Stunning diamond pieces from Queen’s jewellery collection to go on display

Dazzling jewellery from the Queen’s personal collection is to go on display during the summer opening of Buckingham Palace’s state rooms.

he bracelets, tiaras and brooches will appear alongside photographs of the Queen that feature the pieces made from diamonds, emeralds and pearls.

The photographs, taken by acclaimed society photographer Dorothy Wilding, will be familiar as they were used to produce stamps and banknotes featuring images of the head of state.


The Queen’s Diamond Diadem is featured in the news exhibition (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut said: “The images are really important and instantly recognisable because they were used on banknotes, coinage and form the basis of the Queen’s image on postage stamps – therefore reproduced millions of times across the United Kingdom and abroad.

“They have really stood the test of time and have become the most recognisable, and the most famous images of the Queen probably for the first quarter century of her reign up until the time of her Silver Jubilee.”

A highlight of the exhibition is the photograph of the Queen wearing her Diadem set with 1,333 diamonds, which she wore for the journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey on the day of her coronation in 1953.

It was made for George IV to wear at his 1821 coronation by the royal jewellers and goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge and Rundell but it was obscured by a large hat decorated with ostrich feather.


The Queen wearing her Diadem and the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace in photographs taken by Dorothy Wilding (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Wilding had been photographing royalty since the 1920s and in May 1937 became the first official female royal photographer when she was asked to mark the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

An 11-year-old Princess Elizabeth featured in the pictures along with her sister Princess Margaret and the exhibition will include the embellished cream dress, purple robe and gold coronet worn by the future Queen for the photo shoot.

Ten years later in July 1947, Wilding took the official engagement portrait for the then Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

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The image is part of the exhibition and contrasts with modern photographs marking a royal marriage with the duke, arms folded, staring intently at the lens while his expressionless future wife stands in front of him.


The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is another piece of royal jewellery (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Just 20 days after her father died and she became monarch, Wilding was commissioned by the General Post Office to take the first official picture of the new Queen Elizabeth for the design of postage stamps.

The Queen is wearing another recognisable piece, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, a wedding gift from the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary, that can be seen in images of the Queen on today’s bank notes.

The monarch’s final sitting with Wilding was in May 1956 for new banknotes and in the images, which were not used, the Queen wears the Vladimir Tiara and the spectacular Delhi Durbar necklace that incorporates nine emeralds and an 8.8 carat diamond pendant, a piece of the Cullinan diamond, the world’s largest diamond.

Also part of the display are the official photographs marking the Queen’s Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilees from across the decades.

Craft fans will be delighted by a large table laden with food for a jubilee street party from sandwiches, cakes and bowls of strawberries to chocolate fingers and scotch eggs all made from felt by installation artist Lucy Sparrow.


Artist Lucy Sparrow with her Platinum Jubilee banquet made out of felt (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Her work was on display when the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited a Big Lunch event at the Oval cricket ground during the Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations.

She said about the royal couple: “They instantly got it and the Prince of Wales wanted to know how the crisps were made.

“It was very important to me that it was a working class party with hula hoops and cake and cups of tea, very relatable and celebratory.”

Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession is included in a visit to the summer opening of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace from Friday July 22 until October 2.

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