Jewellery and Jubilee fever

The Summer Opening at Buckingham Palace is always a not-to-be-missed occasion, a one-off opportunity to explore the magnificent Royal collections whether art, family momentos or, as is the case this year, some of the fabulous royal jewels.

Of course, 2022 is a very special year, being Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee at royal residences. So we are in for an extraordinary treat and get to ogle a selection of exquisite pieces, created by some of the biggest names in the industry. Also on display will be the Queen’s Coronation Dress and robe by Sir Norman Hartnell in 1953. These include heritage pieces handed down through the centuries, and items collected by the Queen that will no doubt be passed on throughout history.

At royal residences, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, items of the Queen’s dress and jewellery, displays of photographs, paintings and other objects will explore significant historic occasions in Her Majesty’s remarkable 70-year reign, including the Accession, the Coronation and previous Jubilees.

Sir Norman Hartnell

Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation Dress, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, and Coronation Robe by
Ede & Ravenscroft, 1953. On display this summer at Windsor Castle.

The coronation of Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey in London. Elizabeth acceded to the throne at the young age of 25 upon the death of her father, George VI.

Norman Hartnell (1901 – 79), was the star of London couture during the interwar years. The British courturier gained international fame as dressmaker to the British royal family. Hartnell grew up in London, the son of pub owners, and attended Cambridge, later working for two different designers. In 1923 he opened his own shop and the then-Duchess of York took her daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to Hartnell’s studio for their bridesmaid dress fittings on the occasion of the wedding of Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. Princess Elizabeth chose Hartnell to design her 1947 wedding to the dashing Philip Mountbatten. Hartnell also designed the Queen’s sumptuous coronation dress, an intricate piece of textile art.

Diamonds are forever

L to R: HM Queen Elizabeth II, 1952 by Dorothy Wilding, and wearing; Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, Diamond Diadem, 1820–1. Photos courtesy Royal Collection Trust / © All Rights Reserved.

On display at Buckingham Palace – open during the summer for the first time since 2019 – is the stunning Diamond Diadem created for the extravagant coronation of George IV (1821). Set with 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds the piece consists of a band with two rows of pearls either side of a row of diamonds. Above are diamonds set in the form of a rose, a thistle and two shamrocks, the national emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland. Queen Victoria inherited the Diadem in 1837, and was frequently painted and photographed wearing it, including on several early postage stamps such as the Penny Black.

On display at Buckingham Palace this summer. Favourite Royal brooches: Sri Lanka Brooch, 1981; A & Sidersky & Son, Flame-Lily Brooch, 1947; and Australian Wattle Brooch, 1954. Photos, courtesy Royal Collection Trust / © All Rights Reserved.

L to R: Dorothy Wilding, HM Queen Elizabeth II, 1956. Credit: © William Hustler and Georgina Hustler /
Royal Collection Trust; Garrards, Delhi Durbar Necklace, c.1911. Photos courtesy Royal Collection Trust / © All Rights Reserved.

Also as part of the Jubilee display at ‘Buck House’ will be another personal favourite, the Delhi Durbar necklace. Part of a suite created in 1911 it incorporates nine emeralds as well as the largest diamond ever found, an 8.8 carat diamond pendant cut from the Cullinan diamond. The necklace, by luxury jeweller Garrard, was originally owned by Queen Mary’s grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge. Her Majesty The Queen inherited the necklace in 1953.

Visitors to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland this summer will be able to see display of outfits worn by Her Majesty on occasions to celebrate the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees, including an ensemble designed by Angela Kelly, Personal Adviser to The Queen (Wardrobe) and Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee ensemble of a pale turquoise dress and coat embroidered with scattered silver flowers, and coordinating hat.

Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession will be at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from 22 July to 2 October 2022.

Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Coronation will be at Windsor Castle from 7 July to 26 September 2022. 

The Platinum Jubilee display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse will be from 3 July to 25 September 2022.

Entry to each is included in the general admission ticket.

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