Her Majesty The Queen is continuing celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee with an exhibition at Buckingham Palace showcasing the official portraits taken by photographer Dorothy Wilding just weeks after her accession alongside the jewellery she wore for the sittings.
‘Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession’ is a special exhibition, which can be visited as part of the annual summer opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace for the first time since 2019 and features The Queen’s personal jewellery including diamond-encrusted tiaras, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
The exhibition places a spotlight on The Queen’s accession to the throne in February 1952 and brings together for the first time Wilding’s original hand-finished prints from the Royal Collection with the jewels worn by Her Majesty in each photograph, including the Diamond Diadem, one of Her Majesty’s most widely recognised pieces of jewellery.
Wildling’s striking and elegant photographs were used as the basis of The Queen’s image on postage stamps from 1953 until 1971, as well as the image used on coinage, banknotes, postage stamps and Coronation souvenirs. The image of The Queen was also displayed in every British embassy, making the Diamond Diadem tiara instantly recognisable to millions of people across the globe.
The tiara, created for the famously extravagant coronation of George IV in 1821, 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 Diadem passed to Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and then to Her Majesty The Queen, who 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.
Queen displays jewellery including the Diamond Diadem tiara to celebrate Platinum Jubilee
The exhibition also includes the Delhi Durbar necklace, which incorporates nine emeralds originally owned by Queen Mary’s grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as 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, which is thought to have been their last sitting together before Wilding’s retirement in 1958.
Other spectacular jewellery on display includes Queen Mary’s The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland diamond tiara, made by E. Wolff and Co for R and S. Garrard in a scrolled and pierced foliate form, which The Queen received as a wedding present. As well as the Vladimir tiara, made for Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia and sold to Queen Mary in 1921, which features diamonds and pearl drops.
The iconic portraits from 1952 and jewellery are displayed alongside the official photographs of The Queen commissioned to mark her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilees, as well as the cream and gold embellished coronation dress that Princess Elizabeth wore to the coronation of her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.
The Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession exhibition is open at Buckingham Palace until October 2.