The history of the monarchy is to be told through royal works of art for a BBC radio series marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Lavish objects, family photographs and ancient artefacts from palaces have been brought to life by experts in the new Radio 4 programmes honouring the Queen’s 60-year reign, which is celebrated next year.
The Royal Collection has collaborated with the BBC allowing access to the objects in “their natural habitat” and still being used for their original purpose hundreds of years after being made.
Highlights include a magnificent George IV candelabrum used last week at a state banquet for the Turkish president and a book written by Henry VIII in defence of Roman Catholicism.
A provocative painting of Queen Victoria, commissioned by her as a surprise present for her husband Prince Albert, is also featured along with a delicate portrait of a woman by Leonardo da Vinci.
Will Gompertz, the BBC’s arts editor, will present The Art of Monarchy series – eight half-hour programmes which will be broadcast from February.
He said: “The story this series will tell us is the story of the monarchy and just as the British monarchy is one of the defining characteristics of our country so the Royal Collection, accumulated over five centuries, is a physical embodiment of all that history.
“The works of art that have been chosen for this series (represent) an amazing diversity of creativity – from the tapestries woven for Henry VIII, to portraits...and photography to the work of Leonardo, to the gold state coach of George III.”