The Queen’s Coronation 1953, Buckingham Palace, until 29th September 2013

The Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace is a must-see event for everyone.  The chance to experience the rich interiors and visit the wonderful fine and decorative art collections contained within should not be missed.  This year there is a special exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation.

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Invitation to Prince Charles to attend the Coronation, 1953, Joan Hassall

Images issued for use only in connection with the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace and the special exhibition The Queen’s Coronation 1953. Images must not be archived or sold-on.

It is done with great style in the Ballroom and Ball Supper Room through film and images while the whole colourful Coronation scene is caught in a painting by Terence Cuneo. The centrepiece of the exhibition is the Queen’s Coronation Dress and Robe of Estate which look as fresh as they must have done six decades ago.  This wonderful gown was designed by Norman Hartnell, the noted British couturier, and original samples for the embroidery designs are shown close by.

Dresses, robes and uniforms worn by other members of the Royal Family and peers are shown, all combining with the sumptuous Altar plate to give some idea of the spectacle in Westminster Abbey sixty years ago.  Other highlights include the pen the Queen used to sign the Coronation oath and Prince Charles’s invitation to the Abbey.

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The Coronation Pen, 1953, Francis J Cooper

Images issued for use only in connection with the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace and the special exhibition The Queen’s Coronation 1953. Images must not be archived or sold-on.

While some of the jewellery worn by the Queen on that day, as well as some worn by the Queen Mother, are on show I found that quite how bejewelled the Coronation really was is brought home in the film, shown in the Throne Room, of the Queen, her family and other royals posing and grouping for the photographs by Sir Cecil Beaton.  Diamonds and gems flash blindingly and majestically giving a tremendously, great sense of occasion  Other official portraits, with theatrical backdrops of the Abbey’s interior, were taken in the adjoining Green Drawing Room.  Visitors to the Royal Mews can also see the Gold State Coach in which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh traveled to and from the Abbey.

In 1953 on the evenings of June 3rd and 4th the Queen held Coronation State Banquets in the Ballroom.  The table settings are now recreated in the State Dining Room using silver-gilt and 18th century Sèvres porcelain.

To older generations there is some poignancy in seeing this because older members of the Royal family, which we grew up with, have passed away and we now have the younger generations who bring a whole new approach to this great institution.  This has been achieved by the steady path Her Majesty has walked since her Accession and Coronation!

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Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation Dress and Robe

Images issued for use only in connection with the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace and the special exhibition The Queen’s Coronation 1953. Images must not be archived or sold-on.

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