2022 sees The Queen mark her Platinum Jubilee, continuing her legacy as the longest British monarch to reign on the throne.
The Royal Collection Trust, the charity which manages the royal palaces and their openings, have announced new exhibitions to mark the historic occasion. The displays will take place at a number of residences, including Buckingham Palace and will focus on three distinct areas – the Accession, the Coronation and the Jubilees.
Buckingham Palace will host ‘Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession’. It will include portraits of The Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding in the early part of her reign, along with items from Her Majesty’s personal jewellery collection. These items will be those worn when she has sat for the Wilding portraits.
The portraits by Wilding became known for their modern, emblematic approach and were taken just 20 days after Elizabeth became Monarch. They also formed the basis of The Queen’s image on postage stamps from 1953 until 1971.
Wilding had become the first official female royal photographer, when she was appointed to take the portraits at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.
The exhibition at Buckingham Palace will also feature the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was a wedding gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future George V in 1893.
It was made by E. Wolff & Co for Garrard in a ‘scrolled and pierced foliate form’, made to look like girls holding hands.
Queen Mary gave the tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding present upon her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947. The Queen and Prince Philip have the longest marriage in British royal history.
Windsor Castle will display the dress and robe worn by The Queen for her Coronation in 1953, focusing on this historic event in the reign. The dress was made by Sir Norman Hartnell and features white duchesse satin, richly embroidered in a lattice-work effect with floral emblems of the Commonwealth in gold and silver thread, and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with seed pearls, sequins and crystals.
Her Majesty’s Robe of Estate was made by the royal robe-makers Ede and Ravenscroft of purple silk velvet. The goldwork embroidery design features wheat ears and olive branches, symbolising prosperity and peace, surrounding the crowned intertwined ‘EIIR’ cipher. It took 12 expert sewers, using 18 different types of gold thread, more than 3,500 hours to complete the work between March and May 1953!
Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse will feature a range of outfits worn by The Queen from her Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees.
The Silver Jubilee (1977) saw The Queen wear an ensemble of dress, coat and stole in pink silk crepe and chiffon with a matching hat. It was worn at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on 7th June.
The Royal Collection Trust are also set to release a new new range of chinaware to celebrate the occasion, which will be available on their online store, as well as at the palace gift shops. The design of the special set takes its inspiration from Her Majesty’s Robe of Estate, worn to her coronation. The designs are set against a deep purple background, and feature golden olive leaves and ears of wheat, symbolising peace and plenty, with the purple additionally mimicked in the official logo for the Platinum Jubilee.
Two new exhibitions – Japan: Courts and Culture at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse – will also run, to showcase some of the finest works in the Royal Collection.