LONDON, Feb 15 — Westminster Abbey has announced a June opening for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, where it will display its treasures in a loft-like space that has never before been seen by the public.
The galleries will be located in the Abbey’s medieval Triforium, in a space that is more than 50 feet above the Abbey floor and which was once said to boast “the best view in Europe” by former UK poet laureate John Betjeman.
To enable access to the space, a new tower has been built outside Poets’ Corner, between the Abbey’s 13th-century Chapter House and 16th-century Lady Chapel. Called the Weston Tower, it is the first major addition to the Abbey church since 1745 and takes its inspiration from the Abbey’s building style, while offering new views of the Palace of Westminster.
Inside the galleries, visitors will learn about the thousand-year history of the Abbey through a display of 300 objects divided into four themes covering the building of the Abbey, worship and daily life, the monarchy and the Abbey’s role as a place of commemoration and remembrance.
Among highlights of the objects on display will be the oldest surviving altarpiece in England from Henry III’s Abbey, Mary II’s Coronation Chair (1689) and the marriage licence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (2011).
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries will open to the public on June 11. (www.westminster-abbey.org/visit-us/galleries) — AFP-Relaxnews