Please note, Waddesdon will be completely closed 29 June–5 July with the exception of the ticketed live music events. From 6-8 July the property reopens but there will be potential disruption to the Manor.

The live music events from 2-5 July are organised by Senbla. The grounds of Waddesdon have been hired as a venue only, and our staff are not involved in the organisation of these concerts. For any enquiries relating to these concerts, please contact Senbla here or email info@senbla.com

Dan Stevens, Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh with Lord, Lady and Beth Rothschild in the gardens at Waddesdon, 1995, (acc. 8293)
Posted 1 June 2022

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Long to Reign Over Us: Celebrating the Platinum Jubilee at Waddesdon

In 2022, Her Majesty the Queen becomes the first British Monarch to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, marking a remarkable 70 years of service. Here, we take a look at a selection of royal stories, anecdotes and objects from Waddesdon’s past.

The Queen acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI (b.1895, d.1952), with the coronation occurring the following year. Across the country, a series of events and celebrations will culminate in the Platinum Jubilee Weekend (2-5 June). Here, we take a look at a selection of royal stories, anecdotes and objects from Waddesdon’s past.

Ann Carrington (b.1962), The Pearly Queen of Shoreditch, 2004, (acc. 61.2005)
Ann Carrington (b.1962), The Pearly Queen of Shoreditch, 2004

Ann Carrington’s (b.1962) The Pearly Queen of Shoreditch (2004) – made to mark the Queen’s 80th birthday – combines an image familiar from postage stamps with the popular culture of the Pearly Kings and Queens of London’s East End. The iconic postage stamp design was created in 1966-7 from photographs taken by John Hedgecoe (b.1932, d.2010), which were made into plaster models by the sculptor Arnold Machin (b.1911, d.1999). The final image was personally selected by the Queen and remains in use to this day. The Queen is shown wearing George IV’s Diamond Diadem, commissioned in 1820 for use at his coronation. Customarily worn at the State Opening of Parliament, the Queen wore it on the journey to her coronation in 1953.

 

Queen Victoria planting a tree, from the London Illustrated News, 1890
Queen Victoria planting a tree, from the London Illustrated News, 1890

The Queen’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, was entertained by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (the builder of Waddesdon) in May 1890, and during her visit had lunch (which ran to six courses!), was presented with a decorative fan, and planted a commemorative tree. Evidently honoured by the visit, Ferdinand employed an artist to record the latter event while concealed in a nearby bush (see illustration). The Queen was reportedly fascinated by Ferdinand’s newly installed electric lighting, which she asked to be repeatedly switched on and off. Until 2015, Victoria was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch (63 years), when she was surpassed by the present Queen.

Further details about Queen Victoria’s visit can be found here: When Queen Victoria came to Waddesdon – Waddesdon Manor

 

Max Beerbohm, The Prince of Wales falling down the West Staircase at Waddesdon, 1898, (acc. 344.1997.1)
Max Beerbohm, The Prince of Wales falling down the West Staircase at Waddesdon, 1898

Queen Victoria’s son, the future Edward VII, was a frequent guest at Waddesdon, attending numerous house parties, and developed a close relationship with Ferdinand. In 1898, his visit made headlines when he slipped on the west stairs and broke his knee. Rumours circulated in the press that he had been chasing a chambermaid. To add insult to injury, the sedan chair carrying the injured Prince broke on his return journey to the train station. When Ferdinand died unexpectedly a few months later, the Prince remarked that ‘I had the sincerest friendship for him’.

 

Carlo Giuliano (b.1831, d.1895), bracelet, 1891, (acc. 691)
Carlo Giuliano (b.1831, d.1895), bracelet, 1891

Alice de Rothschild, Ferdinand’s sister and heir, entertained Queen Victoria on several occasions and named her villa in the south of France in the Queen’s honour (Villa Victoria, Grasse). Royal gifts currently on display in Waddesdon’s Rothschild Treasury – including a bracelet given by the Queen to Alice following her visit to Grasse, and an amethyst pendant given to her by Queen Alexandra – attest to Alice’s relationships with members of the royal family.

 

W & D Downey, Queen Mary, 1926, (acc. 2697)
W & D Downey, Queen Mary, 1926

Alice de Rothschild left Waddesdon to her great-nephew, James de Rothschild and his wife Dorothy in 1922. Four years later, George V and Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandparents) followed in their forebears’ footsteps and visited Waddesdon. After the occasion, Queen Mary wrote to Dorothy expressing her thanks:

‘The King and I are sending you both our photographs as a souvenir of our delightful day at Waddesdon which was so very enjoyable – We are grateful for your kindness in showing us all your treasures’.

In 1952, at the age of 81, Queen Mary became the first queen to see a grandchild ascend to the throne (although she died before the coronation).

 

Letters in Waddesdon’s archive record correspondence between Dorothy de Rothschild and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (consort of George VI), over several decades. Many refer to the exchange of gifts; Dorothy’s gifts to Elizabeth included bottles of wine from Chateau Lafite Rothschild and a pair of gloves from Paris. The archive also contains Dorothy’s invitation to the Queen Mother’s 80th Birthday celebration and thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in July 1980. The Queen Mother last visited Waddesdon in 1994, shortly after the Centenary restoration.

 

Dan Stevens, HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and Lord Rothschild in the Wine Cellars at Waddesdon, 1995, (acc. 7096)
Dan Stevens, HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and Lord Rothschild in the Wine Cellars at Waddesdon, 1995

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Waddesdon on 31 March 1995, following the completion of the Centenary restoration project. From 1990 to 1994, Waddesdon underwent an extensive interior and exterior refurbishment, which updated the services and created exhibition and entertainment spaces on the first and second floors, and the Wine Cellars. The royal visit was a culmination of this accomplishment.

 

Sèvres porcelain manufactory, commemorative plaque, 1995, (acc. 1058.1995)
Sèvres porcelain manufactory, commemorative plaque, 1995

During her visit, the Queen officially opened Waddesdon’s new Sèvres Rooms, which were created during the Centenary restoration to display three magnificent dinner and dessert services made by the manufactory (the Starhemberg (1766), Razumovsky (1767) and Marie-Antoinette (1781) services). Waddesdon is one of few places in the country where you can see such extensive services on display. Appropriately enough, the commemorative plaque recording the occasion is made from Sèvres porcelain.

 

Dan Stevens, HM The Queen, Lord Rothschild and Baroness Philipine de Rothschild in the Wine Cellars at Waddesdon, 1995, (acc. 7097)
Dan Stevens, HM The Queen, Lord Rothschild and Baroness Philipine de Rothschild in the Wine Cellars at Waddesdon, 1995

The Queen’s tour of the newly created Wine Cellars involved a viewing of the wine collections of Chateau Lafite and Chateau Mouton Rothschild, signing Waddesdon’s Visitors Book and handling Sèvres porcelain.

More information about wine at Waddesdon can be found here: Wine at Waddesdon – Waddesdon Manor

 

Dan Stevens, Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh with Lord, Lady and Beth Rothschild in the gardens at Waddesdon, 1995, (acc. 8293)
Dan Stevens, Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh with Lord, Lady and Beth Rothschild in the gardens at Waddesdon, 1995

Waddesdon has a long tradition of royal visits, many of which have been commemorated with the planting of trees, something which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh did in 1995. Her Majesty planted an Atlas Cedar (cedrus atlantica), a large coniferous evergreen and a member of the pine family, while the Duke planted a giant redwood (sequoiadendron giganteum). This year, as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy – an initiative to plant new trees to benefit future generations, the Waddesdon Estate will be the site of one of the 70 woods planted nationally, and two native oaks (quercus robur) have been planted on the North Front, in conjunction with the Association of Jewish Refugees.

Commemorative spade, 1995, (acc. 1105.1995)
Commemorative spade, 1995

From all at Waddesdon, we hope you enjoy the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.