The Royal Childhood exhibition inside Buckingham Palace, which opens Saturday, will offer a rare glimpse of life as a royal child, with 150 much-loved toys, gifts, journals and clothes displayed alongside unseen photographs and film footage of nine generations of royal kids.
Along with a tricycle gifted by the mayor of London, there is also a silver breakfast set from the prime minister of Malta and three gifts from President Obama on display.
The Obama family sent the prince a handmade rocking horse with a presidential seal on the saddle, an alpaca wool blanket and a polo mallet featuring a head carved from wood from an oak tree on the White House’s South Lawn.
While some items on display show the extravagant wealth and privilege associated with the royals – a miniature Aston Martin DB5 complete with rotating license plates and a working smoke screen, given to Prince Andrew when he was 6, for one – many offer a sense of normalcy. For instance, animal drawings by Prince William are displayed next to handwriting practice notes from the future George IV in 1767.
Anna Reynolds, curator of the exhibition, tells PEOPLE: “We decided on royal childhood for this year because there is obviously a sense of interest in royal children at the moment, but the exhibition is very much putting Prince George in the context of a much broader subject of royal children.”
The famous golden easel and one of two original copies of Prince George’s birth announcement are also on display, as is the silver-gilt Lily Font and the ornate silk-satin and lace robe used at his christening.
Other highlights include Princess Elizabeth’s “Progress Book” dating to 1926, which details the current monarch‘s first words – “Mama” and “Bebe” – as well as a cupboard door marking the heights through the years of royal children from Elizabeth to Andrew.
The exhibition inside the Palace, which runs every year to coincide with the Queen’s summer vacation at Balmoral, Scotland – and continues this year through Sept. 28 – has proved to be a popular tourist attraction, with 530,000 visitors attending last year.
While Prince George is still too young to appreciate many of the sentimental and historical items on display, the exhibition has already had one VIP visitor.
“The Queen has made a private visit to the exhibition. I think she was happy,” Reynolds said with a smile.
Find out more about this and other royal exhibits and landmarks at visitbritain.com.