Sunderland’s glassmaking past on show at Buckingham Palace

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Sunderland on the Royal yacht Britannia in May 1993.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Sunderland on the Royal yacht Britannia in May 1993.
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Sunderland’s glass making history is on show for all to see as Buckingham Palace opens its doors for the summer.

A glass panel painted with the city’s coat of arms presented to the Queen has gone on show as part of Royal Gifts, the palace’s latest exhibition.

The Royal Gifts exhibition has opened to visitors to Buckingham Palace for the summer.

The Royal Gifts exhibition has opened to visitors to Buckingham Palace for the summer.

The display brings together gifts presented to the monarch during national and international visits, as well as those presented to her as she has received guests.

The Wearside item features the City of Sunderland’s coast of arms gifted to the monarch in 1993 during a visit to mark the city status awarded the year before.

The panel was created in recognition of glassmaking on Wearside, which was first established at the Anglo-Saxon monastry of Wearmouth-Jarrow in 673 AD, when craftsmen were brought from Gaul to create the first stained glass window in England.

In the brochure, it states: “In 1992, on the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s reign, Sunderland won a nationwide competition to be granted city status by royal charter.

The inclusion of a ship, an anchor and a miner’s pick within the coat of arms refer to later industries in Sunderland and on the River Wear.

Royal Collection Trust

“The Queen subsequently visited Sunderland in 1993, when she was presented with this panel.

“The inclusion of a ship, an anchor and a miner’s pick within the coat of arms refer to later industries in Sunderland and on the River Wear.

“The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh departed from Sunderland on HMY Britannia.

“Presented to Her Majesty The Queen by Sunderland City Council, May 18, 1993.”

The Royal Yacht Britainnia on the River Wear during the royal visit in 1993.

The Royal Yacht Britainnia on the River Wear during the royal visit in 1993.

The booklet also features photos from the Echo’s archives showing the royal yacht sailing on the River Wear and crowds cheering on the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as they leave following their visit.

During her 65-year reign, the Queen has made more than 250 overseas visits, with 300 official engagements carried out last year alone.

The Royal Collection Trust, which has put together the exhibition, says an important part of these occasions is the receiving or exchanging of gifts.

The display is part of the summer opening of the State Rooms at the palace and features more than 250 objects which help visitors explore Her Majesty’s role as Head of State, Head of the Commonwealth and Head of the Nation as well as important moments in her life.

Other items include a wooden totem pole carved by the Kwakiutl people of Canada’s North West coast presented during a visit to the country in 1971 and a Buckingham Palace Underground sign presented while meeting staff at Aldgate East Tube Station in 2010, while in 2016, to mark her 90th birthday, she was gifted a linen bag of salt by Salt Island, one of the British Virgin Islands in keeping with the tradition of paying the monarch an annual rent of a pound of salt on their birthday.

Locations noted in the show include Vatican City, Uruguay, Malawi, Iceland and Gabon.

Advance tickets for the display, which runs until October 1, and more details can be found via www.royalcollection.org.uk.