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Prince & Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales chats art with Sir Paul McCartney at official reopening of the National Portrait Gallery

The Princess of Wales has officially reopened the National Portrait Gallery.

The gallery has undergone an extensive three-year refurbishment programme.

The princess toured the new facilities—the most significant update of its kind at the National Portrait Gallery since 1896—and viewed several new exhibitions. And she had an extensive chat with the motivation behind one of them from the creator of the space, former, Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.

The Grade I listed building has been restored, 50 new portraits have been acquired, and the collections have been comprehensively redisplayed in these renovations.

The new art included a new main door by artist Tracey Emin, who created a piece that features brass panels of 45 carved women to represent women through time.

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Among the exhibits Catherine viewed were ‘Yevonde: Life and Colour,’ all about the London photographer’s use of colour photography in the 1930s and a sneak preview of the photography exhibit by Sir Paul McCartney, which opens next week.

The princess also spoke with artists and curators about female representation at the National Portrait Gallery. She paid a visit to the Mildred and Simon Palley Learning Centre to learn more about the Gallery’s outreach to children and to encourage artistic pursuits and later visited youngsters learning about the works of Beatrix Potter through a multi-sensory workshop.

“It was an honour to have our wonderful and very committed Royal Patron, HRH The Princess of Wales, with us to mark such an important chapter in the National Portrait Gallery’s history,” said Dr Nicholas Cullinan, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

The aim of the refurbishments, he added, was “to truly become a gallery of people, for people.”

He later told reporters: “To have a senior member of the Royal Family that really cares about culture, museums, art and is knowledgeable and supportive is such a great thing for this country.”

The National Portrait Gallery officially reopens to the public on 22 June.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.