Princess of Wales reopens the National Portrait Gallery

The visit from the Gallery’s Royal Patron comes ahead of a public reopening this Thursday

Today, The Princess of Wales ceremonially reopened the National Portrait Gallery, after a three-year refurbishment programme and ahead of its public reopening on Friday, 22 June 2023.

The Princess, a Patron of the Gallery, was greeted on the Gallery’s forecourt by its Director Dr. Nicholas Cullinan, the Chair of Gallery’s Board of Trustees David Ross, Project Architect Jamie Fobert, and artist Tracey Emin.

Emin was commissioned to create an artwork for the Gallery’s new doors, which was revealed this week.

Image: Simon Thurley, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund, Nicholas Cullinan and The Princess of Wales in front of Sir Joshua Reynolds' Portrait of Mai (Omai) © David Parry.

Upon entering the building, formally opening the Gallery’s new doors for the first time, Her Royal Highness visited The Mildred and Simon Palley Learning Centre, and joined nursery children taking part in a multi-sensory workshop focussed on the world of Beatrix Potter.

The Princess also viewed one of the Gallery’s most recent acquisitions, Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai). In March the Gallery announced a partnership with LA’s Getty Museum to jointly acquire the £50m oil painting.

The Princess then met with Paul McCartney, whose photography exhibition opens at the Gallery next week, in addition to a number of the Gallery’s major supporters.

The Princess of Wales meets Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell © David Parry.

Ending her visit, The Princess passed through a new display of self-portraits by female artists, before departing.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, the Gallery’s Director said of the visit: “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 as we prepare to reopen our doors this Thursday after our biggest transformation, to truly become a gallery of people, for people.”