This summer, the National Railway Museum in York is celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a “Royals on Rails” exhibition and a season of royal-themed activities.
The exhibition runs until 4th September in the museum’s Highlights Gallery that overlooks the Great Hall. It features a selection of unique objects from the collection with a royal connection. A specially commissioned film explores the link between royal patronage and the development of the railways and provides a glimpse inside the museum’s collection of royal carriages.
Six royal carriages are on permanent display in Station Hall, including Queen Victoria’s grand 1869 saloon and one of Queen Elizabeth’s former carriages from the royal train.
Queen Elizabeth’s carriage was built during the Second World War and was designed to give maximum protection to its royal occupants. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother frequently travelled around the country to boost morale. To keep them safe on their journeys, the carriage was fitted with armour plating and shutters over the windows. Details of the carriage were kept secret until after the war.
After her accession in 1952, the carriage became the personal saloon of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II until 1977 when it was replaced. After withdrawal, the carriage joined the museum’s collection.
Visitors can learn about how the railways have changed during the Queen’s 70-year reign, take part in hands-on activities, and enjoy free talks by the museum’s learning team.
During the May half term until 5th June, free learning activities will be on offer. These include the opportunity to learn about shapes while making flags and bunting, to create a royal railway track, and to get moving with the family-friendly Flux Education Theatre in Station Hall on 1st, 4th and 5th June.
On Wednesday, 1st June, visitors can see conservation in action. They can watch the museum’s conservation team carry out work on the royal carriages, whilst will be experts on hand to answer questions.
To find out more, visit: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/platinum-jubilee-holiday
Liv Mills, Exhibitions Project Manager, said:
“The continued use of rail travel by the royal family marked a growing shift towards how we imagine the monarchy: visible, ceremonial, and travelling in luxury. The new exhibition Royals on Rails will enable visitors to admire the exquisite royal carriages and to take a glimpse inside the rooms in which royal duties were conducted.”