Buckingham Palace to open to public

Buckingham Palace will reopen to the public for the first time, following the coronavirus pandemic

Published

Magnificent jewels from the Queen's personal collection and iconic photographs of Her Majesty, including the first official portraits taken just weeks after she came to the throne, will go on display in the Ball Supper Room.

The palace draws tourists from around the world to London and the UK, and the summer opening will allow the public to explore the historic Staterooms first used by Queen Victoria.

Caroline de Guitaut, deputy surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art at the Royal Collection Trust said: "It's a really wonderful opportunity for our visitors at Buckingham Palace to get up really close to these jewels.

"They are very rarely displayed in public, but Her Majesty does wear them quite rarely so it's a wonderful opportunity to see them and to see the detail in these historic pieces."

General view of Buckingham Palace in central London.
General view of Buckingham Palace in central London.

Twenty-four official portraits of the Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding, some just weeks after the Accession, were used to depict Her Majesty on stamps and coins over the next two decades.

Also on display is The Diamond Diadem, used by Her Majesty during her Coronation and for State Openings of Parliament, which is set with 1,333 diamonds.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was given to the Queen (when Princess Elizabeth) as a wedding present by her grandmother Queen Mary is also expected to be a highlight.

The Delhi Durbar necklace, incorporating an 8.8 carat diamond pendant cut from the Cullinan diamond (the largest diamond ever found) and the South Africa necklace, a 21st birthday gift to the Queen from the government of South Africa in 1947, is also available for the public to view.

The Royal Collection Trust faced losses of £15million last year, according to its annual accounts, when the traditional Summer Opening at Buckingham Palace was cancelled for a second year in a row.

Princess Elizabeth's robe
Princess Elizabeth's robe

The gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions from April 2021 allowed the public back into Windsor Castle and other royal buildings, although social distancing rules were still enforced.

Visitor numbers at the Queen’s official residences rose by more than half a million to 737,000 in 2021/22 from 155,000 in 2020/21, but were still way below pre-pandemic figures of 3.3 million people a year.

Income was boosted by the public buying the wide range of official Platinum Jubilee souvenirs.

The growth of online sales contributed £4.3million to retail sales, compared with £900,000 before the pandemic.

The Queen is expected to spend the summer break at her private Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire until early October.

Boris Johnson will formally resign as Prime Minister in September, which could interrupt Her Majesty's holiday.

It is unknown whether Her Majesty will travel to Buckingham Palace, where she traditionally appoints her new Prime Minister.

'Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession' is included in a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from Friday, 22 July until Sunday, 2 October 2022.