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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2006, 16:32 GMT
Queen's da Vinci art starts tour
Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen's official birthday is marked on 17 June
A travelling exhibition of 10 of the Royal Collection's finest Leonardo da Vinci drawings has begun a UK tour for her 80th birthday.

The show, which opened on Saturday at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter, includes the artist's researches into anatomy.

The drawings include his depictions of dissected human corpses and designs for cannons, mortars and a canal.

The show will go on to Aberdeen, Leeds and Cardiff during the year.

The Renaissance master's works of art are among the greatest treasures in the Royal Collection, held in trust by the Queen.

Light exposure damage

They have been in the Royal Collection since the 17th Century and were probably acquired during the reign of Charles II.

However they cannot go on permanent display because of the damage that would be caused by the exposure to light.

The Queen will be 80 on 21 April and she is celebrating her birthday with a family dinner hosted by Prince Charles at Windsor Castle.

Her official birthday is marked on 17 June with the annual Trooping the Colour parade in central London, and several unique events, including a National Service of Thanksgiving.

The Queen will also attend a St Paul's Cathedral service on 15 June and members of the Royal Family will attend a service of thanksgiving at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on 23 April.

Buckingham Palace said the events were not intended to be a "mini-Jubilee".

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