As part of this summer’s now annual opening of Buckingham Palace to visitors, jewels from The Queen’s personal collection will go on display in the palace. Each year a fresh exhibition is set up inside the palace, and this year they’re focusing on the jewels.
In the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, which can be visited as part of the annual Summer Opening for the first time since the pandemic closed everything, official portraits of The Queen taken by photographer Dorothy Wilding just weeks after the Accession will be shown alongside items of jewellery worn for the portrait sittings.
One of the Queen’s most recognisable items, the Diamond Diadem will be on display, and it’s recognised as it’s the one that the Queen is shown wearing on postage stamps. The chances are that you’ve licked the back of the crown.
The Diamond Diadem was created for the famously extravagant coronation of George IV in 1821. It is set with 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds and consists of a band with two rows of pearls on either side of a row of diamonds, above which are diamonds set in the form of a rose, a thistle and two shamrocks, the national emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland. The Diadem was inherited in 1837 by Queen Victoria, who was frequently painted and photographed wearing it, including on several early postage stamps such as the Penny Black.
The Queen wore it on the day of her Coronation and has worn it on her journey to and from the State Opening of Parliament since the first year of her reign.
The spectacular Delhi Durbar necklace will also be on display, which incorporates an 8.8-carat diamond pendant cut from the Cullinan diamond – the largest diamond ever found. The necklace was made for Queen Mary as part of a suite of jewellery created for the Delhi Durbar in 1911. Her Majesty The Queen inherited the necklace in 1953 and wore it in a portrait sitting for Dorothy Wilding in 1956 – thought to have been their last sitting together before Wilding’s retirement in 1958.
Many of the jewels were last on display together in 2012, for the Diamond Jubilee.
Buckingham Palace will be open Thursday to Monday, remaining closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Adult: £30 | Young Person: (18-24) £19.50 | Child: (5-17) / Disabled: £16.50 | Under 5: Free
Tickets need to be booked in advance from here, but a money-saving tip. If you book online, when you leave the palace, have the ticket endorsed at the gate, and you can go back for free for a year — so if you visit later this summer, you can go back earlier next summer and see next year’s exhibition for free.
In effect then, an adult ticket is £15 per year for two years, which is better value for money.