Diamonds Are a Queen’s Best Friend
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Hello, everyone. Well, it’s been some time since we've checked in with the royals. So how’ve you been? You’re all looking well.

Hey, 2012 is going to be a big year for the royals, as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne. There are going to be celebrations and exhibitions galore, so start marking your calendars.

If you’re looking for something to gawk at, block out July 26—September 24, which is when Buckingham Palace opens to the public, because you won’t want to miss Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration. On display at the palace will be what the Queen calls “my best diamonds,” along with other historical pieces. These jewels are from the Queen’s personal collection, and if you pay close attention, you'll learn how the jewels have undergone a number of transformations, whether by being re-cut or reset throughout their history.

  
 
Let's take a peek at some of the trinkets to be showcased:

  • A necklace and bracelet of 21 magnificent diamonds, given to the Queen by the South African government for her 21st birthday.

  • A 1,187-diamond coronet, which Queen Victoria had created in 1870, because the state crown was too heavy for the diminutive queen and also could not be worn with her mourning veil. The diamonds in this tiny crown came from one of Queen Victoria's necklaces.

  • The necklace and earrings worn by the Queen at her coronation in Westminster Abbey in 1953, which include a 22.48-carat drop pendant originally created in 1858 for Queen Victoria. The necklace was also worn during coronation services by queens Alexandra, Mary, and the Queen Mother.

  • The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara, known as “Granny’s tiara.” The tiara was originally given on behalf of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland as a wedding present in 1893 to the Queen’s grandmother, who later had it remodeled, replacing pearls with diamonds.

  • The Williamson Brooch, which features an eye-popping 23.6-carat rare Tanzanian pink diamond. The diamond was given uncut to the Queen as a wedding present by the Canadian geologist John Williamson and later set in a Cartier-designed flower brooch.

Oh, I almost forgot. Along with the jewels will be a display of 80 evening gowns, which have been worn by the Queen on state and private occasions.

Such a disgusting display of excess wealth, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I'm going to be first in line to see this stuff, because I just love baubles.

* * * * *

Royal Treasurers: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration will be at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, March 16—September 16. This is an exhibition of 100 selections across the entire Royal Collection (from eight royal residences and over five centuries), including furniture, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, art by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Monet, and Raphael, among others, as well as Imperial Easter Eggs by Fabergé.

I’m not big on art, but I’ll pop in to this gig to check out those eggs and the jewelry. I’d also like to get a gander at this creepy little piece.

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Another cool exhibit worth a peek is The Queen: Sixty Photographs for Sixty Years, which will be at the Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle, February 4, 2012–January 2013. On display will be (like the name says) sixty photographs of the Queen over the past six decades, ranging from official occasions to family moments.

A sure-fire crowd pleaser. It will be interesting to see just how many of these photographs we haven't seen. I might tear myself away from the diamonds long enough to take a look.

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The largest-ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body will be shown in Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, May 4—October 7. I wonder how many of you didn’t know that da Vinci was a pioneer in the understanding of human anatomy. Unfortunately, he died before his work could be digested and published.

All you single girls might meet a nice eligible doctor at this exhibit, but if it’s all the same to you, I’m going to skip this one, so I can spend more time looking at the diamonds.

* * * * *

If you’re a da Vinci fan but you’re not into anatomy, there’s a touring exhibit called Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration. The exhibition includes designs for chariots fitted with flailing clubs, a study of the head of Leda, a drawing of oak leaves, a double-sided sheet of anatomical sketches, a design for a scheme to drain marshland, a view of a river from a window, a costume study of a man on horseback, drawings of apocalyptic scenes, and a rough study of an old man in profile.

Now there’s excitement for all you art fans and budding engineers. Really. This exhibition will be making its way to five venues across the UK, so find one near you.

* * * * *

There shouldn't be any complaints; you have to admit there’s something for everybody here, and we can all stand to learn a lot. So indulge and enjoy.

By the by, if you're looking for me, I'll be at the diamonds.



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