SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!


Brand new exhibition showcases 100 years of royal photos

The Royal Collection Trust is staging a new exhibition at the King’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace that allows a look into the Royal Family’s private lives. “Royal Portraits: A Century of Royal Photography” is opening on 17 May and includes never-before-seen photos. 

This new exhibition sets out to shed a light on model royal portraits. While portraits have been used to create royal public images for several centuries, the Royal Family only turned to photography in a significant way in the last century. “Royal Portraits” shares photographic portraits of the Royal Family from the 1920s through to the present to show how that relationship evolved. 

Photo by Lord Snowdon/ Royal Collection Trust

As the Royal Collection Trust explains: ”The exhibition sheds light on behind-the-scenes processes, from photographers’ handwritten annotations to never-before-seen correspondence with members of the Royal Family and their staff, revealing the stories behind some of the most celebrated photographs ever taken of the Royal Family.

The earliest surviving colour photographic print of a royal is on show now in London (Royal Collection Trust)

The exhibition includes notable portraits from Annie Leibovitz, Andy Warhol, and Dorothy Wilding. It also includes the earliest surviving colour photographic print of a royal, a 1935 photo of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester on her wedding day. 

Contact sheets from famous royal photography sessions are on show (Royal Collection Trust)

Included in the exhibition are never-before-seen Cecil Beaton photographs of the Royal Family during the Second World War. One striking photo shows King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspecting bomb damage at Buckingham Palace. 

This striking photo of King Charles III takes centre stage in one part of the new exhibition at The King’s Gallery (Royal Collection Trust)

The exhibition runs until 6 October at the King’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. 

About author

Historian and blogger at