Queen (Wardrobe) and consists of a pale turquoise dress and coat embroidered with scattered silver flowers, with a coordinating hat.” The Queen wore the Cullinan III & IV Brooch with the outfit for the occasion.
Alongside the clothing will be a selection of official gifts presented to the Queen in Scotland. The Royal Collection notes that this grouping will include “works relating to Her Majesty’s first official visit to Edinburgh in 1953, soon after her Coronation.” Among the items on display is this silver model of a miner’s Davy lamp. The silver lamp was presented to the Queen in 1958, when she made her first descent into a working coal mine on the opening of the Rothes Colliery in Fife.
Also on show will be a piece that features during Holyrood Week each summer: the ceremonial key to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Queen has received the key each year at the start of her annual royal residence in Edinburgh.
Here’s hoping some of you will be able to see the Queen’s spectacular royal jewels in person this summer!