Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen and is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. For a limited period in the year, the State Rooms are open to the public in which a special themed exhibition provides some insights into the Queen’s life and reign.
Royal Gifts, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of the Palace in 2017, tells the story of The Queen’s reign through a remarkable display of official gifts presented to Her Majesty during the past 65 years. Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth II has been presented with gifts of great value and historical significance from world leaders such as former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former South African President Nelson Mandela and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China.
However much of the focus of exhibition is to display the incredible craftsmanship from the United Kingdom and across the globe. The fascinating objects come from more than one hundred countries, and cross every continent.
The section on Europe illustrate an eclectic collection of gifts that include Francesco Valdambrini’s Polychrome female bust from the early fifteenth century, G Perlee’s (Amsterdam) Model barrel organ and a present from Pope Francis in 2014 of a Decree canonising King Edward the Confessor on 29 May 1679.
Many of the gifts celebrate local cultures and traditions including boomerangs, indigenous art from Australia, a Yoruba throne from Nigeria, a Queen inspired Tree of Life from Mexico, a Totem pole from Canada, a Duho ceremonial stool from the Bahamas and a Burmese Silver Tea set.
Some of the more unusual gifts include a bag of Salt from the British Virgin Islands, a pair of Mittens from Canada, a model bus from Pakistan, a hand painted jigsaw in a box from New Zealand, a pair of Ostrich shells from Namibia and a dinosaur fossil from Canada.
The Queen has met many major leaders throughout her reign and the exhibition includes a Scarf depicting San (Bushmen) hunting a herd of eland antelope from President Nelson Mandela, a Vessel of Friendship from President Xi Jinping of China and a framed photograph from American president John F. Kennedy.
This summer marks the twentieth anniversary of the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. As a tribute, the desk where The Princess worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace will be displayed in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace. Many of the objects on and around the desk have been selected by her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to reflect her commitment to duty and their personal memories of their mother.
The fascinating Royal Gifts exhibition illustrates the importance of giving and receiving gifts in the world of Royal protocol. The Queen promotes British craftsmanship and other countries have followed that lead by giving gifts that highlight local crafts and traditions.
A ticket to the Summer opening of the Palace includes the Royal Gifts exhibition, the special display in the Music Room as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, a multimedia guide and access to the Terrace Café, the shop and a walk through the gardens to the exit.
Adult £23.00, Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £21.00, Under 17/ Disabled £13.00, Under 5 Free, Family £59.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
Video Review available here
For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here
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