How to see rare Royal Family photos at Buckingham Palace

How to see rare Royal Family photos at Buckingham Palace



Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography has opened at The King’s Gallery.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography is steeped in thousands of stories about the British Royal Family, from King George VI to King Charles III. It brings together more than 150 items, including never-before-seen photographs. FACT got a sneak peek at the exhibition, which takes place inside Buckingham Palace at the newly named The King’s Gallery and runs from 17 May to 6 October.

Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography showcases items from the Royal Collection and Royal Archives. The Royal Family is famous for its official photographs, from royal weddings to newborn babies. Fans of The Crown will recognise Lord Snowdon’s photograph of Princess Margaret, which caused a scandal due to her bare shoulders. Pop culture is presented with Queen Elizabeth II’s portraits through the ages: Andy Warhol’s 1985 print, Rankin’s 2001 photograph, and even the call sheet for Annie Leibovitz’s 2007 photoshoot. 

Royal Portraits

The highlights include classic photographs by Cecil Beaton, which have stood the test of time. Look out for the dedicated room celebrating photographers, from David Bailey to the royal’s very own Lord Snowdon. The unseen photographs include a picture of four royal babies, The Queen Mother’s copy of her daughter’s Coronation portrait, and the earliest surviving print of a member of the Royal Family. 

In fitting fashion, the audio guide is narrated by the British actress Joanna Lumley, and allows visitors to dig deeper into the stories behind the shots. For example, how Princess Anne became the first Royal Family member to appear on the front of British Vogue. Plus, after the Duchess of Cambridge’s retouching hit the headlines, there is a section dedicated to the process.

Alessandro Nasini, Curator of Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography, explained: “The Royal Collection holds some of the most enduring photographs ever taken of the Royal Family, captured by the most celebrated portrait photographers of the past hundred years – from Dorothy Wilding and Cecil Beaton to Annie Leibovitz, David Bailey, and Rankin. 

“Alongside these beautiful vintage prints, which cannot be on permanent display for conservation reasons, we are excited to share archival correspondence and never-before-seen proofs that will give visitors a behind-the-scenes insight into the process of creating such unforgettable royal portraits.”

Tickets to Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography are available now. Tickets start from £19 for adults and £9.50 for children. 

GO: Visit for more information.