Queen Elizabeth At The Hay

Seen here is ‘Queen Elizabeth II in dress uniform’ one of the more than 5,000 miniature lead soldiers and figurines on display on the third floor of the John Hay Library at Brown University. I decided to focus on the Queen’s early life since she proved her mettle at such a young age. And she loved horses. The courage and resolve of the royals during WWII endeared them to the nation and a young Elizabeth asked for no special treatment.

When Princess Elizabeth turned 18 in 1944, she insisted upon joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army. . . Princess Elizabeth began her training as a mechanic in March 1945. She undertook a driving and vehicle maintenance course at Aldershot, qualifying on April 14. Newspapers at the time dubbed her “Princess Auto Mechanic.”

The Insider has a photo of Colonel Princess Elizabeth with the caption, “Following the war, she often appeared in her military uniform adorned with medals.” The lead figurine accurately portrays the details of this uniform, right down to the decorative details on the horse’s tack. To the right is “The Place Guard of Monaco.”

The Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection was formed over a period of forty years.

During her honeymoon to Europe in 1930, Mrs. Brown purchased a number of lead soldiers from toy shops in Germany, France, and Britain with the intention of setting up a display in one of the rooms of her new house on Benefit Street. The majority of these figures were made by the Britains, Heyde and Mignot companies. Further figures were acquired in the following years, including a number specially commissioned by Mrs. Brown. When the collection came to Brown University in 1981–82, special cases were made to house the collection of more than 5,000 figures.

I love this gallery. Noted military figures range from Attila to Napoleon to George Washington. Romans, Egyptians, Serbians, Crusaders, Grenadiers, Highland pipers, tanks, ambulances, chariots, camels, and elephants, fill the 96 cases. (Not surprisingly, the British Empire is well-represented.)

The collection is open to the public. Check in at the front desk and they will direct you. You can take the stairs, but the elevator buttons are a trip.

Anne S. K. Brown Collection, 3rd floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, 401.863.2414, (directions)


“Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in formal dress.”

I hate that animals are ever used in war, but I do love these elephants.

The cabinets all have interior lights, but reflections make photographing a bit difficult.

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