A BUMPER WEEKEND OF REGAL CELEBRATIONS
This summer is a significant one for the royal family with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee commemorating a record-breaking 70 years on the throne. HM Queen Elizabeth II is the first-ever British monarch to reach such a milestone and there’s a host of planned activities this June to celebrate, including a bumper bank holiday weekend.
The Queen ascended to the throne on 6 February 1952, aged just 25, after the sudden death of her father, King George IV. Due to the time of year and the ensuing period of mourning, Jubilee celebrations were – and still are – hosted in the summer. This year, from 2-5 June will be the Platinum Jubilee weekend and in her Accession Day message, the Queen expressed her wish that this be a time for people to connect with their friends, families and communities through traditional street parties and gatherings. There are a number of official celebrations, including a performance at Windsor Castle, a service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, a grand Trooping the Colour ceremony involving more than 1,400 officers and soldiers, and a VIP Platinum Party at the Palace. Longer-running celebrations include the Queen’s Green Canopy – a multi-year tree planting initiative that has already seen over one million saplings planted in Her Majesty’s honour.
THE ROYAL EXCHANGE, A REGAL PLACE
As our name suggests, The Royal Exchange has always had an association with the monarchy. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571 – although it was actually built five years earlier – and was awarded a royal title and the licence to sell alcohol and luxury goods.
Over the course of its 451-year history, The Royal Exchange has lived through tumultuous times and has been rebuilt twice thanks to the Great Fire of London and a separate blaze, caused by an overheated stove inside the building. Following the latter, it was officially reopened by Queen Victoria in 1844. Just days after her death in early 1901, the proclamation of King Edward VII’s reign took place on the steps of The Royal Exchange, and the building remains one of a few locations for royal proclamations in the UK.
Today, you can find clues to The Royal Exchange’s monarchical ties around the building. Look up at the sculptures above the portico’s eight columns and you’ll see an excerpt from a Psalm selected by Albert, Prince Consort, while the golden Latin inscription below translates to: “founded in the 13th year of Queen Elizabeth, and restored in the 8th of Queen Victoria”. Two statues inside the courtyard also pay homage to the royal family, with a sculpture of Charles II, which survived the building’s fire in 1838, and one of Queen Elizabeth I, both set in niches. Elsewhere, the clock tower, which provides the foundations for the famed Gresham grasshopper weathervane, also functions as a carillon that can play God Save the Queen and Rule, Britannia!
As long as there have been Jubilee celebrations, there have been accompanying souvenirs that range from commemorative coins issued by The Royal Mint to unofficial collectibles such as mugs, tea towels and plates. From The Royal Exchange’s retailers (a number of which hold Royal Warrants themselves), you can expect refined Jubilee-themed goodies including foods, accessories and stationery. Here are our favourites.
Fortnum’s Platinum Jubilee Tea for Two Set
Fortnum & Mason was founded in 1707 when its eponymous co-founder was granted a licence to sell Queen Anne’s discarded candles. Add to that two Royal Warrants from Queen Elizabeth II and The Prince of Wales, and it seems only natural that the retailer should offer an entire Jubilee collection, which is as thoughtful as it is collectible. Featuring designs inspired by the Queen’s life, the range of hampers and gift sets champions British suppliers and only the finest produce. Treat yourself to a mini musical biscuit tin (which plays God Save the Queen as it turns), or invest in a beautifully illustrated bone china tea set for two, crafted in the heart of The Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent.
£250; available from 22 May
Hermès limited-edition scarf
In honour of the aforementioned Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, Hermès has commissioned a limited-edition colourway of its Voitures Exquises silk scarf, with proceeds to be donated to the tree-planting programme. The 90cm x 90cm piece, which was designed by artist Jan Bajtlik, features commemorative writing for the Jubilee occasion.
£350; available from Monday 16 May
Tateossian corgi cufflinks
To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Tateossian London has released the Royal Corgi – a fun nod to one of the Queen’s favourite dogs, who wears a traditional bearskin in the manner of the Queensguard. Available as either a pin or a pair of cufflinks, this cute character is palladium plated and features blue Swarovski for eyes, a faux fur hat and hand-painted red enamel for the strap.
£199, available at Tateossian at The Royal Exchange