Celebration – British Royal Wedding Cakes

Previous posts on this blog discussed several of the British Royal Weddings, starting with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 to the most recent wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011 while another post discussed the dresses of each of the British Royal brides.  (For more detailed information about the British Royal Weddings and the British Royal Wedding Dress, please click on the links)

In this post, I will start by discussing several of the British Royal Wedding Cakes made throughout the years starting once again with Queen Victoria’s wedding to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  Then, in closing I will discuss the history of wedding cakes including the meanings the various traditions and customs.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

The wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert took place in the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace on February 10, 1840.  Afterwards, there was a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace were several cakes set out at the wedding breakfast, the main cake was a single layer about three yards in circumference and fourteen inches in height, it was noted to weigh approximately 300 pounds.  The cake was covered in white icing and decorated with several figurines and other floral embellishments.  The cake top was almost a foot in height and featured a Britannia figurine and another figurine representing Queen Victoria on the right with a pair of turtle doves at her feet, while on the left was a figurine representing Prince Albert with a dog at his feet.  A cupid figurine appears to be writing the date of marriage into a book and there a several additional cupids bearing the emblems of the United Kingdom.  A photo of the cake is shown below.

Queen Victoria wedding cake

Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra of Denmark

Prince Edward (later King Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra were married at St. George Chapel in Windsor Castle on March 10, 1863.  A wedding breakfast for five hundred guests was held afterwards to honor the bridal couple. Like his mother before him, several wedding cakes were made for the reception with the main wedding cake shown in the photo below.  The cake was described as follows: “it was a three-tiered cake with white icing, at the base were rose, thistle and shamrock festoons intertwined with with the British and Denmark coat of arms.  On the tiers were reflectors and figures of cupids with harps and near the top of the cake were two sating flags painted with the images of the Prince and Princess.  At the very top were a Prince coronet with three ostrich feathers”, the symbol of the Prince of Wales.  

Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra wedding cakePrince George and Princess May of Teck

Prince George (later King George V) and Princess May (later Queen Mary) were married at the Chapel Royal in St. James Palace on July 6, 1893, followed by a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace.  The main wedding cake measured almost seven feet high and it took over five weeks to make with almost forty separate pieces of plaster used to create the figure molds; it is shown on the photo on the left.  The photo on the right shows the “second cake” which was smaller, measured four and a half feet tall and weighed almost 225 pounds.  The cake is decorated with symbols reflecting Prince George’s naval career.

 Prince George and Princess May wedding cake 1  Prince George and Princess May wedding cake 2

Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Prince Albert (later King George VI) and Lady Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) were married at Westminster Abbey on April 26, 1923, a wedding breakfast followed at Buckingham Palace.  There were fourteen wedding cakes and the main cake was ten feet tall and weighed 300 pounds.  The cake had nine tiers, the first tier featured Windsor Castle and St. George Chapel.  On the second tier featured Glamis Castle (the ancestral home of Lady Elizabeth) and on the third tier were Masonic emblems (both Prince George and the Earl of Strathmore, the father of the bride were both masons)  

Prince George and Lady Elizabeth wedding cake 2

Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten 

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Lieutenant Phillip Mountbatten (later the Duke of Edinburgh) were married on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey.  As with most royal weddings, there were several wedding cakes.  The main cake was a four tier cake was nine feet high and weighed 500 pounds, it is shown in the photo below.  The cake was elaborately decorated with Tudor roses, charming cupid figures, lavish columns and royal insignias.  At the wedding breakfast the wedding cake was cut the Duke of Edinburgh’s military sword.    

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip wedding cake

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer   

Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  For the wedding breakfast held at Buckingham Palace there were an amazing 27 wedding cakes.  The main cake was five tiered and stood five feet high was styled simply with only a few embellishments and took fourteen weeks to create.  The cake was decorated with white royal icing and featured the Windsor coat of arms made in marzipan; also the couple’s initials were used to adorn the cake.  The cake was topped with fresh flowers including roses, lilies of the valley and orchids. 

Prince-Charles-Diana-Wedding-Cake

Prince William and Catherine (Kate) Middleton

Prince William and Catherine Middleton, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were married on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey.   In following the royal tradition, a wedding breakfast was held after the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.  Fiona Cairns decorated the traditional fruit cake was covered with white fondant and the customary piping and scrollwork; she also incorporated many historical and symbolic decorations.  There were the traditional gum paste flowers including the rose for England, the thistle for Scotland, daffodils for Wales and shamrocks for Ireland.  As a special touch the Sweet William flowers, symbolizing gallantry, were also used to honor the groom. 

The eight tiered wedding cake made by Fi
A small section of the eight tiered wedd  A small section of the eight tiered wedd

Barry Colenso, a master chocolatier, worked with the McVitte Cake Company to create a special cake as requested by the groom.  The actual recipe came from Buckingham Palace and it was based on a classic Tiffin cake which was Prince William’s favorite as a child.  Extra decorations were added in the form of white chocolate flowers, each was was created by hand and took over 6 hours to make.

A brief history of wedding cakes

Some historians trace the tradition of a wedding cake back to ancient Rome.  The custom started with the simple act of breaking bread in half over the head of the bride to bring good luck to the married couple, this symbolized the “breaking of the bride’s virginal state and the subsequent dominance of the groom over her!

In Medieval England at the wedding celebration cakes were stacked high and the bride and groom would try to kiss over the tower of pastries, if the couple could manage to kiss it was determined that they would have a happy and prosperous life together.  Special Note: In some European countries today a croquemouche dessert is made from several stacked profiteroles (cream puff pastries), often decorated with spun sugar, which is frequently served at weddings, baptisms or first communions.

In the 17th century the custom was to have two cakes, one known as the bride’s cake and the other the groom’s cake.  The bride’s cake traditionally was a pound cake with white icing to symbolize virginity and purity.  The groom’s cake was usually a smaller, dark and rich fruit cake which symbolized fertility.  By, the 19th century the custom of two cakes died out and a larger multi-tiered elaborately decorated cake took center stage at the wedding celebration, in the southern states of the United States the groom’s cake is still a tradition.

By the 19th century, the wedding cake for a royal or an aristocratic celebration was a lighter cake made with refined white sugar.  Sugar was very expensive to be used in general baking and by making the wedding cake in this way a family could show their wealth and social status.  In Victorian times, wedding cakes were generally single-layered.  Then a three tiered cake debuted at the Great Exhibition of Crystal Palace Exhibition in London, the first tier was made of cake while the other two tiers were made entirely of sugar.  This multi-tiered cake became popular for wedding cakes, dowels were used to separate the layers and the decorations became even more elaborate.

One of the most popular traditions at a wedding celebration is the cutting of the cake.  Originally the cake would be cut and the bride would distribute the slices to the guests.  As wedding receptions grew in size through the years, the bride and groom would cut the cake, sharing the first slice between each other symbolizing their union and the ability to provide for each other in their future life together.

Two other charming traditions are associated with wedding cake.  The first is the cake pull custom which dates back to the Victorian era.  Silver charms attached to silk ribbons were placed inside the cake.  During the wedding reception the bridesmaids would pull the ribbons/charms from the cake, each charm would have a different meaning.  Today, the cake pull is still a popular tradition in the southern states.

The second (dare I say sweet!) tradition involves a slice of the wedding cake.  Superstitiously in the past many bridesmaids cut a small piece of wedding cake, pass it through a bride’s wedding ring for luck and then it would be wrapped and placed under their pillow in the hopes that they would “dream about their future husband”.  Later this custom evolved into slices of wedding cake specially packaged individually for guests to take home after the wedding to eat later or maybe perhaps to be tucked under their pillows!  Shown in the photo below is a slice from the wedding cake of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Prince William and Kate boxed wedding cake

Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr.

Indiana Jones

On this date “Indiana Jones – The Raiders of the Lost Ark” premiered on June 1, 1981.  So, in this post I will discuss Indiana Jones and the inspiration behind the iconic movie character.  Then, I will discuss the various elements of the Indiana Jones story and important pieces of his costume; such as his leather jacket, fedora and the whip.  Finally, I will end with a brief synopsis of the each of the four Indiana Jones movies.

George Lucas, the American film director, producer and screenwriter of the successful “Star Wars” movie franchise is also responsible for creating the character of Indiana Jones.  It was while vacationing in Hawaii with his friend and fellow filmmaker Steven Spielberg at the time of the release of the first Star Wars movie that they discussed possible ideas for their next film.  They both fondly remembered from their childhood the old short-film serials and popular books about action/adventure heroes … and the character of Indiana Jones was created!   

According to the fictional backstory, the character of Henry Jones, Jr. (also known as Indiana Jones or “Indy”) was born in 1899 to Anna and Henry Jones, Sr.  His mother came from a wealthy family in Virginia and his father originally came from Scotland and went to Oxford University in England.  After his parent’s marriage in 1898 the family eventually moved to New Jersey where his father was a professor of Medieval Studies at Princeton University, he has an interest, his wife would say an obsession, with the Holy Grail.  Professor Jones, Sr. took his family with him on his lecture tour through various parts of the United States and Europe.  Along the way Henry Jr. had many adventures in which he met several famous people and witnessed numerous historical events.  These stories are told in the television series, “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”, which I would highly recommend seeing if you can find a copy of the DVDs.  (Trivia: The origin of Henry Jr’s nickname came from the family dog that was named Indiana, and eventually Junior took the name for himself much to the annoyance of Henry, Sr.  The ultimate fate of the dog is unknown!)

Adventures of Young Indiana Jones

Sadly, Indy’s mother died of scarlet fever in 1912 when Indy was only 13 years old.  Afterwards, his distraught father spent most of his time working or indulging in his quest for the Holy Grail.  Meanwhile, Indy was finding interests of his own and when he came across the Cross of Coronado during a Boy Scout expedition in Utah he became fascinated with archaeology.  Later, Indy would go to the University of Chicago and then would spend his summers with his former teacher and mentor, Abner Ravenwood, overseas working at numerous archaeology digs.  Later Indy became a professor at Marshall College (a fictional educational institution somewhere in Connecticut) teaching archaeology and occasionally he would consult with Marcus Brody and frequently donated his “found” treasures to Brody’s museum.  It is at this time in his life that we meet Indy in the first movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.  (Later in the post there will be a brief synopsis of each of the movies)

It seems that the character of Indiana Jones lives in two very different worlds.  The first was centered on a campus where he wears the conservative tweed suit of a college professor, even wearing a pair of glasses to add to his scholarly look.  Indy would teach classes filled with adoring female students and he would give lectures on ancient civilizations as part of his archaeology courses.

Professor Henry Jones Jr  Indiana Jones 1a

On breaks from his life as a college professor, Indy would travel to distant places in South America, the Middle East or Europe where he would search of various historical treasures.  At these times Indy would dress in an entirely different way more suitable to the site of the archaeology digs.  He wore a khaki shirt with two large pockets on the front and brown wool and twill pants (made by the film costume department and inspired by a pair of World War II Army officer trousers known as “Pinks”)   Indy wore sturdy Alden boots (a personal preference of Harrison Ford) and he also carried a satchel similar to a Mark VII gas mask bag used by the British during World War II.

Indiana Jones costume

Indy’s weapons of choice were a pistol (the type varied for each film) which he would secure at his side in a military-style leather flap holster.  Indy also carried a bullwhip which he would attach to his belt, he was quite the expert at using it!  (Trivia: In the famous marketplace scene in “Raider of the Lost Ark” when Indy shoots the swordsman during a confrontation Ford completely improvised the action.  The story line originally had Indy disarming the swordsman with his whip but Ford thought that was not realistic and choose to improvised the action instead by using his pistol!)

The bullwhip used in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was actually owned by the film’s stunt coordinator, Glenn Randall.  For the other three Indiana Jones films the bullwhips were made by David Morgan.  Morgan was known as the best whip maker in the United States and the ones he made for Indy were made from kangaroo hide and ranged in length from 8 to 10 feet depending on the scenes stunts. (Trivia: Cleverly Harrison Ford’s real life scar chin was incorporated into the story of Indiana Jones.  During the opening scenes of the “Last Crusade” a young Indy misuses a whip to protect himself from a lion while being chased through a circus train and the mishap causes the scar)

Perhaps the most iconic items of Indy’s clothing were the leather jacket and his fedora.  The first item was a leather jacket which was inspired by the American fighter pilots of the 1930s.  The Wested Leather Co. of London made the original “Raiders of the Lost Ark” lambskin jacket; later the movie costume department “distressed” the jacket to give it an aged appearance.  Several additional jackets were used for the three other Indiana Jones films and they were made of more durable cowskin.

The second iconic item was Indiana Jones’ fedora, for the first three films the hats were made by Herbert Johnson Hatters of England and for the fourth film the hat was made by the Adventurbilt Hat Company of Columbus, Mississippi.  The Indiana Jones fedora features a board brimmed brown hat of the 1930s which was probably better suited to be worn in an urban setting rather than the site of an archaeological dig.    The original hat featured a pinched front and a tall crown but for the other three films the hat became more tapered and had a shorter crown.  Somehow, through all of Indy’s adventures in the movies whenever his hat is knocked off he always seems to recover! 

Smithsonian Indiana Jones display

(Trivia: The fedora and leather jacket from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” are on display at the Smithsonian Institution‘s American History Museum in Washington, D.C.)

Harrison Ford has portrayed Indiana Jones in all four of the movies; the 1981 “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”, the 1984 “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, the 1989 “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and almost twenty years later in the 2008 “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.  (Trivia: Ford was not George Lucas’ first choice to play Indy, he had already cast him as Han Solo in Star Wars and felt he was too strongly identified with that role.  Tom Selleck, better known at the time for his television role as “Magnum P.I.”, was considered for the part but because of scheduling conflicts he was unable to do the movie.)

A brief synopsis of the Indiana Jones films

Raiders of the Lost Ark poster 1

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark –

Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in 1981, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, John Rhys-Davies as Salljah, Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody and Paul Reeman as Dr. Rene Belloq. 

The story takes place in 1936 and begins in the jungle of Peru where Indiana Jones is in the search of archaeological treasures and encounters his rival named Rene Belloq.  Later, Indy returns to his job as professor at Marshall College which is located near the museum of his friend, Dr. Marcus Brody.  Shortly after arriving back in the United States Indy is visited by Army intelligence agents who request his help against the German Nazis who are searching for an item owned by Abner Ravenwood, Indy’s former mentor, which would help them in recovering the mysterious Ark of the Covenant.  His friend, Dr. Marcus Brody, who is the curator the local museum, encourages Indy to take up the challenge.  With the aid of Marion Ravenwood and Salljah they follow the clues and eventually find the Ark only to lose it to the Nazis who are led by Belloq.  The Ark is finally recovered and at the end of the movie we see it being moved into a large warehouse to be stored indefinitely by the U.S. government.

Temple of Doom poster

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom –

The Temple of Doom was released in 1984, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Kate Capshaw as “Willie” Scott, Jonathan Ke Quan as “Short Round” and Amrish Puri as Mola Ram.

The story takes place in 1935 and begins with Indiana Jones narrowly escaping from a Shanghai nightclub with a young Chinese boy named “Short Round” and the club feisty singer named “Willie” Scott.  Through several mishaps they land in a remote part of India near a village where the children have mysteriously gone missing.  Eventually this leads the trio to a hidden temple where they find that the children have been stolen by the evil Mola Ram to work in the mine.  Indy becomes involved in trying to recover the sacred Sankara Stones and, in the end, he finds them and also sets the children free to return to their village. (Trivia:  It has been said that the reason for the dark and sinister plotline of “Temple of Doom” was prompted by the fact that George Lucas was in the process of getting divorced)   

Last Crusade poster

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade –

The Last Crusade was released in 1989, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Sean Connery as Henry Jones Sr, Alison Doody as Elsa Schneider, a brief appearance by River Phoenix as the young Indiana and two returning characters with Denholm Elliott as Maracus Brody and John Rhys-Davies as Sallah

The movie begins in 1912 with a young Indian Jones who is on a Boy Scout expedition in Utah and literally stumbles onto a group attempting to steal some ancient treasures.  Indy thinking that the Cross of Coronado belongs in a museum steals the treasure and as a result is chased by the men.  It is this part of the story that explains many of the elements of Indy’s character because as he is being chased he tries to escape on a passing circus train where he lands in a crate of snakes (prompting his fear of snakes), then in the car holding the lions Indy uses a bullwhip to protect himself (by incorrectly using the whip, it causes a cut on his chin which explains his scar) and finally as the men catch up to him and recover the ancient relic, the leader of the group rewards Indy’s bravery by giving him his hat (which becomes the iconic Indiana Jones fedora).  We also learn to offer things about Indy, first that his malamute dog is named Indiana (the real origin of his nickname) and secondly the Cross of Coronado sparks his interest in finding other lost treasures and an eventually career in archaeology.

Then, the movie moves forward in time to 1938 as an adult Indy finally recovers the Cross of Coronado in his quest to have the ancient relic put into a museum.  As Indy returns home, the Coronado’s Cross in given to the museum where his friend Marcus Brody is a curator.  Later, Indy finds out that his long estranged father, Henry Jones Sr., has vanished during his search for the Holy Grail.  Strangely, a package from Indy’s father arrives in the mail, it is Henry the notebook which contains the glue he has gathered in his search for the Grail.  Indy and Brody leave for Venice to search for Indy’s father and to meet Elsa Schneider who was assisting him at the time of his disappearance.  Ultimately, Indy finds his father who is being held by the Nazis in a castle on the border of Austria and Germany.  As, it turns out Elsa was working with the Nazis and steals the Grail notebook that Indy’s father had sent to him for safe keeping.  With a brief detour to Berlin and a face to face meeting with Adolf Hitler, Indy recovers the notebook.  After gaining additional clues with the aid of his old friend, Sallah, it leads them to the hidden temple where the Nazis catch up to them.  In the end, the Holy Grail is found, the Nazis are killed as the temple collapses, Indy, his father and friends barely escape and the movie ends with them riding off into the sunset!    

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull poster

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull –

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released in 2008, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Karen Allen returns in her role as Marion Ravenwood, Kate Blanchett plays a Soviet agent named Irina Spalko, John Hurt as Harold “Ox” Oxley and Shia LeBeouf plays Mutt Williams who is revealed during the movie to be the son of Indy and Marion, also known as Henry Jones III.  

The movie is set in 1957 and begins in a secret location in the Nevada dessert.  Soviet agents led by Irina Spalko are accompanied by Indiana Jones as they break into a U.S. Government warehouse (could it possibly be the same facility where they stored the Ark of the Covenant over 20 years earlier?) to find an alien corpse with a mysterious crystal skull.  The Soviets are unsuccessful and Indy escapes only to get caught in the middle of an atomic bomb test, he survives the nuclear blast by climbing into a lead-lined refrigerator and is rescued by the FBI who suspect that he is working with the Soviets.

Indy returns to Marshall College but is forced to take a leave of absence until he can be cleared of any involvement with the Soviets.  At this time, it is revealed that both Indy’s father, Henry Jones Sr., and also Indy’s friend, Marcus Brody, have died.  Then, a young man named Mutt Williams finds Indy and tells him that he knows a man, Harold Oxley, that has found another crystal skull in the jungles of Peru but he has recently suffered a mental breakdown and disappeared so he is asking Indy’s help in finding him.  When Indy and Mutt arrive in South America it was Marion Ravenwood, Indy’s former love, that has sent for him but that the only surprising thing.  In a unexpected twist of the story we learn that Mutt is actually the son of both Marion and Indy!  As the story progresses, they eventually find “Ox” who is being held by Irina and the Soviets that are still searching for the crystal skull.  As the story comes to a dramatic conclusion the legend of the crystal skull and the connections to aliens is finally revealed.  The movie comes to a happy end when Indy and Marion are married … and they live happily ever after!!

But wait, the story of Indiana Jones is not over!  Throughout the years, rumors of another Indiana Jones movie have been speculated and in March 2016 it was officially announced that there will be a fifth Indiana Jones movie which is currently in development with a possible release date of July 2019.

Travel – The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

In honor of John F. Kennedy’s birthday (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963) this travel post is about the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum located in Boston, Massachusetts.  JFK, the son of Joseph Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, was born at his parent’s home on 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts which is located about 10 miles from the JFK Presidential Library.   (Travel Note: I would suggest a visit to the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site either before or after a visit to the JFK Presidential Library.  A small museum and visitor tours of JFK’s birthplace and childhood home are offered, for more tourist information regarding hours, etc. please click on the link to www.nps.gov/jofi)

JFK Presidential Library and Museum

The history of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Customarily as a sitting President nears the end of their term in office they would look for the site location of their future presidential library.  In the case of President Kennedy, he took a trip to Boston, Massachusetts in October 1963 to view several potential sites for his future presidential library.  Kennedy initially selected a site located overlooking the Charles River located near Harvard University.  (Special Note:  The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum located in Hyde Park, New York opened in June 1941 was the first official presidential library.  Years later, Congress would pass the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955 which regulated the process and procedures to create and maintain future libraries to preserve the papers of the Presidents of the United States which would be built by private funding and then administrated by the National Archives.  For more information on the Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, please clink on the link)

After the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963, a special committee was formed to help select an architect but the final decision was to be made by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, the president’s young widow.  Soon, donations were submitted from around the world and a traveling exhibit of JFK items was organized and sent on a nationwide tour in 1964 with the intention to promote and raise additional funds for the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.  The exhibit would include items such as: the Resolute desk used by President Kennedy in the Oval Office at the White House, Kennedy’s special rocking chair and the famous PT-109 coconut paperweight.  Look for more information on these historical items later in this post.  (Personal Note: As a young child I remember my parents taking us to see the exhibit in Los Angeles. Shown below on the left is a photo of the traveling exhibit brochure which I currently have in my Presidential memorabilia collection.  On the right is a photo of the PT-109 coconut paperweight which is currently on display in the JFK Library)

JFK traveling exhibit brochure

Eventually the architect I.M. Pei was personally chosen by Mrs. Kennedy in December 1964 to design the building for the JFK Presidential Library.  The original design was to incorporate not only the Library and also an additional building for the JFK School of Government.  The good news was that the initial goal of $10 million dollars building fund had easily been reached and by 1965 contributions topped the $20 million dollar mark.  The bad news was that the original site selection on the Charles River near Harvard was meeting with local opposition and there was additional delay in clearing the land.  Then, sadly in JFK’s brother, Senator Robert Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968, he also acted as president of the JFK Library Corporation.  Of course Jackie Kennedy was distraught about the situation of another tragedy in the family and by the early 1970s construction had still not begun.  Finally, by early 1975 plans for the Library at the original site were stopped.

Eventually, a new location found at an area in Boston called Columbia Point overlooking Dorchester Bay.  With no public opposition for this site, the official groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 12, 1977 which was attended by Jackie Kennedy (now Mrs. Onassis), her two children Caroline and John, Jr., the mother of JFK Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and the brother of the former President Senator Edward Kennedy.  The original architect, Pei, submitted a design for a simple geometric-styled building with a large glass pavilion.  Expenses were kept at a minimum using concrete instead the preferred stone and falling within the allotted budget and costing $20.8 million.

JFK Presidential Library  - ground breaking

The JFK Library and Museum was completed and an official dedication ceremony was held on October 20, 1979 and those in attendance included Mrs. Onassis (her second husband had died in 1975), her children Caroline and John, Jr. and other members of the Kennedy family and also President Jimmy Carter who graciously accepted the library on behalf of the National Archives for use by the American public.

JFK Presidential Library  - opening and dedication

A tour of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

It is advised that a visit to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum should start with the introductory film which plays in the theatre located on the first floor.  The film is uniquely narrated by President Kennedy himself and he discusses his childhood and political career ending with his 1960 presidential nomination.  Another film is also shown about the Cuban Missile Crisis which occurred during 13 tense days from October 16 to 18, 1962 during a time when the United States and the Soviet Union stood on the brink of war.

The first floor features seven permanent exhibits:

  • Campaign Trail – This exhibit concentrate of the 1960 presidential campaign and election which features displays of campaign memorabilia and items from the  Democratic National Convention which took place July 11 to 15, 1960 in Los Angeles, California.  There is a replica of an average Kennedy campaign office and visitors can hear the campaign song “High Hopes” as sung by Frank Sinatra and also listen to Kennedy’s acceptance speech from the convention.

JFK Presidential Library  - election campaign office recreation JFK Presidential Library  - presidential campaign hat

  • The Briefing Room – During the Kennedy administration televised press conferences were broadcast live.  Television had become a major factor in projecting the image of the young President and with the use this relatively new technology he was able to successfully promote his administration’s political agenda. This exhibit features several examples of Kennedy’s speeches.
  • The Space Race – On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy gave a speech to Congress stating that “before this decade is out … landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth”  With this challenge the Space Race had begun and featured in this exhibit are items relating to the U.S. space program, specifically the NASA Project Mercury.  One display shows an astronaut’s spacesuit and another showcases the Freedom 7 space capsule which was used when Alan Shepard became the first American in space.  (Special Note: The capsule came to the JFK Library in 2012 and is expected to be returned to the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. in 2016)  Sadly, Kennedy did not live to see his goal fulfilled and it wasn’t until several years after his death that Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Space Race exhibit - astronaut spacesuit Space Race exhibit - Freedom 7 
 

  • Attorney General’s Office – Attorney General during the Kennedy Administration was Robert F. Kennedy, the brother of the President.  This exhibit features information about the work of RFK in regards to fighting organized crime and aiding the progress of the American civil rights movement.  One display shows items used by RFK in his office at the Department of Justice.
  • The Oval Office – One of the most popular exhibits in the JFK Library is the Oval Office exhibit.  The most prominent item displayed is a reproduction of the famous Resolute desk, an exact copy of the desk used by President Kennedy in the White House.  (Special Note: The original desk was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Hayes given in 1879; it was made from the timbers of the British ship the HMS Resolute)  The Resolute desk was used by many U.S. Presidents; most recently it is in use in President Obama’s Oval Office at the White House.  An additional item of interest on permanent display in the exhibit is the specially made rocking used by President Kennedy in the Oval Office.  Kennedy suffered from chronic back problems and his doctor suggested the use of a rocking chair, he enjoyed the rocker so much that he took the chair with him on Air Force One as he traveled in the United States and abroad on International State Visits.  He commissioned additional rocker for Camp David and his personal home in Hyannis Port on the Kennedy estate.  (Shown the photo below are both the Resolute desk and the Kennedy rocking chair)

JFK Presidential Library  - Oval Office

  • First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy – This exhibit in the JFK Library centers on the life of the First Lady and features several items and other artifacts belonging to her.  The main item of interest in this exhibit is the wedding dress worn by Jacqueline Bouvier on the occasion of her marriage to John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1953.  Also on display are several of the dresses worn by Mrs. Kennedy when she was the First Lady during the years of January 1961 to November 1963  (For more information about the Kennedy wedding, please click on the link.  Also for information about Mrs. Kennedy and her White House dresses, please click on the link.)

JFK Presidential Library  - wedding dress worn by Jackie Kennedy

JFK Presidential Library  - dress worn by Jackie Kennedy - Paris 1961  JFK Presidential Library  - dress worn by Jackie Kennedy for the White House television tour

  • The Kennedy Family – This exhibit showcases the famous Kennedy family and features photographs and several items belonging to members of the family.

JFK Presidential Library - Kennedy family exhibit 1

One of the most poignant areas of the JFK Library is the simple room near the end of the tour.  The room is painted entirely in black with the date, November 22, 1963, printed on the wall.  Unlike the other rooms in the library there are no display cases or memorabilia to view.  Instead there are several television screens mounted on the wall that show the television coverage and the famous broadcast of Walter Cronkite reporting to the nation that the President had died.  (I’m sure that this will bring back a flood of memories for people who lived through those tragic days back in 1963.  It is one of those moments in history that people will remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news)

JFK Presidential Library  - November 22, 1963

Additional Artifacts of the John F. Kennedy Library

The famous PT-109 coconut paperweight – When Lieutenant Kennedy was serving in World War II as a commander for PT109, the boat was hit by a Japanese destroyer leaving Kennedy and his crew were stranded in the Solomon Islands.  Kennedy carved a message into a coconut shell with a message stating their exact location and it was given to local natives to deliver the PT base resulting in the rescue of Kennedy and his crew.  Later it was encased in wood and plastic as a special war time souvenir, President Kennedy used it as a paperweight on his deck in the White House Oval Office.  In addition to the coconut paperweight, on display in the JFK Library is flag from the PT-109.  Both items are shown below

JFK Presidential Library  - PT-109 coconut  JFK Presidential Library  - PT-109 flag

The “Victura” sailboat – Located outside the JFK Library and on display from May to October every year is the 25-foot Wianno senior sailboat.  The “Victura” sailboat was acquired by the Kennedy family when JFK was 15 years old.  The Kennedy children enjoyed many hours sailing in the waters off of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts near the Kennedy compound.  After the death of President Kennedy in 1963, other members of the family continued to use the sailboat until it was donated to the JFK Presidential Library.

 

Victura sailboatFor more information regarding the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library hours of operation and prices, etc, please click on the link to their website at  www.jfklibrary.org.


Travel – Disneyland’s It’s a Small World

It's a Small World poster

This post is in honor of the 50th anniversary of the world famous “It’s a Small World” attraction which opened in Disneyland on May 28, 1966.  It’s a Small World is considered a classic Disney dark ride which means that it is an amusement park ride contained inside a building.  The whimsical attraction features hundreds of animatronic children dressed in their national costumes and singing a memorable song in their native languages.  So, in this post I will discuss the history of the “It’s a Small World” attraction including the construction of the ride and the many refurbishments throughout the years and finally I will end with some fun and interesting trivia about the ride.

The history of the “It’s a Small World” attraction

The It’s A Small World attraction was originally created for the UNICEF pavilion sponsored by Pepsi at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  The basic concept of the ride was intended to promote peace and unity as interpreted by the children of the world.  The basic design was created by WED, a division of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.  The attraction was actually one of five created WED for the Fair; the other four attractions were the Skyway ride sponsored for the Ford Motor Company, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln built for the Illinois pavilion, the Carousel of Progress sponsored by General Electric, and CircleVision sponsored by Kodak. 

It's a Small World model with Walt Disney

Disneyland had opened in 1955 and Walt Disney was always looking for ways to improve his amusement park and he is famously quoted as saying, “Disneyland will never be completed and it will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world”.  So, by working on these various sponsored attractions for the World’s Fair, Disney was able to develop new ride systems which would eventually be used in Disneyland.  The boats for the It’s A Small World ride were built at the Disney Studios and the vehicle propulsion and guidance systems were designed by the Arrow Development Company.  The ride system developed for It’s a Small World would also solve the problem of moving the large crowds anticipated for the World Fair through the ride in a timely manner.  (Special Note: This same ride system was used again for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in the New Orleans Square area of Disneyland)

Arrow Developement Company boat patent  Arrow Developement Company boat test track

Prior to the New York’s World Fair, Disney had developed the technology of audio- animatronics which was first used for the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction that opened at Disneyland in 1963.  (Audio-animatronics is the term used for robots that move in sync to pre-recorded soundtracks, thus giving the illusion that the figures are brought to life)  Several of the attractions that the Disney Imagineers were creating for the World Fair would also use audio-animatronic figures; such as the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress attractions and of course the It’s a Small World ride.  After the conclusion of the New York World’s Fair in 1965, all the attractions were disassembled and moved to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  (Special Note:  Walt Disney died in 1966 and the four attractions created for the World Fair were some of the last projects that Disney was directly involved in from concept to ride completion.  However, the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was officially the last one that Disney was involved in and the attraction opened in 1967 three months after his death)

Disney with Mary Blair

Alice Davis concept art for Its a Small World costumes 1  Alice Davis concept art for Its a Small World costumes 2

The original It’s a Small World ride for the World Fair featured several hundred audio-animatronic children designed by Mary Blair (the Disney art director for animated classics films including Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan) and sculpted by Blaine Gibson (per the request of Disney, each of the children’s facial features were identical) with the colorful sets designed by Rolly Crump and the children’s costumes designed by Alice Davis (featuring the native dress of each country).  Initially Disney wanted have the children depicted in the various scenes of the ride to sing the national anthems of each country but ultimately he requested one song be used that could easily be translated into many languages. Robert and Richard Sherman, Disney staff songwriters, came up with the iconic “It’s a Small World” song.  (Shown in the first photo is the It’s a Small World ride under construction in Disneyland, the second photo shows Walt Disney with Marc Davis and Mary Blair with her doll)

It's a Small World consturction 1 Disney with Marc Davis and Mary Blair - It's a Small World costumes

After the It’s a Small World attraction moved to Disneyland and the newly refurbished ride re-opened on May 28, 1966 in the Fantasyland section of the park.  The opening ceremony featured a gathering of children representing countries from around the globe.  In preparations for the grand opening ceremony, Disney representatives gathered the waters from the oceans and seas around the world.  Then, during the ceremony the waters were symbolically poured into the ride’s canal creating a grand version of the “waters of the world” flowing through the attraction.  It was a great public relations idea orchestrated by Jack Lindquist who at the time was the advertising manager of Disneyland.

It's a Small World opening day at Disneyland 1

The Disneyland version of the It’s a Small World attraction featured an exterior façade which was inspired by an original drawing of Mary Blair, shown in the photo below.  The large flat façade was painted white with gold and silver trim and depicts the stylized versions of the landmarks of world, such as Paris’ Eifel Tower and Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa.  The area in front of the façade features several fanciful topiary animals that are meticulously maintained by the Disneyland horticultural department.  (Special Note: The exterior of the It’s a Small World attraction has undergone several different color schemes from the original white to one with various shades of blue to another version painted white and pink with pastel colored trim.  In preparations for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary in 2005, the façade returned to the original color scheme)

Mary Blair concept art for It's a Small World It's a Small World exterior 1

In the center of the It’s a Small World attraction façade, Disney had requested a special 30 foot high timepiece which would work like a giant cuckoo clock.  To mark each quarter hour, the side doors would swing open and a parade of wooden dolls dressed in their national costumes would move past the base of the clock.  Then, as the last doll proceeded back into the door on the other side, the large central doors below the swinging face would open to display the time and bells would ring to count the hours and quarter hours.

It's a Small World clock 1  It's a Small World clock 2

After boarding the It’s a Small World boats, guests will slowly travel through the main show building and into several room.  About 400 specially dressed children are wearing their native costumes and singing the ride’s theme song in their native languages.(Shown below are examples of Mary Blair artwork and designs used on the ride)

Mary Blair concept art for It's a Small World 1  Mary Blair concept art for It's a Small World 2

The various countries depicted on the ride currently include:

  • Scandinavia and Canada
  • England, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland
  • Thailand, India, Korea, China and Japan
  • Africa featuring the various animals of the jungle
  • South America featuring Brazil and Mexico
  • South Sea Islands of the Pacific Ocean featuring the animals of the oceans (including a few mermaids) and now including the animals of the rainforests
  • North America
  • The Finale Room features all the children of the world now dressed in all white versions of their native costumes and singing the ride’s theme song in English.

Throughout the years, numerous minor adjustments and a few major changes have been made to the It’s a Small world ride.  In 1997, Disneyland decided for the Christmas season to create the It’s a Small World Holiday version of the ride with an elaborate overlay and the iconic theme song was replaced with holiday songs.  It proved to be so popular with the park guests that every year since then the attraction is closed in late October to assemble the temporary holiday overlay and it reopens in early November just before the start of one of the busiest times in the park, which is the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  The attraction is closed again in January for a few weeks to remove the holiday overlay.    

Small World Holiday 1In 2008, the It’s a Small World attraction was closed for a 10 month period for major refurbishment.  This was a long time for a popular Disneyland attraction to be closed but the ride was in desperate need over some major changes.  The original ride system from the 1964 World Fair was now over 40 years old and despite occasional repairs it was time to upgrade the water canal and boats. The outdated fiberglass boats were replaced with redesigned boats made of durable plastic which was lighter and more buoyant.  The water propulsion system that guided the boats through the ride was replaced by a more modern electric water jet turbines developed for a more efficient and smoother ride.  Prior to the refurbishment the boats would often “bottom out” in the water canal causing the boat to stop.  This happened because at the time the ride was originally built the estimated combined weight of the guests was calculated lower than the current weight of a heavier generation of guests!  So, during the refurbishment the water canal was built deeper to accommodate the increasing weight of the guests!

Small World 2008 refurbishment

The exterior façade was repaired and repainted, a new entrance sign was created and the topiary garden was replanted.  The interior ride sets, the majority of them were from the original World Fair attraction were dismantled, repaired or replaced and then repainted.  (Special Note: During the 2008 refurbishment, the rainforest area previously located in a separate room was incorporated into the South Seas Islands room.  The section of the ride formerly occupied by the rainforest was then used to create the North American room.  Prior to the renovations, the Cowboy and Indian children representing North America appeared near the end of the Finale Room)

As part of the major refurbishment, all the dolls were removed from the ride to be repaired and repainted, the dolls costumes were cleaned, damages were repaired or new copies of the costumes were made.  Also at this time a very controversial decision was made to incorporate additional doll characters into the attraction.  In the past, Disneyland had successfully added Disney movie characters into other attractions without too much public outcry.  In 2006 the Captain Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones characters from the popular Disney “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series were added to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland.  Then, in 2007 the classic Submarine Voyage ride in Tomorrowland which had been closed for almost ten years re-opened as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage featuring characters from the popular Disney-Pixar film, “Finding Nemo”.  But for some reason the public were having a hard time adjusting to the fact that It’s a Small World, one of the most beloved attractions in Disneyland, would be changed.

Undeterred, Disney went ahead with their plans to incorporated the 37 new characters into the It’s a Small World attraction.  The additional characters came from several of the Disney movies, some were from the older classic Disney fairytale movies and others were from more recent Disney films, were added into the appropriate sections of the ride corresponding to the settings of their original stories.  Some of these additional characters are listed below: 

In the England section of the Alice and the White Rabbit from the classic animated film “Alice in Wonderland” were added, shown below in the photo on the left.  Peter Pan and Tinkerbell from another Disney animated film “Peter Pan” can also be seen flying above the England section near the Tower of London, shown in the photo on the right. 

Small World 2009 Alice1  Small World 2009 Peter Pan 1

In the France section of the ride are Cinderella with the friendly mice Jaq and Gus from the classic Disney film “Cinderella” were added, shown below in the photo on the left.  Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket from the animated film “Pinocchio” were added to the Italy section of the ride, shown in the photo on the right.

Small World 2009 Cinderella  Small World 2009 Pinocchio 1

In the China section of the ride guests will see Mulan and Mushu form the Disney animated film “Mulan”, shown below in the photo on the left.  In the section of the ride depicting the Middle East, the characters of Aladdin, Jasmine and Abu from the animated film “Aladdin” can be seen overhead flying on a magic carpet, shown in the photo on the right.

Small World 2009 Mulan 2  Small World 2009 Alladin

In the Africa section, the characters Simba, Pumba and Timon from the “Lion King” movies were added, shown below in the photo on the left.  In the South America section guests will see the characters Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles from the Disney animated short “The Three Caballeros, shown in the photo on the right.

Small World 2009 Lion King 2  Small World 2009 Donald Duck 3 Caballeros 1

In the South Seas section of the ride guests will see the character Ariel and Flounder from the “Little Mermaid”, the characters of Lilo with Stitch from Disney animated film “Lilo and Stich” riding on a surfboard and also added are the characters of Nemo and Dory from the very popular “Finding Nemo” movie.  Finally, some of the last characters to be added to the It’s a Small World ride are in the North America section and they are Woody, Jessie and Bullseye from the “Toy Story 1 & 2” movies.

Small World 2009 Ariel 2  Small World 2009 Nemo 1

Small World 2009 Toy Story 1

The It’s a Small World attraction at Disneyland proved to be so popular with the park guests that as the other Disney Parks were opened around the world other versions based on the original ride were built with slight variations: the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida in 1971, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, Disneyland Paris in 1992 and Hong Kong Disneyland in 2008.

It’s a Small World trivia and fun facts

  • During the development process for the original World’s Fair attraction was tentatively named the “Children of the World” ride.  In the first version of the ride the dolls would sing the national anthems of the various countries, but this sounded too chaotic.  So, Walt Disney brought in the staff song writers Richard and Robert Sherman to compose a song for the ride.  Disney liked the catchy “It’s a Small World” song so much that he changed the name of the ride to It’s a Small World.

Sherman brothers

  • The “It’s a Small World” song was performed and recorded with the various native instruments from around the world, as an example in the Scotland scene bagpipes can be heard and in the South Seas scene Tahitian drums are played.
  • During the hours of an average day at the park the iconic “It’s a Small World” song is played approximately 1,200 times.
  • When the It’s a Small World ride moved from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair to Disneyland, each section of the ride was disassembled and shipped to the park.  Today, some of the shipping stickers dating back to 1965 can still be found on the back of some of the ride’s set pieces.
  • In the Disneyland version of the It’s a Small World attraction in the France section there is a special Mary Blair doll to honor the Disney Imagineer who designed the original ride for the World’s Fair.  A little blonde haired doll wearing glasses can be seen flying from a balloon near the Eiffel Tower.

Mary Blair Doll

  • The whimsical animal topiaries located outside of It’s a Small World are created and maintained by the Disneyland Horticulture Department, it takes approximately five year of growing and trimming before the topiaries are ready to be put on display.

It's a Small World topiaries

  • Through Disneyland guest research it was determined that on the average one in every four guests, especially families with small children or those that grew up riding the attraction, consider a ride on It’s a Small World a park tradition.  (Personal Note: This is definitely true for our family because we always visit the It’s a Small World attraction for a ride in honor of our father, it was one of his favorite rides!)

Queen Mary’s Jewelry Box

Queen Mary - Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Choker

In honor of Queen Mary’s birthday (born: May 26,1867 died: March 24,1953), in this post I will discuss her personal and extensive jewelry collection.  Queen Mary was the consort of King George V and she was known for wearing several of these dazzling pieces of jewelry all at one time.  She would wear several necklaces, brooche, stomachers, bracelets, rings and of course a crown, she often mixing diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and rubies.  Perhaps this fashion style was excessive and it is possible that she had “inherited” it from her mother-in-law, Queen Alexandra, who was always lavishly jeweled and dressed at the expense of King Edward VII.  (Queen Alexandra was a royal trendsetter influencing fashion and for more information on her, please click on the link to Queen Alexandra – A Fashion Icon)

Queen Mary wore items in her jewelry collection for special occasions such as her wedding, coronation and the Delhi Durbar.  I will also single out a few of these noteworthy items such as the Love Trophy Collar, the Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace, the Karputhala Stomacher and finally the Fringe Tiara owned by Queen Mary.

So, let’s open up Queen Mary’s jewelry box …       

Princess May of Teck (later to become Queen Mary) married Prince George (later to become King George V) on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal in St. James Palace in London.  In the photo below she is shown wearing a diamond tiara from Queen Victoria, a diamond rivière necklace which was a gift from her in-laws, Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra.  She also wears diamond earrings and an anchor brooch (which can be seen in the photo of the right) that were both wedding gifts from Prince George.  Her elaborate bridal dress is heavily decorated with garlands of orange blossoms and Prince George wore the full dress naval uniform of a Fleet Captain which seems to be overloaded with medals and special honors.  (For more information about the wedding of Prince George and Princess Mary, click on the click to British Royal Weddings – Part Two.  Also for detailed information about Princess Mary’s bridal dress, please click on the link to British Royal Wedding Dresses – Part One)

 Bride And Groom  Princess Mary - anchor brooch wedding present from Prince George

Upon the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 her son, Prince Edward, ascended to the British throne and his coronation took place on August 9, 1902 at Westminster Abbey in London.  In the photo below Princess Mary is shown dressed for the coronation of her father-in-law, now known as King Edward II.  She is wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara, the Ladies of England tiara (converted into a necklace), a pearl and diamond choker, pearl and diamond earrings, a long sautoir and a few bracelets while on the gown’s bodice she wore a pearl and diamond stomacher, the Kensington bow brooch and the Women of Hampshire brooch.  (For more detailed information on the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara and the Kensington bow brooch, please click on the link to the Queen’s Jewelry collection – Part One)

Princess Mary - coronation of King Edward II

After the death of his father, King Edward II, in May 1910 Prince George ascended to the throne and his coronation took place on June 22, 1911 at Westminster Abbey in London.  As his wife and consort, Princess Mary was also crowned in the solemn ceremony.  Shown below in the photo on the left are King George and Queen Mary dressed in their coronation robes and crowns (King George was the first British monarch to be crowned with the St. Edward’s Crown, for more information click on the link to the Crown Jewels of England – Part One).  Queen Mary’s Crown was specially made for the coronation by Garrard & Co. and featured 2,200 diamonds including the Cullinan III and Cullinan IV.  The crown was constructed so that the eight arches and velvet lining could be removed to be worn as a circlet, as shown in the photo on the right which shows Queen Mary many years later in 1937 at the coronation of her son, King George VI. 

King George and Queen Mary - coronation  Queen Mary - coronation crown worn as circlet

Upon King George V accession to the British throne, preparations were immediately begun for his coronation at Westminster Abbey in London and because he was also the Emperor of India a special celebration known as the Delhi Durbar was planned for December 1911.  Historical Note: Previous Imperial Durbar had taken place in 1877 and 1903 but Queen Victoria and King Edward did not attend those celebrations and sent a royal representative instead.  King George V was the only British sovereign to be present at the Imperial Durbar that crowned him as Emperor of India. 

Delhi Durbar 1

The Delhi Durbar was held from December 12, 1911 at the Coronation Park.  Indian princes and other nobleman and other landed gentry from India attended the celebration.  King George V and Queen Mary wearing their Coronation robes were crowned Emperor and Empress of India in an elaborate ceremony.  Historical Note: The British government had determined that the valuable coronation regalia, including the St. Edward Crown which was part of the Crown Jewels, were not allowed to leave England.  A new Imperial Crown of India was specially made for King-Emperor George to wear to the Delhi Durbar. (For more information about the Imperial Crown of India, please click on the link to the Crown Jewels of England – Part Two)

King George V and Queen Mary - Delhi Dubar portrait

As she always did, Queen Mary was known to wear numerous pieces of jewelry at one time and the Delhi Durbar was no exception.  She wore several necklaces, a set of earrings, stomachers, brooches and bracelets.  Listed below are some of these items:

Delhi Durbar Tiara

Since the crown worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 Coronation was now considered part of the Crown Jewels it was not allowed to leave England.  So, a new tiara was specially made by Garrard & Co. for her to wear at the Delhi Durbar and the tall circlet of platinum and gold featured diamond scrolls topped by ten cabochon Cambridge emeralds.  Queen Mary in shown in the photo below wearing the Delhi Durbar Tiara. 

Queen Mary - Delhi Durbar

In keeping with the royal custom of re-styling and re-purposing jewelry, in 1922 the Cambridge emeralds were permanently removed from the Delhi Durbar Tiara to be used in the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara.  Then in 1923, the Delhi Durbar tiara was further altered so that two additional stones could be temporarily added to the Delhi Durbar Tiara, the stones were cut from the famous Cullinan diamond acquired by England in 1905.  The Cullinan III, a 94.4 carat pear-shaped diamond, and the Cullinan IV, a square-cut 63.6 carat diamond, could be both placed into settings in the center front of the Delhi Durbar Tiara.  Historical Note: The Delhi Durbar Tiara set with the Cullinan diamonds, as shown in the photo below on the left, was only worn by Queen Mary.  Later the Cullinan III and IV diamonds were removed from the tiara permanently and reset to be worn together as brooch.  In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II inherited them and the stones became known together as “Granny’s Chips”.  Most recently Queen Elizabeth II wore the massive brooch for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, as shown in the photo on the right.

Delhi Durbar Tiara with Cullinans III and IV  Queen Elizabeth wearing the Granny Chips

Over forty years later, Queen Mary lent the Delhi Durbar Tiara to her daughter-in-law (now known as Queen Elizabeth since the death of King George V in January 1936 and the ascension of her husband as King George VI), which she first wore on the 1947 South African Royal Tour.  The Delhi Durbar Tiara remained in the possession of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother until her death in 2002 when it was returned to the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II.

Delhi Durbar Tiara

Delhi Durbar Necklace

The Delhi Durbar Necklace worn by Queen Mary in 1911 was made by Garrard & Co. at the request of King George V and presented to Queen Mary on the occasion of her 44th birthday, it was intended for her to wear the necklace at the Delhi Durbar.  The necklace is set in platinum and gold with nine cabochon Cambridge emeralds, six large diamonds, 94 smaller diamonds and the Cullinan VII diamond which is an 8.8 carat marquise-shaped diamond.  The Cullinan VII is suspended from a detachable platinum chain decorated with ten graduated sized diamonds.  A second detachable platinum chain is also attached to the necklace to counterbalance the first chain and features 12 pavé-set diamonds.  Queen Mary is shown in the photo below wearing the Delhi Durbar Necklace.  

Delhi Durbar Tiara with emeralds

In keeping with Queen Mary’s custom of re-styling her jewelry, she would sometimes wear the Delhi Durbar Necklace without the asymmetrical pendant chains and on at least one occasion she replaced the Cullinan VII with a lesser stone.  After Queen Mary’s death in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace and she usually wears it for evening events paired with the Vladimir Tiara.

Delhi Durbar Necklace

Delhi Durbar Earrings

The Delhi Durbar Earrings are part of the Delhi Durbar Parure created by Garrard & Co. and worn by Queen Mary in 1911.  The earrings feature oval-shaped cabochon emeralds each surrounded by 11 diamonds which are set in platinum and gold.  One emerald is from the famous Cambridge collection and the other was acquired by Garrard to match. In 1953, the Delhi Durbar Earrings were inherited by Queen Elizabeth II after the death of Queen Mary. 

Delhi Durbar Necklace - blue background

Typical of Queen Mary fashion style, she wore several pieces of jewelry at one time and shown in the photo below is the Delhi Durbar Stomacher with several additional brooches and pendants attached to create one massive piece of jewelry that Queen Mary wore on the bodice of her dress for the Delhi Durbar in 1911.

Delhi Durbar Stomacher wore with several brooches

Arranged from the top to the bottom are:

Delhi Carved Emerald Brooch – given to Queen Mary by the ladies of India to wear at the Delhi Durbar.  This brooch is set in platinum and gold and features a large hexagon shaped emerald is intricately carved with the images a rose on the front and an unidentified plant on the back and it is surrounded by several diamonds.  In 1953, the Delhi Carved Emerald Brooch was passed to Queen Elizabeth and she only wears in occasionally due to its heavy weight.

Delhi Carved Emerald BroochDelhi Durbar Stomacher – made by Garrard & Co. especially for Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar.  It is set in gold featuring several Cambridge emeralds and smaller diamonds, including some cut from the original massive Cullinan diamond originally acquired by England in 1905.

Cullinan V Heart Brooch – features the 18.8 carat heart-shaped Cullinan V diamond in a beautiful platinum setting with a pave border of smaller diamonds.

Cullinan V Heart Brooch - blue backgroundScroll Cambridge Emerald Brooch – features a square-shaped emerald set in a scrolled diamond setting and a removable emerald pendant.  Special Note:  The removable emerald pendant was worn separately at the Delhi Durbar and can be seen in the first photo as the final piece.
Scroll Cambridge Emerald Brooch - blue background

The next piece of jewelry associated with Queen Mary is the …

Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace

The Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace was inherited by Queen Mary from her mother, Princess Mary Adelaide.  (She was the Duchess of Teck, hence the name of the necklace!)  Queen Mary wore a longer version which had 46 large diamonds and it became one of her most frequently worn necklaces.   Upon the death of Queen Mary, the Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace went to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who wore the necklace at the 1953 coronation of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.  Upon the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace and is today part of her personal jewelry collection.  

In the photo on the left, Queen Mary is shown wearing the longer version of the Duchess of Teck Collet Necklace and in the photo on the right Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother is shown wearing the shorter version. 

Duchess of Teck diamond collet - Queen Mary and the Queen Mother

Love Trophy Collar Necklace

Before discussing the Love Trophy Collar Necklace worn by Queen Mary, let’s take a look back and see how this trend of collar necklaces started.  Back in the Victorian era, Princess Alexandra (the future Queen Alexandra and mother-in-law of Princess Mary, the future Queen Mary) was also very creative in adapting her style of clothing to mask several physical impediments.  She had a scar on her neck and she took to wearing day dresses with high collars and in the evening she wore multiple layers of pearls or diamond necklaces that would cover her neck, these were known as collier de chein meaning collar necklace.  This style of jewelry became very popular with society ladies and a fashion trend was soon started.

So, as a young woman of the Victorian era and later the Edwardian era, Princess Mary followed the fashion trend and often wore collar necklaces.  The Love Trophy Collar Necklace was made by Garrard & Co. in 1901 from diamonds of previous pieces of jewelry owned by Princess Mary’s grandmother and aunt.  The diamonds are arranged vertically with panels linking them together, the center panel features a “love trophy” symbol (hence the name of the necklace) which has a design of a Cupid’s bow with a quiver of arrows surrounded by a laurel wreath.  Queen Mary is shown in the photo the left wearing the Love Trophy Collar Necklace and the photo on the right shows the details of the necklace.  

Queen Mary - Love Trohpy Chocker 1  Queen Mary - Love Trohpy Chocker 2

Soon after the Love Trophy Collar Necklace was made, the fashion of wearing collar necklaces soon fell out of fashion and Queen Mary passed the necklace to her daughter-in-law, Princess Elizabeth (the Duchess of York and later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) who rarely wore the necklace.  Upon her death in 2002, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace and she has never worn it in public.  

Karputhala Stomacher

The Karputhala Stomacher was given to Princess Mary by the Maharajah of Karputhala as a wedding present in 1893.  As previously mentioned, jewelry was often re-designed to extended the use of a piece.  Shown in the photo below on the left is Queen Mary wearing the Karputhala Stomacher and the photo on the right shows the details of the three sections (which could be detached and worn as separate brooches) made of diamonds set in gold and white gold.  Eventually the redesigned Karputhala stomacher was given by Queen Mary to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) as a wedding present in 1947.

Karputhala Stomacher

Queen Mary Fringe Tiara

The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara was made by Garrard & Co. in 1919 from the diamonds of a necklace previously given to her as a wedding present from Queen Victoria.  The tiara had 47 bars of diamonds with smaller diamond spikes.  In 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law Princess Elizabeth the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother). 

Queen Mary - Fringe Tiara

Then, in 1947 the Fringe Tiara was loaned to her daughter Princess Elizabeth for her wedding to Prince Phillip.  On the wedding day the tiara broke but was quickly repaired by the court jeweler.   In the photo below of Princess Elizabeth, the tiara can be seen looking a little off-center.

Queen Mary Fringe Tiara 2

The Queen Mother also lent the tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Anne, to wear on her wedding day in 1973.  The Queen Mother wore the tiara frequently over the years and when she died in 2002 the tiara was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II who also wears it often.

Queen Mary Fringe Tiara

In past posts, I’ve discussed in detail the Crown Jewels of England, the Personal Jewelry Collection of Queen Elizabeth II and the Cambridge Emeralds.  Other posts regarding famous pieces of jewelry included the Russian Imperial Jewels and the Jewelry Collection of Elizabeth Taylor. (For more information on any of these posts just click on the links)