Royal Family Makes Exciting Announcement - With Nostalgic Meaning For The Queen
On July 23, the Royal Family celebrated the reopening of Royal Residences to the public for the summer of 2020. They also revealed an exciting new exhibit at Windsor Castle, which has a special meaning to the Queen and her late sister, Princess Margaret. Read on to view the art exhibit with unique ties to the sisters' youth during the Second World War era.
Beginning today, some Royal Residences reopen to the public after a delay brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. At Windsor Castle, a scarcely seen exhibit will reopen, allowing public access to art with close ties to Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret's experience during the Second World War era.
The Royal Family and Royal Collection Trust revealed the news on Thursday.
Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at Windsor Castle during WWII
On social media, the Royal Family unveiled the rare views of pantomime character portraits that were painted after the sisters relocated to Windsor Castle during the Blitz in 1940. Originally, a series of portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence were displayed, but they were removed during wartime "for safe keeping."
New portraits were commissioned in their place. Save for one previous occasion, these special WWII-era portraits remained hidden upon the return of Lawrence's originals in the postwar years. Today, the royals shared a preview of what's to come at the exhibit of the 16 works — and why it's meaningful to the Queen.
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In 1940, at the height of the Blitz, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were moved to Windsor Castle, where they spent most of the war years. Whilst there, the young Princesses took part in a series of pantomimes held in the Waterloo Chamber to raise money for the Royal Household Wool Fund, which supplied yarn to make blankets for soldiers fighting at the Front. During the war the series of portraits that usually lined the walls of the Waterloo Chamber were removed from their frames for safe keeping. In their place, 16 'pantomime' pictures were commissioned. Characters including Cinderella, Puss in Boots and Peter Pan were recreated on rolls of wallpaper. After the war, the original portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence were returned to the Waterloo Chamber, and the pantomime pictures remained hidden beneath them. They have been revealed just once since the war, following the fire of 1992. Until now... The Royal Residences have today reopened to the public with full safety measures in place, and visitors to Windsor Castle will be able to see the wartime pantomime pictures newly revealed in the Waterloo Chamber. For more information visit @royalcollectiontrust
As the Royal Family's post reveals, Elizabeth—in her late teens—and Margaret—approaching her early teens—participated in pantomimes in the same Waterloo Chambers to raise funds during the war era. The new exhibit no doubt carries nostalgic meaning for the Queen as a result.
Windsor Castle to offer glimpse into Queen's war-era life
Some of the royal sisters' early 1940s pantomime productions included Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Characters from these stories are featured in the portraits, which tourists and visitors can now take in at Windsor Castle.
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret's pantomimes raised money for the Royal Household Wool Fund, which "supplied yarn to make blankets for soldiers fighting at the Front," per the Royal Family.
In addition to Windsor Castle, The Royal Mews and the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace reopen on July 23. The Palace of Holyroodhouse joins them in reopening, but the state rooms at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House will remain closed due to "the operational challenges of social distancing."
The pantomime exhibit at the Waterloo Chambers reopens for the first time since 1992, when fundraising was needed following the Windsor Castle fire. Similarly, the Royal Collection Trust is today noted to have lost significant income due to the tourism shutdown amid the pandemic. Earlier this month, the RCT also launched a Buckingham Palace Gin in an effort to recoup funds.