Queen Elizabeth of England achieved a significant milestone in 2012–as the second sovereign in British history to have reigned for 60 years (Queen Victoria is the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee). One way the occasion is being commemorated is with a spectacular exhibition of her diamonds and personal jewels at Buckingham Palace from July 31 to September 30, 2012. Visitors to Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s residence and one of the few working royal palaces in the world today, is open to the public only during the summer. This year visitors will be allowed unprecedented viewing of the special exhibition of jewels, many inherited or acquired during her reign.
Signifying endurance and longevity, diamonds have been treasured by British monarchs for more than 200 years. Many have been re-cut or incorporated into new settings as fashions have changed. Among the modern pieces showcased is the South Africa Necklace, presented to then Princess Elizabeth on her 21st birthday in 1947. Also on display is the Willamson Brooch, which incorporates the finest pink diamond ever discovered. Found in Tanzania in 1947, the diamond centers the brooch, which was presented to Elizabeth for her November wedding that year.
Additional objects in the exhibition illustrate the skill and ingenuity with which diamonds have been used in different cultures and traditions throughout history, especially as they illustrate the grandeur of the monarchy. It’s safe to say that diamonds have been a (British) girl’s best friend for many centuries.
The Diamond Jubilee coincides with the Olympic Games, which will be held in London from July 27 to August 12. If you can wait until fall to visit, crowds will be smaller and accommodations more reasonably priced .
Plan at least one hour for your visit. Buckinghamove Palace, which serves as both the administrative office and London residence of The Queen, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission with audio tour is about $13.50 for adults. A combination ticket to crs admission for the State Rooms, furnished with some of the greatest paintings, furniture, and porcelains from the Royal Collection; the Royal Mews (carriages); and the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace costs about $50. More information at www.royalcollection.org.uk
Photos from bing.com