A treasure trove of royal memorabilia from the National Archives at Kew on show for the Jubilee

Image above: Princess Elizabeth as an ATS girl (Auxiliary Territorial Service) in 1945; National Archives

Rarely-seen documents on show for the Jubilee

Rarely-seen documents, such as the coronation oath with the Queen’s signature, have been made available to view digitally for the first time, as part of The National Archives’ season marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: Royalty on Record.

The Royalty on Record online portal contains digitised collections about Her Majesty’s life, coronation and reign. Among the hundreds of documents available to view is the telegram from Prime Minister Attlee on the occasion of HRH Princess Elizabeth’s 21st birthday, pictures of her as an ATS girl, her wedding, pictures of her carrying out her ceremonial role, her Commonwealth role and family life when her children were small.

Browse the contents here – Royalty on Record

Image above: Lady Frances Cole’s ticket of admission to the coronation of Queen Victoria, 1838

Royal Talks

The National Archives’ programme of talks always has an interesting mix of experts talking about aspects of British history through the documents, photographs and artefacts in their collection. This season’s talks include an opportunity to learn more about the coronations of major royal figures, explaining the importance of the ceremony and the lavishness of the day.

Topics include the coronation of King Richard III and Queen Anne and the power of medieval English monarchy and the story of Thomas Ashe, author of The Claustral Palace: or Memoirs of The Family – an unpublished Regency novel that threatened to cause a royal scandal by revealing the secret lives and loves of the daughters of King George III in their unmarried confinement at Frogmore, (best known to us as the home of Harry and Meghan after they were first married).

The season also includes a brand-new showcase display of records from the Queen’s coronation ceremony at The National Archives home in Kew, available to view for free until 11th June 2022 and craft activities for children during the May half term week as part of the National Archives’ Time Travel club.

Friday 10 June at 2pm – Crown & Sceptre: A new history of the British Monarchy (online)

Inspired by Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, Tracy Borman explores the tumultuous history of the British monarchy.

With 1,000 years of royal history from 1066 to the present day, Domesday Book to Magna Carta, the Field of Cloth of Gold to Prince Harry’s wedding, discover the real story of this institution. In this illustrated talk, Tracy will introduce some of her favourite monarchs and share a few of the secrets behind the crown’s remarkable survival.

Tracy Borman is an author, Tudor historian, broadcaster and joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. She is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books, including Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant, Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England, Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen and Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction.

Book tickets

Friday 17 June at 2pm – Power and pageantry: The coronation of King Richard III and Queen Anne (online)

Hear how the summer of 1483 was a spectacular celebration of the power of medieval English monarchy.

The joint crowning of King Richard III and Queen Anne in the summer of 1483 was a spectacular celebration of the power of medieval English monarchy, yet one that was short lived after Richard III lost his crown just over two years later at the Battle of Bosworth.

The coronation maintained the long traditions of royal pageantry and religious ceremony, but was also a key political step in stabilising the country after the discord and turbulence of civil war.

This talk will be presented by Dr Sean Cunningham, Interim Head of Collections – Medieval, Early Modern, Legal, Maps and Plans.  Join him to catch a glimpse of how Richard III intended to build his kingship in an insecure age of rivalries, warfare and depositions.

Book tickets

Friday 1 July at 2pm – A blackmailer at Frogmore: The adventures of Queen Caroline’s ghost (online)

Uncover the gripping story of Thomas Ashe, author of The Claustral Palace: or Memoirs of The Family – an unpublished Regency novel that threatened to cause a royal scandal.

An army officer, a ghost-writer, and a royal blackmailer… A friend of Queen Caroline, Captain Thomas Ashe worked with her and surreptitiously wrote The Claustral Palace: or Memoirs of The Family, that threatened to ‘blow the roof off the Nunnery’ by scandalously revealing the secret lives and loves of the daughters of King George III.

James Travers is Cultural Property Manager at The National Archives. As an author he specialises in analysing the language of historical sources and discovering hidden literary gems in the collections at The National Archives and elsewhere.

He has published four history titles with a literary twist, A Blackmailer at Frogmore: The Adventures of Queen Caroline’s Ghost (Amberley Books 2022) Gunpowder Plot: Terror in Shakespeare’s England (Amberley Books 2019) Gunpowder: The Players behind the Plot (National Archives, 2005), and James I: The Masque of Monarchy (National Archives, 2003).

He regularly engages in media work within his field of expertise and was historical consultant on BBC2’s Gunpowder 5/11: The Greatest Terror Plot (2014). Join him as he explores the gripping story of Thomas Ashe.

Book tickets

Image above: A ticket to Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, 2 June 1953

Jubilee display

We are lucky that the National Archives is so near to us in Chiswick, just across the river at Kew. An easy trip to see their standing display featuring records from the Queen’s coronation ceremony, which took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Entrance to the display is free. Open 24 May – 11 June.

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, TW9 4DU.

More details

The National Archives is a non-ministerial government department and the official archive for the UK Government, and for England and Wales. They look after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back more than 1,000 years, including records as diverse as the Domesday Book and MI5 files. They are also a cultural, heritage and academic organisation which promotes public accessibility to iconic documents while ensuring preservation for generations to come.

Images above: Jubilee decoration, mug, necklace, brooch and earrings from the National Archives gift shop collection


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See also: Jubilee stamps go on show

See also: Chiswick’s Big Jubilee Sing

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