60 years of the Commonwealth: Peek inside the royal travelling wardrobe


Blackleaf
#1
Some of Queen Elizabeth II's exquisite dresses are go on show on Sunday to mark the summer opening of the State rooms.

She wore many of the dresses during her extensive travels around the Commonwealth and the world.

Also going on display are some of the strange gifts she has received on her travels.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth exists within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace.

The Commonwealth's objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade. To these were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration of 1979 (which mostly concerned racism), and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration of 1989. These objectives were reinforced by the Harare Declaration in 1991.

With members ranging in size from gigantic India (population: 1 billion) to tiny Tuvalu (population: 12,000) the Commonwealth makes up 21% of the Earth's land area.

Of the 53 member states, 32 are republics and 21 are monarchies.

Five of the monarchies - Brunei, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland and Tonga - have their own distinct monarchs rather than Elizabeth II.

Rwanda, Sudan, Algeria, Madagascar, Israel, Palestine and Yemen have applied to join the Commonwealth.

Peek inside the royal travelling wardrobe

Oddity and splendour characterise the 60th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth - a curiously loose but enduring association of countries whose survival, itself both odd and splendid, owes everything to the personal commitment of the Queen.

Elizabeth Grice
25 Jul 2009
The Telegraph


Queen and Commonwealth: The Royal Tour a special exhibition at this years Summer Opening of Buckinham Palace Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND


Queen and Commonwealth: The Royal Tour a special exhibition at this years Summer Opening of Buckinham Palace Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND


Queen and Commonwealth: The Royal Tour a special exhibition at this years Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

Some of the magnificent dresses she has worn and the strange gifts she has been given on a prodigious 175 royal tours to 53 countries go on show tomorrow [Sunday] at Buckingham Palace to mark the summer opening of the State rooms.

The "family of nations" has inspired some of the Queen's most heartfelt declarations, beginning in Cape Town on her 21st birthday in 1947, when she promised that her life "whether it be long or short" would be devoted to her people and the Commonwealth. On her accession, she called it the embodiment of "the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty and the desire for freedom and peace." And in March this year, in her Commonwealth Day (9th March) message, she said its shared values and "truly global perspective" were needed as never before.

The exhibition Queen and Commonwealth: The Royal Tour evokes some of great journeys of her reign, beginning with the longest, from November 1953 to May 1954, to the West Indies, Australasia, Asia and Africa. During this epic tour, the Queen acquired a rather tired-looking Maori cloak of brown kiwi feathers, a symbol of chieftainship which she still wears when in New Zealand, and several fabulous diamond brooches emblematic of the host countries. The tour covered 40,000 miles and called for an estimated eight tons of baggage.


Some of the objectives of the Commonwealth are the promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade.

Original sketches for her travelling wardrobe by the great British couturiers, Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies (which we publish here for the first time), can be seen alongside their translations into bead-encrusted duchesse satin, gold lame or silk crepe studded with pearls. Many of the dresses pay coded compliments to a country's own traditions. A bright yellow evening dress and cape for the visit to Australia in 1974 is embroidered with sprays of wattle, the national flower, and the ivory satin evening dress worn for a State dinner in Lahore during the tour of India and Pakistan in 1961 has a dramatic emerald green waterfall pleat down the back, reminiscent of a sari.

A star of the show is the grey silk organza evening gown that caused a sensation on the Queen's six-week tour of Canada in 1959. It is a ravishing Hardy Amies crinoline embroidered with mayflowers (emblem of Nova Scotia) and apple blossom and swagged with broad pink bows.

Simple offerings such a painted boomerang, a prized whale's tooth from Fiji or an open-topped model bus from Pakistan are displayed with as much reverence for their origin and significance as the dazzling dresses and jewellery that have given lustre to the Queen's travels. Caroline de Guitaut, curator of works of art at the Royal Collection, says the exhibition "tells the story of the amazing journeys of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh through six decades and reflects the great diversity of the Commonwealth nations." It is also a colourful tribute to the consummate networking skills and stamina of the Head of the Commonwealth herself.

The summer opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace is from tomorrow [July 26] to September 30. Admission by timed ticket: www.royal collection.org.uk Or ring 20 7766 7300.

telegraph.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jul 25th, 2009 at 12:40 PM..
 
taxslave
#2
So are they hoping to hang on to all that old junk long enough for it to come into style again?