Kate, Princess of Wales, has arrived in central London to reopen the National Portrait Gallery, which has been closed for three years due to substantial renovations.
The royal’s visit comes as the Gallery prepares to return to the public on June 22 after its most significant refurbishment project since 1896, which includes over 50 new acquisitions and a renovation of the Grade I listed structure.
On her arrival, the Princess will meet with project architect Jamie Fobert and artist Tracey Emin on the forecourt, with the latter being commissioned to create an artwork for the Gallery’s new doors, comprising 45 carved brass panels depicting “every woman, throughout time.”
Kate will also be shown around The Mildred and Simon Palley Learning Centre, which has played an important role in the building’s renovation.
In connection with her interest in early childhood education, Kate will spend time interacting with nursery children for a multi-sensory workshop based on Beatrix Potter’s works as part of the gallery’s under-fives program.
It debuted in September after being developed in collaboration with local family hubs and nurseries, to encourage the goal of encouraging creative learning and play in the Gallery.
The Princess of Wales will also see some of the Gallery’s most recent acquisitions, such as ‘Portrait of Mai (Omai)’ by Joshua Reynolds, a well-known artist.
The sought-after portrait was acquired by the Gallery and Getty this year after a remarkable fundraising drive, with both institutions agreeing to share the painting to maximize public access while maintaining research and conservation care.
Kate will visit the new exhibition ‘Yevonde: Life in Color,’ which celebrates the life and work of pioneering London photographer Yevonde, who popularized the use of color in her photographs in the 1930s.
One portrait of Princes William and Harry, made in 2010 by artist Nicky Philipps, will no longer be on display.
It represents the two princes, both in their twenties at the time, dressed in Blue and Royals outfits. They sat for the portrait at the artist’s South Kensington house, and Ms. Philipps recalls them as “so sweet, so close.”
East Anglian Children’s Hospices, another of Kate’s patronages, has been in the spotlight this week as part of Children Hospices Week.
The Princess wrote an open letter to the charity in which she thanked them for their persistent work to help very ill children and their families.