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To mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II a special exhibition at Buckingham Palace will bring together an unprecedented array of the dress, uniform and robes worn for the historic event. 

LONDON.- The largest exhibition ever mounted about the Coronation of Her Majesty The Queen opened at Buckingham Palace on Saturday, 27 July 2013. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of this historic event, The Queen’s Coronation 1953 at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace (27 July – 29 September) brings together an unprecedented array of the dress, uniform and robes worn on Coronation Day. Paintings recording the event, works of art and objects used by The Queen at the ceremony are also included, to help recreate the atmosphere of that extraordinary moment and the pageantry of a State occasion that has remained essentially unchanged for 1,000 years. 

The Queen acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey the following year, on 2 June 1953. Buckingham Palace was at the heart of the celebrations on Coronation Day, which heralded the dawn of a ‘New Elizabethan Era’. Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers lined the Mall and filled the specially constructed stands around the Victoria Monument in front of the Palace. From here they witnessed the carriage processions of Members of the Royal Family, foreign Heads of State and Commonwealth Prime Ministers depart Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey. The processions culminated with The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh leaving the Palace in the Gold State Coach. The Palace was also the focal point for the famous balcony appearance of the Royal Family to witness the flypast and later in the evening, when The Queen turned on the illuminations in the Mall. 

In the Palace’s Ballroom, the dress, robes and uniforms worn by the principal royal party are brought together for the first time since Coronation Day. They include The Queen’s Coronation Dress and Robe of Estate; the uniform, robe and coronet of The Duke of Edinburgh; the dress and robe of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; the dress and robe of Princess Margaret; and the outfits worn on the day by two-year-old Princess Anne and four-year-old Prince Charles. The Prince’s personal invitation to Westminster Abbey is also on display. 

The Queen’s white satin Coronation Dress was created by the British couturier Norman Hartnell (1901-79). The design incorporates an iconographic scheme of embroidered national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold, silver and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with pearls, crystals and sequins. The exhibition at Buckingham Palace also includes Hartnell’s original designs for the Dress and his embroidery samples. 

The Queen’s Robe of Estate, worn when Her Majesty departed from Westminster Abbey for the Palace, is of English purple silk-velvet and is more than 6.5 metres long from the shoulder to the tip of the train. It is exquisitely embroidered with wheat ears and olive branches, representing peace and prosperity, and terminates in The Queen’s crowned cipher. The embroidery, which includes 18 different types of gold thread, was designed and executed by the Royal School of Needlework, a task that took 3,500 hours to complete between March and June 1953. 

The Queen’s Robe of Estate, worn when Her Majesty departed from Westminster Abbey for the Palace, is of English purple silk-velvet and is more than 6.5 metres long from the shoulder to the tip of the train. It is exquisitely embroidered with wheat ears and olive branches, representing peace and prosperity, and terminates in The Queen’s crowned cipher. The embroidery, which includes 18 different types of gold thread, was designed and executed by the Royal School of Needlework, a task that took 3,500 hours to complete between March and June 1953. 

Exhibited with the Dress and Robe are a number of jewels worn by The Queen on Coronation Day. These include the Diamond Diadem, which Her Majesty wore for the journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. The Diadem was designed and made for George IV to wear at his coronation in 1821 by the royal jewellers and goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. The Diadem is one of the most recognisable of The Queen’s jewels, as she is shown wearing it on postage stamps and some issues of banknotes. Also on display are the diamond Coronation Necklace and Earrings, made for Queen Victoria in 1858 by R & S Garrard & Co. and worn by Her Majesty The Queen for her Coronation. 

As they tour the State Rooms, visitors will experience a sense of the atmosphere of Coronation Day and learn how individual rooms in the Palace were used in 1953. For example, it was in the Green Drawing Room that the photographer Cecil Beaton (1904-80) took his famous Coronation portraits of The Queen, using his signature theatrical backdrops to recreate the inside of Westminster Abbey. Other official portraits were taken in the Throne Room. 

The Coronation State Banquets were held at Buckingham Palace on the evenings of 3 and 4 June 1953. For the Summer Opening, the table in the State Dining Room has been dressed to evoke the Banquets’ magnificent settings of porcelain, silver-gilt and flowers. Along the visitor route are works of art and paintings linked to the occasion, including the Coronation Frieze (1960) by Feliks Topolski (1909-89), who was commissioned by The Duke of Edinburgh to record the colour and excitement of the event, and Queen Elizabeth II in Coronation Robes (1954), the State portrait by Sir Herbert James Gunn (1893-1964). 

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut of Royal Collection Trust said, ‘The exhibition brings together a magnificent display of dress and objects which are both unique and personal to The Queen and so redolent of the extraordinary events of Coronation Day. A visit to Buckingham Palace this summer will present visitors with a truly special experience in this 60th anniversary year.’ 

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Her Majesty The Queen's Coronation Dress, designed by Norman Hartnell.

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The Coronation Robe made by Ede and Ravenscroft and embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.

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The exhibition will include Cecil Beaton's famous Coronation portraits of The Queen, using his signature theatrical backdrops to recreate the inside of Westminster Abbey

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The monarch's gown incorporated embroidered national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold, silver and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with pearls, crystals and sequins.

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The dress the Queen wore to take the throne. The exhibition brings together an unprecedented array of dresses, uniforms and robes worn at the historic event

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The Diamond Diadem, which Her Majesty wore for the journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, will go on display

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Alongside official black and white photographs the exhibition features private movies filmed behind the scenes for the Queen, that show the personal story behind the pomp and ceremony. Above, the diamond diadem, made of diamonds, pearls, silver and gold, worn by Queen Elizabeth II on her way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for her 1953 Coronation. Picture: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

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The dress incorporated an iconographic scheme of embroidered national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold, silver and pastel-coloured silks.

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The Coronation glove, worn on Queen Elizabeth II's right hand during her Investiture Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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This beautiful Coronation Pen will join the robes, dresses and portraits on display

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The Coronation pen used by Queen Elizabeth II to sign the Coronation oath. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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The order of service used by Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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The Throne Chair used during the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II

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The Queen's white satin coronation dress from June 1953 will be on display in Buckingham Palace to be marveled.

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The Prince's personal invitation to Westminster Abbey will also be on display

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The outfits worn on the day by two-year-old Princess Anne and four-year-old Prince Charles will be included in the exhibition.

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Buckingham Palace was at the heart of the celebrations on Coronation Day, which heralded the dawn of a 'New Elizabethan Era'.

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Tables from the two coronation banquets staged at Buckingham Palace have been recreated with their lavish settings of Georgian porcelain and silver-gilt, and decorations of pink and white roses and carnations. Picture: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

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A table dressed to evoke the settings of Queen Elizabeth II's 1953 Coronation state banquets. Picture: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

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Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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Mrs de Guitaut, from the Royal Collection Trust, said the Queen toured the exhibition on Wednesday, adding: 'She seemed very pleased'. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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A replica of the place settings at the Coronation State Banquets. In all more than 8,000 guests were entertained over four days of festivities.