Royal reopening: The surprising reason Kate Middleton had to celebrate yesterday

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KATE Middleton may have had something to celebrate yesterday as the National Gallery became the first national museum in the UK to reopen.

Kate has close links to British art and also studied art history at university.

She has been honoured by the Royal Photographic Society for her own portraits, and in May this year teamed up with the separate National Portrait Gallery to run a community project that aims to collect photos of Britons under lockdown.

The National Gallery, located near Trafalgar Square, London, reopened today after a 111-day closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sadly though, Kate will have to wait a lot longer for the National Portrait Gallery – of which she is a patron – to reopen.

The National Portrait Gallery said in June this month that it would not reopen its doors until 2023, due to the lockdown closure coinciding with a planned refurbishment.

The gallery was initially supposed to close on June 29 for its £35.5 million redevelopment work before the pandemic shut down most of Britain, and had hoped to reopen before then, according to its director Nicholas Cullinan.

Kate Middleton laughing

Kate is known to have an interest in art since she studied art history at University. (Image: Aaron Chown / Pool / AFP / Getty)

Mr Cullinan added: “We understand how disappointing this will be for many people who had planned to visit the Gallery for a final time.”

The Duchess has closer links to that museum, and there is even a portrait of her on display there. It was painted by Pau Emsley in 2012.

Meanwhile, visitors to the National Gallery will be able to enjoy paintings that were not there before the pandemic closure, including Liotard’s The Lavergne Family Breakfast, dated to 1754.

For royal fans, there will also be a newly-restored Equestrian Portrait of Charles I by Van Dyck, dated to around 1637.

Front of the National Gallery

The National Gallery reopened yesterday after over 100 days. (Image: Vincenzo Lombardo / Getty)

In a statement, the Gallery said it had made the decision to reopen “based on government guidelines” and because it wanted to “reunite the nation” with its collection of art.

However, the Gallery has taken cues from European and American museums that have opened before it. As such, it says that all visits will need to be booked online and in advance.

This is so the museum can limit the number of people inside and reduce contact between them.

The Gallery said in a statement that visitors will have to enter through its Sainsbury Wing entrance and exit through the Getty entrance. There will also be 2m social distancing measures in place at all times.

Kate Middleton at the National Portrait Gallery

Kate Middleton at the National Portrait Gallery, 2016 (Image: Ian Gavan / WPA Pool / Getty)

The museum said it has also installed “higher efficiency” air filters into its air conditioning system and will increase the flow of fresh air through the building.

It appears as though this decision has now been reversed, and visitors will be able to visit once more.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said: “The prospect of reopening is hugely exciting. I believe there is also something symbolic in the Gallery’s reopening first among the national museums.

Kate Middleton painting

Kate Middleton painting a mural in Portsmouth, 2015. (Image: Samir Hussein / WireImage / Getty)

“We want to be a part of the nation’s recovery story and by opening the doors and letting the public back in to see our inspiring pictures, we want to make an important contribution to the process.”

Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden described the Gallery as a “national treasure” and said he was “delighted” that it would be the first to open its doors post-lockdown.

He added: “As our museums and galleries open, I am sure the British public will support them and help our precious cultural institutions bounce back.”

Source: EXPRESS CO UK