The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact.
Comprising almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts and running to more than a million objects, it is held in trust by The Queen as Sovereign for her successors and the nation. The Royal Collection is a unique and valuable record of the personal tastes of kings and queens over hundreds of years.
Following the execution of Charles I in 1649, the greater part of the King's magnificent possessions was sold by order of Oliver Cromwell, and the Royal Collection has largely been formed since the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.
The most important additions to the Royal Collection were made by Frederick, Prince of Wales, George III, George IV, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Queen Mary, consort of King George V.
The Royal Collection includes the majority of the contents of some 13
royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public. These include Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Hampton Court, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Osborne House and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton. Here, works of art can often be seen in the historic settings for which they were originally commissioned or acquired. Over 3,000 objects from the Royal Collection are on long-term loan to museums and galleries around the UK and abroad, including The British Museum, The National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of London, the National Museum of Wales and the National Gallery of Scotland. Many more are lent to temporary exhibitions around the world. At The Queen's Galleries in London and Edinburgh, and in the Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle, aspects of the Collection are shown in a programme of special exhibitions.
Find out more about these on the Royal Collection Trust site www.royalcollection.org.uk