Buckingham Palace opens to the public with art to celebrate Prince Charles' 70th birthday

Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the Prince & Patron exhibition at the summer opening of Buckingham Palace. Credit: Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Buckingham Palace opens to the public this weekend as the royal court decamps to Balmoral for the summer.

The State Rooms are opened each year to visitors.

This year, the exhibition will mark a milestone birthday coming up for one member of the Royal Family.

  • The Royal Collection is readied for visitors

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In November, the Prince of Wales turns 70 and he has chosen a selection of art for a special display called "Prince and Patron".

Prince Charles has chosen 100 paintings, decorative arts and furniture from the Royal Collection as well as from artists supported by his own charities.

Of course, given he has been heir to the throne since he was three-years-old, the Prince grew up surrounded by the Royal Collection, both at Buckingham Palace and Windsor.

The exhibition is readied. Credit: PA

His selections include works chosen by his ancestors: portrait drawings that belonged to King Henry VIII, paintings acquired by Charles II, and a gold and rock crystal tiger’s head presented to William IV.

He has also allowed some of his personal collection to be shown for the first time including two oil sketches of him and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, at Birkhall – their private residence near Balmoral in Scotland.

The exhibition features two watercolours by Charles painted on the Queen’s private Balmoral Estate. Credit: PA

There are also four drawings from "The Last of the Few" – veterans of the Battle of Britain – which were commissioned in 2010 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Visitors to Buckingham Palace will see a cedar wood pavilion in the centre of the exhibition with Afghan design.

The cedar wood pavilion is based on an Afghan design. Credit: PA

The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts has been helping to revive traditional skills in historic communities.

Income from the opening of Buckingham Palace – as it does at Windsor Castle – contributes to the Royal Collection Trust.

John Gibson’s 1850 marble bust of Queen Victoria is part of the exhibition Credit: PA

The charity looks after the huge art collection – one of the biggest in the world and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact. It is spread over 15 royal residences.

The collection is held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation.

Buckingham Palace opens its doors to visitors on Saturday, July 21.