The Queen’s Year exhibition, which opened this week at London’s Buckingham Palace, makes a good case for a pay raise for the 84-year-old British monarch. Staged just weeks after the British government chose not to increase her annual taxpayer-funded Civil List payment of 7.9 million pounds, or $12.3 million at current exchange, the show brings to life some of the 250 annual royal commitments Her Majesty has been called to attend, with all the couture gowns, bespoke hats and ceremonial costumes they require. Part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, the exhibit is divided into seasons and highlights royal engagements including The Queen’s Speech, which is broadcast to the nation on Christmas Day; The Royal Variety Performance, a gala evening of family entertainment held in the winter, and Royal Ascot, the horse race she has attended every summer since 1945. Additionally, the Queen’s Robe of State — a red velvet cape with an 18-foot-long ermine-trimmed train that was made in 1953 and worn by Queen Elizabeth II at the annual State Opening of Parliament — is on display for the first time. There is also a selection of colorful floral hats by milliners including Philip Somerville and Rachel Trevor-Morgan that were worn by the Queen at Royal Ascot; a Norman Hartnell sequined and bead-embellished gold gown, worn at a royal film performance of “West Side Story” in 1962, and a gold tunic worn by a State Trumpeter.
The exhibit, in one of the palace’s State Rooms, stays open to the public through Oct. 1. For details, visit royalcollection.org.uk.