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Special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace announced

Release date: Wednesday, 2 April 2014

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From well-loved toys and treasured family gifts to tiny childhood outfits, a special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace will give an unprecedented glimpse into life as a young member of the royal family.  Spanning more than 250 years, Royal Childhood  brings together objects from the Royal Collection, the Royal Archives and the private collections of members of the Royal Family, as well as previously unseen photographs and film footage.

The official residence of Her Majesty The Queen and one of the most famous buildings in the world, Buckingham Palace has been a royal family home since George III purchased Buckingham House for his new wife Queen Charlotte in 1761.

The Palace has been the setting for many royal births and christenings over the centuries. The spectacular silver-gilt Lily Font, commissioned by Queen Victoria for the christening of her first daughter Princess Victoria in 1841, has been used at almost all major royal baptisms since, most recently for the christening of Prince George at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace in October 2013.  It will go on display in Buckingham Palace's Music Room.

Outfits worn by young princes and princesses include the velvet 'walking suits' of the future King George V, a pink coat belonging to the nine-year-old Princess Elizabeth (Her Majesty The Queen) and Prince William's  page-boy 'sailor suit' from the wedding of The Duke of York in 1986.  A tiny pair of velvet shoes belonging to Queen Victoria's eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, have inscribed on the sole that they were worn by the future King Edward VII at the age of eight months.

A number of The Queen's childhood toys will go on display, including a pink tea set in the shape of a rabbit, a set of Knockemdown Ninepins and a wicker pram that the two-year-old Princess Elizabeth enjoyed pushing around the gardens of 145 Piccadilly, her family home until the age of ten.

Among the earliest items in the exhibition are a dolls' house created by a carpenter on the Royal Yacht for George III's daughters, and dolls made by the young Princess Victoria, inspired by the characters she had seen at the ballet or the opera.

Royal Childhood  is part of a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, 26 July – 28 September 2014.