The Royal Gallery

Royal Gallery

The Royal Gallery is used for important occasions including state receptions, dinners and parliamentary ceremonies, often with Members of both Houses of Parliament present.

Originally called the Victoria Gallery, this is the largest room in the Palace of Westminster and was designed to be imposing. Almost every part of the Gallery is highly decorated, including the ceiling, wallpaper, wood panelling and floor tiles.

Royalty

Portraits of monarchs and their consorts from Georgian times to the present-day line the walls of the Gallery.

Beside the doorways and the bay window are the ‘Warrior Kings and Queens’: four pairs of gilded stone statues of monarchs such as Alfred the Great, Richard I, Henry V and Elizabeth I.

The stained-glass windows, which were damaged by bombs during the Second World War, have since been repaired and show the arms of the Kings of England and Scotland.

Wars

Two enormous paintings by Daniel Maclise depict significant moments from the Napoleonic Wars: the death of Horatio Nelson at Trafalgar and the meeting of the Duke of Wellington and Field Marshall Blücher prior to the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

A glass stand in the room commemorates the names of the 408 Members of the House of Lords who gave their lives during the two world wars. In front of this case is a block of timber from the jetty used during the evacuation of Dunkirk by the British Expeditionary Force in 1940.

Trials, receptions and addresses

The Royal Gallery saw several peers stand trial during the early 20th century, including Earl Russell in 1901 on the charge of bigamy and Lord de Clifford in 1935 for ‘motor manslaughter’.

Both Houses of Parliament presented addresses to George V on 19 November 1918 after the signing of the armistice, and to George VI on 17 May and 21 August 1945 upon the conclusion of the wars in Europe and the Pacific.

The Royal Gallery has hosted receptions for visiting foreign statesmen and dignitaries such as Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia in 1954 and Nikita Krushchev of the Soviet Union in 1956.

US Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton addressed both Houses here, and it was where Kofi Annan marked the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007 in a speech to Members of the Lords and the Commons. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and King Felipe VI of Spain have also addressed parliamentarians in this space.

Related information

See the Royal Gallery on a virtual tour of the House of Lords

Did you know?

Daniel Maclise used the Robing Room as his studio (and postal address) while completing his paintings in the Royal Gallery.