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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Queen's treasures open to world
Queen's gallery
The expansion of the Queen's gallery cost 20m
The Queen is opening a new public art gallery at Buckingham Palace as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The 20m expansion to the Queen's gallery is the most significant addition to the Palace in 150 years.

Its first exhibition, called Royal Treasures: A Golden Jubilee Celebration, features 450 items from the Royal Collection - among them, Lucian Freud's controversial portrait of The Queen.

Other paintings on display include Monet's Study of Rocks and Van Dyck's portrait of Charles I.

stamps
The Queen's Diamond Diadem appears on stamps
The exhibition, which opens to the public on Wednesday, also includes the Queen's Diamond Diadem, made for George IV's Coronation in 1821 and recognised by millions as the ornament worn by the Queen on British coins and stamps.

The Royal Collection is made up of paintings, drawings, furniture, porcelain, silver, sculpture, jewellery, books, arms and armour, and textiles.

It is held in trust by the Queen as sovereign for her successors and for the nation, and is not owned by her as a private individual.

The new gallery was funded by public admissions to Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh, and through merchandising.

'World's best'

The royal collection, which many people says is among the best art collections in the world, contains works reflecting the personal tastes of monarchs over the last 500 years.

The new Queen's Gallery is approached through a portico with 10 solid Portland stone columns leading to a double-height entrance hall and staircase.

On the upper level there are seven galleries displaying works of art.

There is also a multimedia room on the lower level with seven computer kiosks providing information about items in the collection.

A programme about the gallery, called Royal Treasures, will be shown on BBC One on Sunday 26 May at 1900 BST

See also:

21 May 02 | Entertainment
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