THE Queen was given an insight into York’s 800-year history since being granted a Royal Charter when she was shown some of the city’s most significant medieval artefacts.
She was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice of York for a tour of a new exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum which celebrates the city’s historic landmark anniversary.
Artefacts have been taken from across the city, including York Minster, and have been brought together under one roof for the first time for the 1212 – The Making of the City exhibition.
The Duke seemed particularly amused by a bare-bottomed mannequin which formed part of a fashion display. The Royal party was being given a tour of some clothes being modelled on mannequins when he spotted the revealing item. The outfits were designed by York College students who have taken inspiration from the museum’s medieval collection.
Natalie McCaul, who curated the exhibition, showed the Royal visitors around the displays yesterday. She claimed King John’s decision in 1212 to grant York the power to collect its own taxes was a pivotal moment in the city’s history.
She added: “York could now regulate its own affairs, collect its own taxes and even appoint a mayor. This paved the way for the success that was to flourish over the following centuries. In effect, it was the making of the city.”
The exhibition will open tomorrow and will tell the story of medieval York. Highlights include the York Helmet, the most outstanding object of the Anglo-Saxon period to survive in Europe, the Middleham Jewel, the finest piece of gothic jewellery found in Britain, and the remains of two shrines dedicated to St William – York’s own patron saint. It also includes medieval guild banners on loan from the Merchant Adventurers Hall and an original manuscript from the medieval Mystery Plays.