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British RoyalsCoronavirusThe Cambridges

The Duchess of Cambridge heads to the V&A as it opens its doors after lockdown

The Duchess of Cambridge took a trip to Wonderland to mark the reopening of museums in the United Kingdom, visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum this week to view its new exhibits.

Kate, who is Royal Patron of the V&A, first visited The Raphael Cartoons at the newly-renovated Raphael Court. The exhibit features seven full-scale tapestry designs painted by the Renaissance painter for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. The cartoons depict the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and have been on loan to the V&A from The Royal Family since 1865.

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The Raphael Cartoons are on display to mark the 500th anniversary of the Italian painter’s birth. Kate heard from museum experts about the immersive ways the exhibit will be presented, and how the new exhibit space has enhanced the Cartoons’ presentation.

Next, Kate toured the Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition, which is the main exhibit of this year’s season. The works of Lewis Carroll’s classic story are on display in an immersive exhibit that traces the story’s history from manuscript to publication, and through its many reinventions and adaptations over its 158-year-history.

“She clearly has a great knowledge of art history and I think it’s just so appropriate that she was here, among the first members of the public to come in, as our royal patron,” said Kate Bailey, Senior Curator at the V&A, to reporters.

Kate’s interest in the work of Lewis Carroll can be traced back to her time at St. Andrew’s University, where she wrote her senior thesis on his classic drawings in a work entitled ‘Angels from Heaven: Lewis Carroll’s Photographic Interpretation of Childhood.’

She also curated a special exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in 2018 that featured his work, which was part of a larger exhibit called ‘Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography.’

Before departing, Kate spoke with museum staff to learn more about their work over the past year, and shared that she thinks patrons will be eager to visit museums because they “have been craving beauty and inspiration” and that, without so many international tourists, it’ll be a good time to visit.

She also revealed that her visit to the V&A had been cancelled three times due to coronavirus restrictions, and that she was “very glad to be here today.”

“As we were leaving she said how important it was to be here in the now and reflected on how the exhibition was multi-sensory,” said Kate Bailey, “Which is probably what people need now after months of lockdown.”

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.