Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames

If you’re looking forward to the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3rd June, you will enjoy the National Maritime Museum’s landmark exhibition in Greenwich.  It opens today (27 April) and celebrates the enduring relationship between Britain’s royal families and the Thames over the last 500 years.

David Starkey, guest-curator, said this exhibition which “brings to life the extraordinary and varied history of the Thames as Britain’s royal river and London’s “grandest street”, is a feast for the eyes and all the senses. It evokes the sights, sounds and even the smells of half a millennium of royal river pageantry and popular celebration. But, most importantly and originally, Royal River also shows how the grandest royal river pageants have always been used to celebrate the coronation and inauguration of Tudor and Stuart Queens. What more appropriate way of celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of The Queen, who will herself, at the climax of the celebrations, lead another grand royal river pageant?’

‘Royal River’ explores the many and varied uses of the Thames across 500 years of British history. Among the paintings, manuscripts and other artefacts on dispay, highlights include the rarely seen uniforms, silver and barge decorations from the City’s many livery companies, including the Company of Watermen and Lightermen.

2012 also marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the National Maritime Museum. On 27 April 1937, aged 11 years, Princess Elizabeth attended the opening ceremony as a birthday treat.

Exhibition information for visitors:

Venue: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Dates: 27 April 2012–9 September 2012
Opening times: every day, 10.00–17.00

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