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Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Royal Welcome - 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace

A Royal Welcome at Buckingham Palace - the front of Buckingham Palace  and the Ballroom laid out for a state banquet Photos © Andrew Knowles
A Royal Welcome at Buckingham Palace - the front of Buckingham Palace
and the Ballroom laid out for a state banquet Photos © Andrew Knowles
This summer’s exhibition at Buckingham Palace gives visitors a taste of what it is like to be an official guest at the palace. Andrew and I were invited to a bloggers’ breakfast last week to view the exhibition with a guided tour by curator Anna Reynolds. We were extremely privileged to be allowed to take photos in many of the rooms—not something that is normally permitted. Thanks to Andrew, I have lots of pictures to share to help you experience a Royal Welcome. The exhibition runs until 27 September 2015.

The longest reigning British monarch

From Wednesday 9 September, there is an additional photographic display – Long To Reign Over Us – celebrating the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who is now the longest reigning British monarch, overtaking Queen Victoria.

The Grand Entrance

The first difference from our previous visits to Buckingham Palace was the way in. This year, visitors to the palace enter the State Rooms through the Grand Entrance that invited guests use. The Australian state coach is on display outside this entrance so that visitors can imagine they have just arrived in it (if only!). 

The Australian state coach outside the Grand Entrance of Buckingham Palace The Australian state coach outside the Grand Entrance of Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Australian state coach outside the Grand Entrance
of Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Grand Staircase

From the Grand Entrance, you pass through the Grand Hall and up the Grand Staircase. On our tour, we went straight to the top and were able to capture the full length of the magnificent staircase. The balustrade is magnificent, made of gilded bronze, and at the top we looked up to see some very familiar faces – George III and Queen Charlotte.

The Grand Hall, Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Grand Hall, Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Grand Staircase, Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
View up the Grand Staircase, Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Grand Staircase, Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Grand Staircase, Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Throne Room

In the Throne Room, there were displays on the theme of investitures. There was a video of various people receiving their honours, as well as pictures of some recipients of the Order of Merit including a portrait of Sir Tom Stoppard and a self-portrait by David Hockney. The knighting stool and a sword used for conferring knighthoods were also on display.

Knighting stool © Royal Collection Queen Elizabeth II 2015
Knighting stool
© Royal Collection Trust Queen Elizabeth II 2015
Portrait of Sir Tom Stoppard © Royal Collection Trust Queen Elizabeth II 2015
Portrait of Sir Tom Stoppard
© Royal Collection Trust Queen Elizabeth II 2015
Preparing for a state visit

In the main exhibition area, there were several displays set up which showed how the palace staff prepare for a state visit. These included insights into the office, the kitchen, the wine cellar and the dressmaker’s workshop.

Getting ready in the office

Part of the office display in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
Part of the office display in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
An invitation to a state banquet in the office display in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
An invitation to a state banquet in the office display
in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Invitations to a state banquet in the office display in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
Invitations to a state banquet in the office display
in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Programme for a state visit in the office display in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace Photo © Andrew Knowles
Programme for a state visit in the office display in
a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
I particularly liked the little booklets (shown above) that guests are given so that they know the names of everyone else who is attending the state banquet and where they are sitting, a menu and other useful information. The aim is to make the guests feel relaxed, not to catch them out!

Preparing food for a state banquet

The kitchen display in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
The kitchen display in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition
at Buckingham Palace - Photo © Andrew Knowles
Chocolates in the kitchen display in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Chocolates in the kitchen display in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Uniform in the kitchen display in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Uniform in the kitchen display in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Making chocolate buttons in the mould of uniform buttons   in the kitchen display in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Making chocolate buttons in the mould of uniform
buttons in the kitchen display in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Making chocolate buttons in the mould of uniform buttons   in the kitchen display in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Making chocolate buttons in the mould of uniform buttons in the kitchen
 display in a Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Preparing the wine for a state banquet

The wine cellar display in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
The wine cellar display in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The wine cellar display in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
The wine cellar display in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Preparing the tableware for a state banquet

Preparing the tableware for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Preparing the tableware for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Preparing the tableware for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Preparing the tableware for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Getting out the plates for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Getting out the plates for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Getting out the cutlery for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Getting out the cutlery for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Preparing clothes fit for the Queen

The dressers' workroom in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
The dressers' workroom in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The dressers' workroom in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Rachel Knowles
The dressers' workroom in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Rachel Knowles
The dressers' workroom in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
The dressers' workroom in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Dressed for a state occasion

I enjoyed the last display, showcasing three of the Queen’s dresses used for state occasions, together with photos of her wearing them. Some of her jewellery was on display, including the coronation necklace, Queen Mary’s Dorset bow brooch and the Kokoshnik tiara.

One of the Queen's state outfits in a Royal   Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham   Palace - Photo © Rachel Knowles
One of the Queen's state outfits in a Royal
Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham
 Palace - Photo © Rachel Knowles
One of the Queen's state outfits in a Royal   Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham   Palace - Photo © Rachel Knowles
One of the Queen's state outfits in a Royal
Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham
 Palace - Photo © Rachel Knowles
The coronation necklace in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
The coronation necklace in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Kokoshnik tiara in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Kokoshnik tiara in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Queen Mary's Dorset bow brooch in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
Queen Mary's Dorset bow brooch in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The Ballroom

The Ballroom was set up for a state banquet and I thought the glittering array of tableware was quite dazzling.

The ballroom set up for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
The ballroom set up for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The ballroom set up for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
The ballroom set up for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
The ballroom set up for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
The ballroom set up for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Menu for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
Menu for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Place setting for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
Place setting for a state banquet in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
There were several videos to watch, my favourite being the one on the middle screen—a speeded up version of them setting up, serving and clearing up after a state banquet. You can watch part of this video here.



State gifts

A selection of gifts given to the Queen on state visits was on display in the State Dining Room, on a table beneath life-size portraits of George IV and his parents and other royals.

State gifts on display in the State Dining Room in a Royal Welcome  2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
State gifts on display in the State Dining Room in a Royal Welcome
2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Part of a set of porcelain plates given to the Queen  by the President of Singapore in 2014  © Royal Collection Trust Queen Elizabeth II 2015
Part of a set of porcelain plates given to the Queen
by the President of Singapore in 2014
© Royal Collection Trust Queen Elizabeth II 2015
Clay sculpture of a Tree of Life from the President of   Mexico on display in the State Dining Room in a   Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Clay sculpture of a Tree of Life from the President of
Mexico on display in the State Dining Room in a
Royal Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Music Room

More of the Queen's clothes were on display in the Music Room.

Three of the Queen's state outfits in a Royal   Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace   Photo © Andrew Knowles
Three of the Queen's state outfits in a Royal
Welcome 2015 exhibition at Buckingham  Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
It was a great morning, wandering through the State Rooms and reacquainting myself with all the wonderful portraits of the Georgian royal family. I did not count how many pictures there were of George IV, but there were more of him than of any other monarch! The exhibition brought in several new elements which were a nice variation to what we had seen on previous visits.

Remembering Mrs Jordan

Having blogged about Mrs Jordan (William IV's long-standing mistress) recently and how she was ostracised by the royal family during her life, it was reassuring to see her portrait on display alongside the Georgian royals as well as the Chantrey sculpture commissioned by William IV. This was not on display in one of the rooms we visited on our guided tour and so we had no opportunity to photograph it, but Andrew discovered that he had taken a picture of it quite by chance when capturing the view through a doorway from one of the drawing rooms! 

Mrs Jordan statue by Chantrey,  on display in Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Mrs Jordan statue by Chantrey,
on display in Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Mrs Jordan statue by Chantrey,  on display in Buckingham Palace  Photo © Andrew Knowles
Mrs Jordan statue by Chantrey,
on display in Buckingham Palace
Photo © Andrew Knowles
A royal treat in the café © Andrew Knowles
A royal treat in the café © Andrew Knowles
Book tickets for "A Royal Welcome" here.

6 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this blog, Rachel, and congratulations to Andrew for his photos - it was great to see the details.so clearly..

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Always nice to take my photographer along. :)

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  2. So happy to see Dora's statue. Did you know that her daughter Mary was a correspondent with the scientist Michael Faraday?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was lovely to actually see the statue having read about its history. And no, I didn't know about Mary. How fascinating!

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    2. Faraday was a combination of Steve Jobs and Neil DeGrasse Tyson back in his day. He's the man we have to thank for electric generators. But like Dora, he was born poor and as he got older, had health troubles. He might have slipped back into poverty but Mary was as kindhearted as her mother and took up his cause and helped secure a pension for him and Queen Victoria even gave him a retirement home. It gives us some insight into the troubles of commoners and also the influence of Dora and William's children. Anyway, I loved the photos and look forward to reading your book.

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    3. Thanks so much for the information and hope you enjoy my book. :)

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