The Queen’s Coronation 1953 at Buckingham Palace
The royal family is essentially a posh brand − a very posh brand. Indeed, they are the biggest brand in the Commonwealth and every year people spend thousands of dollars investing in it. Much of this interest comes from a historic-political and economic perspective, and you immediately feel a sense of history on visiting Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately The Queen’s Coronation 1953 is not very enlightening in this respect. The exhibit looks at the 18-month build-up to the coronation of Elizabeth II on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of this event. The problem with this exhibition is that there is very little reflection and no depth when examining this legacy.
The tour starts with a welcome message from Prince Charles, thanking us for paying for the upkeep of his house. After this, the crowd walks through the staterooms, some of which are very beautiful and certainly quite magnificent. Personal favourites were the Music Room, which was designed by Nash using the latest design technologies of the time, and the White Room, resplendent in its eponymous white and gold. The trouble with touring Buckingham Palace compared with touring another old mansion or palace is that you are only allowed access to the public rooms. You never actually see how the royal family live, instead limited to the perspective of Head of State. This is of course interesting but it doesn’t tell you much about the people themselves or how they live. It’s all a bit stale.
The centrepiece of the exhibit is Elizabeth II’s coronation robe, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, decked in jewels, and beautifully embroidered with symbols of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The needlework on the dress took 12 embroiders over 3,500 hours to complete and is a masterpiece of the craft.
While there are certainly interesting aspects to this exhibit, it is sadly not worth the price of admission unless you are a hardcore royalist: all pomp and ceremony, no real substance.
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Photos: Andrei Grosu
The Queen’s Coronation 1953 is at Buckingham Palace until 29th September 2013. For further information or to book visit the gallery’s website here.