europe quick trips
Explore Britain’s relationship with Russia through art gallery at Buckingham Palace
By WILLIAM HOWARD | Stars and Stripes | Published: January 3, 2019
It’s not every day that you’re personally invited by the queen of England to view a portion of her Royal Collection for a small fee.
The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace hosts rotating exhibitions of art and treasure from the Royal Collection held in trust by the queen for the public.
Currently on display at the gallery are two exhibitions focusing on Britain’s relationship with Russia over the past 300 years through diplomatic alliances, linked dynasties and war.
The “Russia: Art, Royalty and the Romanovs” exhibition features portraits, sculptures, photographs, jewelry and masterpiece Faberge eggs illustrating historical events and family meetings between the rulers of the two nations.
Even though Queen Victoria adhered to anti-Russian sentiments during her 64-year reign, Great Britain’s royal family and Russia’s Romanov family crossed a few times since 1839.
Russian Tsar Alexander II’s only daughter, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, married Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred, and the queen’s granddaughter, Alix of Hesse, became a Russian empress when she married Alexander’s grandson, Tsar Nicholas II.
These marriages gave Queen Victoria five mutual Romanov great-grandchildren with Tsar Alexander II.
I felt like the paintings in the exhibition told a love story that eroded into tragedy and war.
The other exhibition displayed photographs taken in 1855 by Roger Fenton during the Crimean War, which brought together Britain, France and Turkey as allies against Russia.
Fenton was a leading British photographer who was commissioned to document events occurring in Crimea. He was part of a small group of photographers who took images of the final stages of the war.
The solemn gallery had about 30 colorless photos depicting empty battlefields and troops posing for pictures around camp.
The Queen’s Gallery is also scheduled to display a large collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s work, marking the 500th anniversary of his death on May 24.
DIRECTIONS: Address: Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1A 1AA
A good option is to take a train to King’s Cross Station in London from the train stations in either Ely or Cambridge. Once you reach King’s Cross, enter the nearby London Underground public transportation located at the entrance to the station and take the Piccadilly line to the Hyde Park Corner stop, exit the station, and it’s about an 11-minute walk southwest to Buckingham Palace via Constitution Hill. When facing the front of the palace, the Queen’s Gallery is located around the corner on the left side.
TIMES: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, with last admission at 4:15 p.m.
COSTS: Tickets online for adults are 12 pounds ($15.24); family tickets are 30 pounds for two adults and three children under the age of 17; free for children under age 5.
FOOD: No food available onsite, but there are many restaurants nearby.