The Queen’s Gallery in London and The Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh will both be renamed The King’s Gallery next year. The two museums form part of the royal palace complexes—Buckingham Palace in London and Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh—and were founded to exhibit works from the Royal Collection. They were opened in 1962 and 2002, respectively, by Queen Elizabeth II and named in her honour.
“The Royal Collection is held in trust by The King for his successors and the nation. It is therefore felt appropriate to rename the galleries as The King’s Galleries in recognition of the new reign,” says a Royal Collection Trust spokesperson. The change comes after the Queen’s death in September 2022 and subsequent coronation of King Charles III in May 2023.
However, in March this year The Art Newspaper approached the Royal Collection and was told that there were no plans to rename the museums after the new king. A spokesperson said at the time: “The Queen’s Galleries were founded and opened by Queen Elizabeth II, so at present there are no plans to change their names.” Asked what has changed since then, a spokesperson says that they “wouldn’t go into any detail on organisational discussions and timings”.
The spokesperson declined to give further information when asked about when the decision was made, who made the final decision, and whether it was always the plan to do so after the coronation of King Charles.
The name changes to signage and branding “will be funded by Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity,” says the spokesperson. They add: the trust “is funded by public admissions to the official residences of The King and through associated commercial activities”.
The Royal Collection, as it is today, largely began in the 17th century after the restoration of Charles II. It is one of the largest private collections of art in the world and includes masterpieces such as Johannes Vermeer’s The Music Lesson (around 1660) and Titian’s Madonna and Child in a Landscape with Tobias and the Angel (1535-40).
The day-to-day running of the Royal Collection Trust is overseen by the Royal Collection director Tim Knox, along with the finance director Keith Harrison and the commercial director Michelle Lockhart. The board of trustees, meanwhile, “sets the charity's strategic direction and monitors the delivery of its aims”, according to the organisation’s website. The chairman of the trustee board is James Leigh-Pemberton and members of the board include the King’s private secretary Clive Alderton. It is one of the five main organisational sections of the Royal Household, although it does not receive public funding. Ultimately, the Royal Collection is owned in trust by the King.