On the 20th year of its Summer openings, Buckingham Palace has inadvertently given people the chance to appear as if they are wearing the Queen’s coronation robes.

Summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace

The summer exhibition, now a stalwart of the London tourist scene will this year feature robes and artefacts from the Coronation itself, and in the centre of the main ballroom where people arrive for knighthoods and honours, stands the Coronation robe itself.

It is here that the ghostly optical illusion is possible.

If a person stands right in front of the Queen’s robe, and in just the right place, the placement of the glass and lighting means that anyone standing on either side of “the queen” will see the robes reflected on the glass and overlaying the onlooker.

Almost certainly an accident by the exhibition designers, but it’s a spooky effect, and in a way the fact that it is a ghostly reflection and not actual physical clothing people are trying on seems to preserve the mystique of Monarchy, and slightly enhances it.

A chance to almost touch royalty, but fleeting and ethereally.

Summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace

Elsewhere in the Ballroom, can be the found the robes worn by other members of the Royal family, along with some of their orders of service, crowns and regalia.

The Diamond Diadem is here. It’s probably the most famous Crown worn by the Queen after the Imperial State Crown as it appears on most postage stamps. It was also incidentally made for a man.

Unlike previous years where the annual one-off exhibition was constrained within one room, this year it has spread throughout the Palace, with bits dotted around the place.

The exhibition is open until the end of September.

Summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace

Entry is £19, which is pricey for a single visit, but if you get your ticket stamped on the way out — so you can come back next year for free. £9.50 for two visits isn’t as bad.


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One comment
  1. Lisa Hirsch says:

    I’m curious which palace room this is in. I see a pipe organ in an alcove at one end of the room and am wondering if anyone plays it.

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