Enjoy Royalty with Buckingham Palace's Summer Opening

Get set for the royal treatment, as the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace open with an exhibition celebrating the Queen’s wardrobe.

If you've seen Changing the Guard and admired Buckingham Palace from the outside, there's now the chance to venture through the gates. Each summer, visitors can take a tour to see the glorious State Rooms and a special exhibition, which changes each year.

Caroline de Guitaut, a curator for the Royal Collection Trust says, "Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe celebrates the Queen’s 90th birthday through the medium of fashion. It’s the largest display of her wardrobe, and it features incredible examples of British couture.

"Highlights include Norman Hartnell’s primrose yellow dress, tunic and jacket, which the Queen wore in 1969 when Prince Charles became the Prince of the Wales, and another Hartnell outfit decorated with maple leaf crystals which the Queen wore on a state visit to Canada." In addition to colourful outfits and hats—the Queen often wears yellow to stand out—you can see her "off-duty clothes" such as a tailored tweed riding jacket and jodhpurs.

The exhibition takes place in two of the 19 state rooms, the ball supper room and the ballroom, where the Queen presents knighthoods and OBEs. The rooms have been open to the public every summer since 1993, when they opened to raise money to restore Windsor Castle after it was damaged by fire.

As well as the dresses, you can also see where the Queen’s three eldest children and Prince William were baptised.  

The throne room, so called because of two thrones that sit upon three steps on a red carpet, is where the Queen gathers on special occasions such as her Jubilee. It was also the room in which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their photograph taken on 29 April 2011 after their wedding. It’s decorated with chandeliers, paintings and a sword.

Throne room at Buckingham Palace, London, UK

The white drawing room, with its ornate carpets and enormous chandeliers, it is the grandest room of all. If it looks familiar, that’s because it was used for stamp portraits recently, with Prince George standing on blocks.

As well as staircases with golden curls, fireplaces and displays of presents from heads of states, you can also see Sèvres porcelain, sculpture by Canova and fine French furniture. Old masters from the Royal Collection such as Rembrandt, Ruben, Van Dyck and Canaletto line the walls.

Once you’ve explored indoors, browse mementos in the garden shop and eat scones in The Garden Café on the West terrace, which overlooks the lawn and lake. Walk them off on a half-mile route through the garden.

If this has whet your appetite for the royals, buy a Royal Day Out ticket, which gives you admission to The Queen's Gallery, Royal Mews and Buckingham Palacae (adult £37).

Or, click here for inspiration about more royal places to visit in London.

Fashion exhibition at Buckingham Palace, London, UK

Sarah Riches
About the author