It was a surreal and amazing experience, walking around the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace with almost no one else around for the preview of the Diamonds exhibition.
As I explored the Palace, admiring the collection of works of art and interiors, I couldn’t believe that in ten years of living in London, I hadn’t visited Buckingham Palace.
The State Rooms are open every year over the summer, and this year from June 30 to July 8 and from July 31 to October 7, closed only over the Olympics. The Diamonds Exhibition is the first time these incredible jewels have been displayed together and celebrate a special part of the Royal Collection and the year of the Diamond Jubilee. More than 10,000 diamonds set in works acquired by six monarchs over three centuries go on display to mark The Queen’s 60 year reign.
The beautiful little crown designed for Queen Victoria by Garrard is only 10cm in diameter but is truly exquisite. Seven of the nine pieces cut from the Cullinan Diamond are on display, and several of the pieces are shown for the first time.
Queen Victoria’s miniature crown
Royal Collection Trust © 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Speaking to the exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut, I asked about the mysterious Mrs Ronald Greville mentioned in the catalogue. ‘She was the daughter of a millionaire brewer and philanthropist William McEwan and married Mr Ronald Greville in 1891. She was widowed in 1908 and had no children, but was a close friend of the Royal family. On her death she left her jewellery collection to Queen Elizabeth who gave several of the pieces to The Queen. Her house, Polesden Lacey, was left to the National Trust.’
Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration is at Buckingham Palace until October 7 2012
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