‘A Royal Welcome’ to The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace in London this Summer will be sure to please both locals and visitors to England at the same time.
Each year the Queen and her family welcome many visitors to the house for special reasons; private audiences, garden parties, Investitures, public receptions, visits by Heads of State and so forth.
This year for the first time, those visiting during the Palace’s summer opening program will be able to view special displays from the Royal Collection throughout the State Rooms.
The aim is to reveal the detailed preparations that go into preparing State Rooms for these very special occasions.
The Royal Collection is one of the largest most important fine and decorative arts collections in the world.
It is spread out over some 13 royal residences and former residences within the United Kingdom.
Each year The Queen as host welcomes some 110 Heads of State from all around the world who come on formal state visits to Britain.
These take some twelve months in the planning and involve staff at ever level.
Food and wine selection are as important as choosing what HRH will wear.
A selection of frocks and the jewellery worn by The Queen on some of these occasions will be an important aspect of the display.
State Banquet’s and great dinners are held in a variety of the Palace’s rooms.
For the summer the Palace’s Ballroom will see the preparations for a State Banquet by the use of time lapse film technology.
The great table will be shown gradually being dressed with glittering silver-gilt centrepieces and stunning candelabra plus all the accoutrement’s required for the meal, as well as the finished result.
Wonderful pieces from ‘The Grand Service’ on display including a stunning centerpiece and a pair of superb candelabra made by arguably one the greatest of the English goldsmith and silversmiths Paul Storr (1771-1844).
The centrepiece is one of a set of four that were acquired by George IV when he was Prince Regent and like the candelabra are knock your socks off in terms of quality, design and craftsmanship.
It has a central bowl in the form of a convolvulus flower, on a foliate stem with a wreath of flowers and four scroll branches.
They are entwined with flowers, terminating in similar bowls.
It’s a true delight.
The lower section has a figure of Pan playing a pipe, a maenad playing cymbals and putti holding pan pipes and a tambourine, on a fluted circular base with lion’s paw feet.
During his career Paul Storr was working in the Neoclassical style, which was a mix of classical references and allusion in a way that had not been done before
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, George, Prince of Wales became a central figure in the development of decorative style in England.
His passion for art, architecture, interiors and all forms of objet d’art would provide the impetus and example for great change.
His innate style and taste was a great success and served as a catalyst for the enthusiasm of his subjects.
To promote his innovative ideas in 1811 he opened his once again, remodelled, Carlton House to the public with 30,000 visitors flocking to see it in one day. The Prince’s new preferences were for stronger interpretation of classical ornament and form.
At the close of the eighteenth century archaeological investigations were revealing more and more about the ‘antique’ past and the Neoclassical style was all about a maturity of classical art and architecture combined, but with a contemporary feeling.
The Royal Collection has copious amounts of candelabra and its good to remember that until the invention of the ‘argand lamp’, and later ‘electric’ light, all classes and members of society were placed at a distinct disadvantage in ordering their daily lives. For many centuries candles in a range of holders became an important statement of your social standing.
Tools of the trade to create the festive meal include copper moulds, which are used to create the very special desserts that guests enjoy.
The knighting sword and stool will also be on display alongside Orders and Decorations that reward those who give on behalf of the greater good.
Each year some 120 people receive their honour from The Queen herself, or a senior member o f the Royal Family.
Some of those also receive special recognition with a commissioned portrait as part of the Order of Merit series which is about advancing the Arts, Learning, Literature, Government and Science.
An order of merit is ‘the sole gift of the Sovereign, given only to those considered to have rendered exceptional service to their country’.
They include Sir David Attenborough whose services to nature and the sharing of knowledge about our world is so highly valued by all.
In the Grand Entrance portico the Australian State Coach used on State Visits will be on show.
It was recently used to carry The Duke of Edinburgh and Señora Rivera, wife of the President of the United Mexican States, in the arrival procession of a State Visit in March 2015
This is a department of the Royal Household, which is responsible for the care of the Royal Collection.
It manages the public opening of the official residences of The Queen.
Originally only known as ‘Buckingham House’, this splendid house in town was originally built for his grace the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 on a freehold piece of land.
It only became the residence of a royal when King George III (1730 – 1820) acquired it from him in 1761.
This was just one year after his accession to the English throne and at first it was known as the Queen’s House, a reference to its occupant Queen Charlotte, George III’s consort.
Enlarged by King George IV’s famous architect John Nash, it was completed by Edward Blore following his dismissal.
Buckingham Palace finally became an official ‘palace’ of the British monarchy when Queen Victoria went to live there after her accession to the throne in 1837.
Income generated from the admissions to view its wonderful spaces and from associated commercial activities, contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered not for profit association.
The aims of the Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through providing exhibitions, publications, loans and educational programmes everyone is entitled to attend.
Important to note The Royal Collection Trust’s work is also undertaken without public funding of any kind. It is held in trust for the English nation and not owned by The Queen as a private individual.
Are you visiting London this summer? Discover how the staff prepare for the special guests of the Queen. Enjoy your own ‘Royal Day Out’ and receive a warm welcome to The State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015