Opening of the Festival of Britain, 1951

The Royal Family presided over the Opening of the Festival of Britain on this day in 1951, exactly 70 years ago, which promoted British science, technology, industrial design, architecture and the arts following the devastation of the Second World War. The exhibition was visited by millions of people and reshaped British arts, crafts, designs and sports for a generation.

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In the morning, the British Royal Family rode in a carriage procession from Buckingham Palace through the streets of London to St Paul’s Cathedral, where King George VI (wearing the Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle, and the Royal Victorian Chain) gave a speech from the Cathedral steps, viewed by members of the extended Royal Family; Queen Mary, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince William of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael of Kent Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, the Earl and Countess of Harewood, and Lady Patricia Ramsay as well as Earl and Countess Mountbatten and Princess Olga (wearing her Emerald Earrings and Brooch) and Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia.

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In the evening, the Royal Family presided over the opening of the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank, with a Concert conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent and Sir Adrian Boult.  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (wearing Queen Victoria’s Oriental Circlet Tiara) were joined by Princess Elizabeth (in the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara and Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace), the Duke of Edinburgh, and Princess Margaret.

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Other members of the Royal Family in attendance included the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (in the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara), Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood (wearing her Fringe Tiara), Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (in the Kent City of London Fringe Tiara, Girandole Earrings, and her Bow Brooch), Princess Alexandra, Princess Olga (wearing her Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara) and Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, the Earl and Countess of Harewood, and Earl and Countess Mountbatten (wearing the Mountbatten Tiara). The Duchess of Northumberland (in a Diamond Tiara) was among the members of the British Aristocracy in attendance.

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