On Thursday, The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Royal Academy of Arts to view the newly-opened learning facilities, which seeks to assist in the academy’s educational programmes. Camilla couldn’t resist joining in on a life-drawing class whilst there.
Camilla took a tour of the new facilities, including the 250-seat Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, the Clore Learning Centre and the restoration of the Wolfson British Academy Room. The reformations aimed to mark the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary in 2018.
Founded by King George III in 1768, the Royal Academy seeks to promote the creation and enjoyment of the visual arts and architecture through exhibitions, education and debate.
The Duchess took over the Friends of the Royal Academy patronage from The Duke of Edinburgh in 2016, and is also the academy’s first patron. The Friends of the Royal Academy support the institution, which receives no government funding, to conserve the works of cultural heritage it looks after, and assist the next generation of artists.
During the visit, the Duchess met pupils from Roe Green Junior School, who were enjoying an arts workshop in the renovated Clore Learning Centre. The Academy has an extensive programme of events with the aim of encouraging the understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts in schools, providing free talks and workshops for over 11,000 children and 1,200 families. There are also over 600 free public events and tours per year.
In the Wolfson British Academy Room, Camilla watched a class run by the artist group Portugal Prints, for adults with mental health difficulties. The group, which is part of Westminster Mind, is a collective of artists based in Camden, that provides a therapeutic environment for those living with mental health issues.
During the class, the Duchess met Zoe Simon, the model who was posing for the students, and added that she didn’t realise it was a real model at first, and joked saying “with clothes on!”.
The future Queen Consort also listened to a piece of music performed by the students of the Royal College of Music. The piece was composed in response to the Royal Academy historical collection.
At the end of the visit, The Duchess of Cornwall toured the new Collection Gallery, which featured two works by the rival painters JMW Turner and John Constable. The works are being displayed for the first time at the Royal Academy of Arts since 1832.
Prior to the Royal Academy visit, the Royal attended at a service of thanksgiving for the life and work of former foreign secretary, Lord Carrington; this took place at Westminster Abbey.
Later that evening, Camilla was a guest of honour at a dinner for the English and Welsh wine industry at the Vintners Hall. Camilla is patron of the British Winegrowers’ Association and enjoys a tipple herself.