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TREASURED TOYS: This summer, Buckingham Palace is holding an exhibition showcasing toys, gifts and outfits of nine generations of royal children spanning more than 250 years.
The showcase highlights life as a young royal growing up at Buckingham Palace featuring objects from the Royal Collection, the Royal Archives and private collections from the royal family, including photographs and film footage. From the Queen’s childhood toys, including a pair of rocking horses she and her sister played with, to Prince George’s rocking horse gifted by President Obama, the items will be on display at the royal residence.
“For the first time, it really focuses on that intimate, personal side of monarchy rather than the official function of the Queen as head of state,” curator Anna Reynolds told WWD. “Many of our exhibitions have focused on that element of monarchy and of the Royal Collection, but this is a different side, so it’s been really interesting and fascinating. I was really surprised to find the fairy dress that was worn by Princess Anne, partly because we think of her as this equestrian, and we don’t necessarily think of her as dressing in a little fairy dress, but then we have a photograph to go along with it, which is really lovely. And what I love about that fairy dress is that it’s not made by a royal couturier; it’s not made of the most expensive materials, it’s a little fairy dress, which a 6-year-old would’ve loved to wear, covered in sparkly silver sequins, and with a tiara and wand. And I think that’s very relatable, all little 6-year-old girls would love to wear that.”
In terms of royal toy trends, horses seemed to be top pick. “I think there are definitely patterns we can see, so certain types of toys remain popular,” said Reynolds. “I think one of those is horses, rocking horses in particular, so we have in the exhibition the Queen’s rocking horse which is called Caesar, it has a C on it’s saddlecloth, and her sister, Princess Margaret’s as well, both of those were kept together at Royal Lodge. And we have a little pedal-powered horse and carriage which was used by Prince Charles, and then obviously Prince George of Cambridge was given a rocking horse by Barack Obama, President of the United States, so that’s continuing that idea of monarchy and horses.”
Royal Childhood is part of a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. The exhibit opened Saturday and will run through Sept. 28.