Decor – British Royal Memorabilia


Dating back over 40 years ago my interest in the British monarchy started when I read a series of books by the historical romance novelist Jean Plaidy on the life of Queen Victoria.  Throughout the following years I have read other biographies about King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII (who renounced the throne for the “woman he loved”, Wallis Simpson), King George VI and finally Queen Elizabeth II.  Of course, along with the millions of other people, back in July 1981 I woke up before dawn to watch the television coverage of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer and then again in April 2011 for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Serious collectors of royal memorabilia divided the items into two distinct categories – commemorative and personal.  Commemorative items are made on the occasion of royal coronations, weddings or births and can include stamps and coins, medals and medallions, china plates and mugs, tea towels and handkerchiefs, dolls and figurines, books and other printed material.  Personal royal memorabilia is defined as items that were previously owned by a member of the royal family such as clothing, jewelry, or perhaps a cigarette case.  Another personal item could be a painting or drawing done by a royal.  Royal memorabilia can be found in antique stores or on the internet through sites such as e-bay.

In this post I will discuss the many different categories of items in my personal royal memorabilia collection which I have accumulated over the years.  These items include coronation and jubilee medals, commemorative stamps and coins and a small collection of Wedgwood plates created to honor the royal weddings and finally numerous books and biographies about various members of the royal family.

Coronation and Jubilee medals

  • Queen Victoria jubilee and memorial medals – These are the two oldest medals in my Royal memorabilia collection.  The first is a Diamond Jubilee medal which dates back to 1897 on the occasion of the sixtieth year of the reign of Queen Victoria; she ascended to the British throne at the age of 18 upon the death of her uncle King William IV on June 20, 1837.  The second is a memorial medal which commemorates Queen Victoria’s death in January 22, 1901, she was 81 years old.

Queen Victoria - Jubilee medal front  Queen Victoria - Jubilee medal back
Queen Victoria - memorial medal front  Queen Victoria - memorial medal back

  • King Edward VII coronation medal – This medal commemorates the coronation of King Edward VII in June 1902, the date indicates his originally scheduled coronation but when the King had appendicitis just days before the event it was postponed to allow time for surgery and then his recovery.  The King was crowned at Westminster Abbey on August 9, 1902 and the images of both King Edward and Queen Alexandra are featured on the medal.

King Edward II - coronation medal front  King Edward II - coronation medal back

  • King George V coronation medal – This medal commemorates the coronation of King George V which took place on June 22, 1911 (He ascended to the throne when his father, King Edward VII died in May 1910, in general it takes about a year to plan and execute an elaborate coronation ceremony). Featured on the medal are the images of both King George and Queen Mary.

King George V - coronation medal front  King George V - coronation medal back

  • King Edward VIII coronation medal – This medal is unique because it was for the coronation of King Edward VIII which never took place.  Although he ascended to the throne upon the death of his father, King George V, on January 20, 1936 he caused a constitutional crisis when he abdicated on December 10, 1936 to eventually marry the twice divorced Wallis Simpson.

King Edward III - coronation medal front  King Edward III - coronation medal back

  • King George VI coronation medal – This medal commemorates the coronation of King George VI who ascended to the British throne following the abdication of his older brother, the uncrowned King Edward VII.  King George’s coronation took place on May 12, 1937 at Westminster Abbey, the medal features both King George and Queen Elizabeth, who later became known as the Queen Mother after the death of her husband.

King George VI - coronation medal front  King George VI - coronation medal back

  • 1936 commemorative medal – This unusual pin commemorates the year of 1936 which is known as the “Year of the Three Kings”.  The front of the pin depicts King George V on the right (reign May 1910 to January 1936), on the left is King Edward III (reign January to December 1936) and in the center is King George VI with Queen Elizabeth (reign December 1936 to February 1952).  The back of the pin has the inscription that reads, “Souvenir of the coronation of King George VI and the historical year of 1936 during which England had three Kings”


  • Queen Elizabeth II coronation medal – This medal commemorates the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II which took place on June 2, 1953.  Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne after the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952.  (For more information about the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, please click on the link)

Queen Elizabeth II - coronation medal front  Queen Elizabeth II - coronation medal back
Commemorative stamps and coins

  • King George VI and Queen Elizabeth 25th wedding anniversary stamp – This first day cover commemorates the 25th wedding of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, it is date stamped in Edinburgh, Scotland on April 26, 1948.  (For more information about their wedding in 1923 at Westminster Abbey, click on the link to British Royal Wedding – Part Three)  Shown below is a shadowbox with the anniversary stamp framed with the coronation medal of King George VI.

Silver Wedding stamp with coronation medal

  • Prince Charles and Diana Spencer wedding stamp and coin – This first day cover commemorates the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, it is date stamped in London, England on July 22, 1981.  The envelope features two stamps and a special coin depicting both Prince Charles and Lady Diana. (For more information about their wedding, click on the link to British Royal Wedding – Part Four)

Prince Charles and Diana wedding stamp and coin set

  • Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip 50th wedding anniversary stamp set and coin – The first commemorates the 50th wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, it is date stamped Westminster Abbey in London on April 21, 1997.  The coin features both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.  The second features four different stamps dated November 13, 1997 in Warrington (For more information about their wedding in 1947, click on the link to British Royal Wedding – Part Three)

Golden Wedding stamp and coin set

  • Princess Diana memorial stamp set and coin – The Royal Mail set of four stamps honoring Princess Diana was issued after her death in 1997.  The Princess Diana memorial coin shown was issued in 1999.

Princess Diana stamp and coin set

  • The Queen Mother’s 100th birthday stamp set and coin – The Queen Mother’s 100th birthday stamp and coin was issued in 2000.  The coin features The Queen Mother and the stamp set includes four different stamps depicting the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Prince William.

Queen Mother stamp and set

Royal Commemorative Wedgwood Jasperware Plates

Wedgwood is a British pottery company which was founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 in Stoke on Trent, England.  Jasperware is traditionally made in light blue with white decorative scenes featuring Greek or Roman mythology, other colors have also been used.  Later, Royal Wedgewood Jasperware plates were made to commemorate coronations, wedding and births.

  • Prince Charles and Diana Spencer wedding plate – This Wedgwood Jasperware plate commemorates the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

Wedgewood plate - 1981 wedding

  • Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson wedding plate – This Wedgwood Jasperware plate commemorates the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson which took place on July 23, 1986 at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

Wedgewood plate - 19XX wedding

Books and other printed material

Sparked by my interest in the British royal family, throughout the years I have collected several books which I bought in my local bookstore or online, also I have come across out of print books which I purchased at antique stores.  These books are displayed on the bookshelves in the library of our home.

Listed below are some of the most noteworthy books:

  • “Victoria in the Wings”, “Victoria Victorious”, “The Queen’s Husband” and “The Widow of Windsor” from the Victorian series of historical novels written by Jean Plaidy  – these books tell the story of Queen Victoria’s life from her birth in 1819 to her accession to the throne of England in 1837 and to her death in 1901.  (These are the books that started my long term interest in Queen Victoria and the British royal family)

Jean Plaidy Queen Victoria books

  • “The Beautiful Life and Illustrious Reign of Queen Victoria” by Rev. John Rusk – this book was published only 4 months after the death of the Queen in 1901 and includes many photographs.  (The antique book has a lovely book cover and it is displayed as a decorative item in the bookshelf in my home office)

Queen Victoria book - front

  • “Silver Wedding – The Record of Twenty-five Royal Years” by Louis Wulff – this book was published in 1948 to commemorate the 25th wedding anniversary of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Silver Wedding book

  • “The Little Princesses” by Marion Crawford – when this book about the two daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York was first published in 1950 by their Nanny “Crawfie” and it caused a scandal in England.  No Royal servant had ever divulged the “secrets” of the Royal family before in print but the stories about Princess Elizabeth (later to become Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister, Princess Margaret,  are actually very sweet.  Unfortunately, the Queen Mother and the rest of the royal family never spoke to Nanny “Crawfie” again.

The Little Princesses

  • “God Save the Queen” by Allan Michie – This book was written in 1952 after the death of King George VI and before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  The book details the life of King George from his birth to his childhood to his accession to his early and untimely death.

God Save the Queen

  • “The Last Great Edwardian Lady” by Ingrid Seward – This book was published in 1999 and discusses the life of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother.  She was born at the turn of the century and lived until the age of 101.  (The copy that I have has a special in memoriam overleaf on the cover)

Queen Mother book

  • “A Dress for Diana” by David and Elizabeth Emanuel – This book was published in 2006 and is written by the designers of the iconic bridal dress that Lady Diana Spencer wore to her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.  (For more information about Diana’s wedding dress, please click on the link to British Royal Wedding Dresses- Part Two)

A Dress for Diana book

Listed below are some of the guidebooks collected on our trip to England in 1997:


(For more information about of these travel destinations in England, please click on the links shown above)

Decor – Framing Small Items

Scattered around our home, there are many small and unusual framed items.  Some of these items are a collection of collectible items or cameos or historic royal medals.  These add personality and interest to our home decorations and are displayed throughout the house.

In my home office, I have recently added two wonderful collectible pieces by Margaret Furlong.  She is an artist located in Oregon that designs beautiful decorative pieces inspired by nature made in bisque porcelain.  The two pieces from her collection currently on the bookshelves in my home office are the “Heaven and Earth” and the “Hope for a New Millennium” which were purchased several years ago and originally were displayed in my daughter’s nursery in our California home.  To create these two framed collectible pieces, I purchased inexpensive gold frames that perfectly fit the Margaret Furlong pieces and two lovely pale green “velvet” scrapbook papers from the local craft store.  I removed the glass and backing from the frames then cut the “velvet” paper to fit the frame using the glass as a template.  I attached the collectible onto the paper with hot glue; carefully making sure that it would be perfectly centered within the frame, and then hot glued the paper with the collectible attached to the frame’s glass for additional support.  Finally, I placed everything back into the gold frame and it was ready to hang on the wall.  This easy craft project took 30 minutes to frame both pieces.  These two framed collectibles are a wonderful example of how to display small items in a beautiful way.

Framed collectible 2     Framed collectible 1

Displayed in my home office is a shadow box that displays commemorative medals of the British Kings and Queens.  As mentioned in this month’s Celebration post, Victoria’s Day, I am fascinated by the British Royal family.  My interest was sparked several years ago when I read a novel about Queen Victoria.  Since that time I have read numerous books about the royal family and while visiting England several years ago I had an opportunity to see the castles and country homes of the royal family which I had been reading about in their biographies.  This inspired a collection of commemorative medals of the British Kings and Queen.  The first one dates back to Queen Victoria and commemorates the Diamond Jubilee and her 60 year reign as Queen of England.  Additional commemorate medals include the coronations of the Kings and Queen that followed, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI and finally the current Queen Elizabeth II.  One very unique pin marks the year 1937 when England had three kings.  During that one year England had three different kings, they were King George V who had recently died at the beginning of 1937, King Edward VII who abdicated before his coronation and then King George VI who was crowned at the end of 1937 and he is the father of the current Queen Elizabeth.  This particular pin is my favorite one in the collection.  All of these seven commemorative pins are in a walnut shadowbox and are wonderful way to display the collection in my home office.

Framed collectible 3   Framed collectible 4

Several years ago while shopping on ebay, I came across a great source for cameos.  I purchased several not knowing exactly what I was going to use them for, originally I was thinking of using them for a jewelry project.  Instead, I decided to frame a lovely blue cameo the same way I framed the Margaret Furlong pieces.  I purchased a small silver frame from the local craft store, dark grey “velvet” scrapbook paper and used the same process, it worked out beautifully.  The framed cameo now sits on the side table in our master bedroom and is a lovely decorative accent.

Down in our basement there is a bookshelf which is filled with family memorabilia (in the future I should write a post regarding the bookshelf and how everything is displayed!)  Anyway, there is a very special piece that commemorates our daughter’s baptism and the story behind this piece is very interesting.  First, I need to explain that both my mother’s parents emigrated from Poland through Ellis Island in the early 1900s.  Needless to say when Pope John Paul II became pope in 1978 my mother was very excited.  Several years ago when I was working on a special 80th birthday book for my mother, I wrote to the Pope hoping that he would respond and to my surprise he did write back with a lovely letter wishing her a happy birthday.  To conclude the story, when it came time for my daughter’s baptism, I again wrote to Pope John Paul II and received a letter blessing her on this special occasion and enclosed with the letter was a very special medal for her.  I copied the letter, reduced the size to fit the frame I had purchased, the original letter went into her baby book, and in the small shadowbox I included the medal the Pope sent along with a photo taken at her baptism.  This is an example of a very small item, the medal, being displayed in a wonderful way to commemorate a special and blessed event.

Framed collectible 1a

In the entertainment center down in the basement are several walnut cases specially made with a black liner and they are perfect for holding a collection of pins gathered during our road trips and overseas travels.  Almost every place visited on our travels I will purchase a pin as a souvenir and over the years I have collected hundreds.  Most of these pins are displayed in these special large walnut cases.  Check out this month’s Décor post, Travel Souvenirs, for more information regarding the other items we collect during our vacations and how they are displayed in our home.  Two small walnut cases are also displayed in the entertainment center.  One case holds a collection of Hard Rock Café guitar pins that were purchased while dining at the restaurants in several U.S. cities and other locations in Europe and Asia.  We like the food at the Hard Rock Café and if we are visiting a particular city on our travels I always check to see if there is one located there.  As mentioned in a previous post, Disney Memorabilia Collection, part of our Disneyland souvenirs is a collection of over two hundred Disney collectible pins.  Most of these pins were purchased during our visits to Disneyland or online from e-bay when I am looking for rare or discontinued pins.  A small part of the pin collection is displayed in one of the small walnut cases and the rest of the pins are stored away.  These walnut cases are an example of a terrific way to display a collection of small items and sometimes when we are down in the basement watching movies I will pull out one of the walnut cases and look at the pins and remember the places we have visited.

Pin collection 2    Pin collection 1
Pin collection 4    Pin collection 3

So, when you are purchasing small decorative items, think about displaying them in small frames that would look wonderful on bookshelves or tables in your home.  If you are a collector of small items like pins and medals, think about displaying the items together in shadowbox frames or special cases that are made specifically for this purpose.  My basic idea is that if you have purchased and collected these items take some time to display them in a decorative way to enjoy every day.  This idea is also a wonderful way to add interest and personality to a home.