Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames

Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum: 27 April–9 September 2012

Magnificent gilded barges, liverymen in their finest uniforms, the splendour of lavish celebrations: the Thames is the ‘royal river’, used for centuries by British monarchs to involve the people in ceremony and festivities displaying their regal status. For hundreds of years this famous river has been host to the pageantry of coronations, processions of boats, and other events which helped tie people closer to the Crown and to London as Britain’s capital.

This exhibition, a landmark heritage event of the year, brings together nearly 400 beautiful, fascinating and often unique objects, including one of the largest-ever loans of Royal Collection objects to any museum. Created to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and guest-curated by historian David Starkey, Royal River presents the historic Thames in all its glory, from British royal and City events to London’s famous watermen, and the river’s transformation after the notorious ‘Great Stink’.

Make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime moment during the Diamond Jubilee year and see the spectacular story of the Thames brought to life at Greenwich.

Main image: Detail from ‘The Thames on Lord Mayor’s Day, looking towards the City and St Paul’s Cathedral’, before 1752, Canaletto, The Lobkowicz Collections, Czech Republic.

Visitors to London Bridge station can now see a 30m-long version of the Canaletto painting gracing a temporary wall at the new station entrance. Find out more

*Family tickets: 1 adult + up to 2 children £14.50; 2 adults + up to 2 children £24.50; additional children £3 (max 4 per family)

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