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Exhibition introduction ©

On 6 February 1952 Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne, following the death of her father King George VI. Twenty days later, the first official portrait sitting of the young Queen’s reign took place. The photographs were taken by Dorothy Wilding, a leading portrait photographer with an outstanding skill for creating emblematic images of great power and longevity, through her use of lighting, stark back-drops and sophisticated retouching.

The resulting images are some of the most memorable and important from The Queen’s reign. Used as official images in British embassies and official buildings across the United Kingdom and around the world, they also formed the basis for the image used on coinage, banknotes, postage stamps and Coronation souvenirs.

For the first time, to mark The Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee, this exhibition at Buckingham Palace brings together Wilding’s original hand-finished prints from the Royal Collection, together with the jewels worn by Her Majesty in each photograph.

These iconic portraits from 1952 are displayed with official photographs of The Queen commissioned to mark her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilees.

Preview the portraits and jewellery below.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.