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Princess Alexandra visits Barnard Castle

Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra travelled to Durham County to re-enforce the “precious” bond between the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle and the Royal Family.

The Queen Mother was from the Bowes-Lyon family and was a descendent of John Bowes. Princess Alexandra landed on the neighbouring property of Barnard School. She then made the short journey to the museum where The Royal Standard was raised in her honour.

Her Royal Highness was escorted through the Bowes Museum by the Lord Lieutenant of Durham, Sue Snowdon. She also met some members of 4th Barnard Castle Brownies and local dignitaries including Caroline Peacock who serves as High Sheriff of County Durham and Museum Trustee. Other local dignitaries present included the Mayor of Barnard Castle, Sandra Moorhouse and Chief Executive of the museum Adrian Jenkins, along with representatives from Durham County Council.

Princess Alexandra was given a private tour of some of the museum’s art galleries. These are dedicated to fashion and textile and ceramics and paintings. There is also a gallery devoted to the museum’s founders, John and Joséphine Bowes. She also received a brief introduction to a new acquisition of St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child by Dutch artist Dieric Bouts.

Through crowd-funding efforts, the museum has managed to conserve a 15th-century Flemish altarpiece. In just 60 days, online donations to the campaign raised £21,163.

The royal then viewed the performance of Silver Swan musical automaton – the same musical the Queen Mother watched in 1956. Before Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit, Sir Mark Wrightson, the museum’s chairman of Trustees spoke of the connection The Queen Mother had with the museum.

“The history between the Bowes and the royal family is long-lasting and it’s very close.

“The Queen mum was a very staunch supporter of the museum; she was patron of the friends for many years and put on a number of exhibitions and I hope in having had a brief time here that you [Princess Alexandra] will come back and that the relationship and the links between the museum and the royal family will continue.”

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