Palace to host diamond exhibition for Diamond Jubilee

Girls of Great Britain Tiara
Image caption The Girls of Great Britain Tiara will be in the exhibition to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Buckingham Palace is to display an exhibition of diamonds to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The Royal Collection exhibition, which will take place in August and September, will chart the precious gemstone's association with British monarchs over the last 200 years.

It will include some of the Sovereign's personal jewels.

Among items on show will be the Girls of Great Britain Tiara, which the Queen wore at a state banquet in November.

It was a wedding present to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary - the Queen's grandmother - on behalf of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893.

Originally crafted with upright pearls around the top and a bandeau base, it was altered in 1920 by Queen Mary who replaced the pearls with diamonds and removed the base.

Image caption The monarch's Williamson Brooch features a rare pink diamond

The tiara is one of the Queen's favourites and is known as "Granny's tiara", being a wedding present from her grandmother in 1947.

Visitors to the exhibition, which the Royal Collection website says will cost £18 for an adult, will also see the necklace and earrings worn by the Queen at her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey in 1953.

The collet necklace is formed of 25 large graduated cushion-shaped brilliant-cut diamonds and a central drop-shaped pendant of 22.48 carats.

It was created in 1858 for Queen Victoria - the only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee - from a Garter badge and ceremonial sword.

Historic pieces such as Queen Victoria's miniature personal crown, which contains nearly 1,200 diamonds, will also be on view.

The monarch's Williamson Brooch which features a rare pink diamond - said to be the finest in existence - will be also be on display.

Touring exhibition

The diamond exhibition is one of a number of exhibitions taking place to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

Sixty photographs of The Queen, including the work of leading press photographers of the past six decades, will go on display at Windsor Castle from 4 February to January 2013.

An exhibition of some of the finest treasures from the Royal Collection will go on display at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, between 16 March and 16 September.

Highlights of the selection of 100 outstanding works - which has been made from eight royal residences and includes paintings, drawings, manuscripts, furniture and jewellery - include paintings by Rembrandt and Monet and drawings by Michelangelo.

There will also be a touring exhibition of 10 of Leonardo da Vinci's finest drawings in the Royal Collection. The exhibition will visit Birmingham, Bristol, Ulster, Dundee and Hull.

In addition, the largest ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's studies of the human body will be shown at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, between 4 May and 7 October.

Jonathan Marsden, director of the Royal Collection, said it was "delighted to be sharing, on behalf of The Queen, some great treasures with museums and galleries across the UK".

"This is a fitting tribute to Her Majesty's commitment over the past 60 years to the care and conservation of the Collection and to increasing public access," he said.

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