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Queen's Gallery

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  • 1 Review on “Queen's Gallery”

    • Jessica N
      7 years ago

      A visit to Buckingham Palace might well be a high spot in anyone’s sightseeing schedule. The Palace itself can be visited when the Queen is away between August and October. During this time there is an exhibition, changed yearly, of a selection of articles belonging or gifted to the Royal Family – perhaps presents received on foreign tours or from visitors, dresses worn over the years etc.

      The collection, held by the Queen in trust for future monarchs and the nation, comprises objects collected by successive sovereigns, mainly since the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, an earlier collection having been sold by Oliver Cromwell. Some have been keener and busier collectors than others, for example George IV, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The care of the collection is supervised by the Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures – at one period a post held by Anthony Blunt, later exposed as the Fifth Man (with Maclean, Burgess, Cairncross and Philby) of the Cambridge Spy Ring.

      Throughout the year exhibitions open to the public are held in what is known as the Queen’s Gallery (originally a 19th century chapel). They are based on a theme from some of the one million-strong collection. The visitor does not enter the gallery by the front door of the Palace but by the Royal equivalent of the back door – actually a fairly imposing entrance in Buckingham Palace Road on the side of the Palace. Once inside and entrance fee paid, things begin to improve and feel more royal-like. The staircase is imposing, as are the loos which are grand. The exhibitions are held in two quite large rooms with smaller rooms on each side. The Queen has so many rooms at her disposal. Is she perhaps like most of us, filling all the space she has, no matter how much? The collection must require an awful lot of rooms.

      When first opened, the gallery comprised one room and a sort of mezzanine floor above part of it. The exhibitions were much smaller and less splendid. Nor was there a grand shop to tempt us to spend our pounds and tourists their euros to provide us with souvenirs showing that we have been to Buckingham Palace. No refreshments are available.

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