Yesterday, the Duchess of Cambridge ended a day of engagements at the National Portrait Gallery, attending a gala in support of transforming the building and its initiatives – the most substantial such change since its opening.
The official theme of the gala was ‘Inspiring People: Transforming Our National Portrait Gallery’ – and marks the Gallery’s “biggest ever development since our historic building opened in 1896,” according to its official website.
“We will deepen the understanding and enjoyment of our remarkable Collection, sharing it with the widest and most diverse audience possible.”
The Gallery’s focus will be on building partnerships, expanding its school programme, building volunteer and placement opportunities; new, creative projects for young people around the UK; improved digital resources; and skills sharing through a network of UK museums.
There will also be a new entrance, a new way to display collections, a focus on re-opening the East Wing and creating a learning centre.
Inside, Kate met with members of the National Portrait Gallery’s Youth Forum and Learning Team to learn about Creative Connections, a programme for young people between the ages of 14 and 16, where they’re partnered with contemporary artists and learn about art.
She also had the chance to view artwork on display and learned about the outreach programmes for young people across the country.
Kate attended alongside other high-profile guests including Princess Beatrice and her boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozi, Lord Snowdon, David and Victoria Beckham, Liam Payne, and supermodels Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Bianca Jagger.
The National Portrait Gallery has hosted a gala every few years since its 150th anniversary in 2006. Since Kate became its patron in 2012, she has attended every gala: in 2014 and 2017. Previous galas were held in 2006 and 2009.
Kate’s first official royal portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, and she has also contributed to an exhibition, ‘Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography’, where she wrote the programme’s foreword and captions for the photos on display.