The State Rooms reopened to the public on the 22nd of July 2022. With a special display called Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession, it is part of the tour; some of the Queen’s personal jewellery that she wore at the coronation and various events in the seventy years of her reign are on show. This is the first time since 2019 that the State Room tour has returned due to the pandemic.
This was my first time on the State Room tour; the rooms are magnificent, with gold gilding everywhere. The State Rooms are full of opulence and full of art and ornaments. There are a lot of rooms that you have access to when you visit like the White Drawing Room, Throne Room, and the Grand Staircase. It is definitely worth a trip to the Palace to see them. When you go take advantage of the multimedia tour guide which gives lots of information as you walk around.
My favourite rooms are the Ball Room and the Music Room. The Ball Room is where they hold the State banquet and give out the investitures.
At the beginning of the tour is a brilliant felted Jubilee Lunch that Lucy Sparrow created. The attention to detail is amazing. It was first displayed at the Oval Cricket ground during Jubilee weekend, which Prince Charles and Camilla attended. It is called the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Lunch.
On the upper floor is an exhibition called Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession. There are 24 photographs of the Queen with some of her personal jewellery taken by photographer Dorothy Wilding.
Some of these jewellery pieces have never been in an exhibition before. You can get close up to them and see all the intricate detail. There is also the embellished cream dress worn by Princess Elizabeth at her parent’s coronation, together with the purple robe and gold coronet.
The Jewellery from the Royal Collection
The jewellery is held in the Royal Collection; below, I have highlighted some of them.
Delhi Durbar Necklace
This piece was originally owned by Queen Mary’s grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge. The Queen inherited it in 1953; the necklace consists of nine emeralds and a diamond pendant cut from the Cullinan diamond, the largest diamond ever found. It comes with an emerald and diamond earring.
The next highlighted piece of jewellery is the coronet called the Diamond Diadem which she has worn for the photographs on the postage stamps. The Queen has also worn it at all her State Opening of Parliament during her reign. The piece is made out of 1,333 brilliant cut diamonds.
The final piece highlighted was originally owned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia around 1874 and sold by her daughter to Queen Mary in 1921. This photograph of the Queen was the last one taken by Wilding shortly before she retired. The portraits were commissioned by the bank of England for new currency. The images never got used.
The Tiara consists of pendant emeralds suspended from the diamond set circles.
Who is Dorothy Wilding?
Wilding is a famous photographer in the 1920s. Born in 1883 in Gloucester. She was a portrait photographer with studios in London and New York. Her portraits of the Royal family are what made her name. Wilding became the first female official royal photographer in May 1937. She took photographs of the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Wilding first took photographs of Princess Elizabeth when she was 11 years old, together with her sister Princess Margaret.
Everyone in the 20th century would have seen her photographs as the portraits of the Queen were used on postage stamps. Her photographs are elegant portraits; they have a quality to them that I think can only be obtained by the film.
Below are some of my photographs taken on the press preview tour of Buckingham Palace; photography is only allowed in the exhibition room and the garden. When you finish with the touring pop into the garden cafe where they have lots of delicious cakes, one of which is the Platinum Jubilee sponge cake.
Getting there and other information
The nearest tube station is Green Park, and it will take a 10 to 15 min walk to the side entrance of Buckingham Palace. You go through security which is quite quick; you can’t take large bags through the palace. You would need to leave these with security. When you get in, you can wonder at your own pace, and there is plenty of staff around to ask questions about the rooms. I found them very helpful and knowledgeable. The State Rooms are on the far side of the palace, looking over the garden. The rest of the Palace is out of bounds as it is still the official royal residence of the Queen.
Thanks for reading; it is worth a visit, especially in this Platinum Jubilee year. More information can be found on the Royal Collection Trust website in the links below. The State Rooms tour ends on Sunday, 2 October 2022.
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