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The Duchess of Cornwall visits the National Gallery

Issued July 2020

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, visited the National Gallery today (Tuesday 28 July 2020) to meet staff involved in the gallery’s COVID-19 response and reopening process.

She was received on arrival by Director, Gabriele Finaldi, and Chair, Lord Hall, before meeting staff who helped facilitate the building’s safe reopening for the public on 8 July – the first national art museum in the UK to reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown.

Image: HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in the National Gallery Photo © The National Gallery, London

Larry Keith, Head of Conservation and Keeper, showed Her Royal Highness the newly restored Equestrian Portrait of Charles I by Van Dyck which is back on show in Room 21 after more than two years. 

Her Royal Highness then toured Room 32 - the Gallery’s largest room displaying 17th-century Italian paintings by artists including Caravaggio, Artemisia and Orazio Gentileschi, Guido Reni and Guercino – which has reopened after a 21-month refurbishment project, as the Julia and Hans Rausing Room. Thanks to their support, the Gallery has re-instated the decorative design of its original architect, Edward M Barry, replaced the wooden floors and wall fabrics, and installed an air conditioning system.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery says 'We were very pleased to be able to welcome HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to the Gallery this morning and show her how we are welcoming visitors in a COVID-safe, socially distanced environment. She expressed her appreciation to the staff who have worked hard to reopen the Gallery and enable the nation to enjoy its pictures once more after three and a half months of closure.'

His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, has been Patron of the National Gallery since 2017.


National Gallery Press Office on 020 7747 2865 or email

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