HRH The Princess Royal was Principal guest of honour at a very special Gala Dinner in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, last night, 15 May 2019.
The event, the last in the Painted Hall’s reopening season and hosted by The Greenwich Foundation, celebrated the completion of the conservation of Thornhill’s 20-year masterpiece, over 40,000 square foot of art, often called Britain’s Sistine Chapel.
Guests enjoyed a dinner reception proceeded by a Beating Retreat Performance in the grounds of Old Royal Naval College by The Royal Marines band and Corps of Drums, CTCRM, Lympstone. HRH The Princess Royal was present to take the salute attended by Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Ben Bathurst and representing the First Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Jeremy Kyd. She met with dignitaries under the colonnades of Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificent landmark buildings.
The Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Choir delighted guests with a superb performance as they entered the glorious Painted Hall for formal dinner. During the evening, there was entertainment by the Royal Marines Jazz band and Art Historian and TV presenter, Mr. Andrew Graham Dixon, gave a speech. Her Royal Highness also spoke with enthusiasm about the historic connections of the Royal family with the site.
Young people from the Greenwich, Deptford and Rotherhithe Sea Cadets were on parade and on hand to greet dinner guests who included senior personnel from the Royal Navy.
Tony Hales CBE, Chair of the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College, said:
“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness was present to help us celebrate and preside over the spectacular proceeding of the night. She epitomises the historic connection between the Royal family, the Royal Navy and this magnificent site by the River Thames – a history spanning over five centuries.”
The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich reopened to the public on 23 March 2019 after a two-year conservation project funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund amongst other donors, which has brought its magnificent painted interior vividly back to life.
Everyone can now discover the 500 Years of History Tour & Painted Hall. Tickets offer unlimited re-entry for a year after purchase and children 16 and under go free and includes a multimedia guide, expert talks throughout the day and free kids activities. Local school groups will continue to visit for free as part of the schools and education programme.
The Old Royal Naval College’s extensive grounds, Visitor Centre, Chapel and the King William Undercroft are accessible to all visitors for free. The Painted Hall remains as accessible to as many people as possible with its ‘Pay as you wish’ every first Wednesday of each month.