The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries open to the public today, June 11, 2018, after they were officially opened by The Queen on Friday.
Together with The Prince of Wales, The Queen was escorted on a tour of the "new" Galleries named in her honour. They're located in a part of Westminster Abbey that's been around for some 700 years, but has never been opened to the public before, so "new" is perhaps not the right word!
The new galleries are set more than 16 metres above the Abbey's floor in the medieval Triforium and will display 300 objects from the Abbey collection, many of them for the first time. Included are the funeral effigy head of Henry VII and something a little more modern – the marriage licence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The space was previously used for storage, but after a $32.5 million renovation, it's now a museum with incredible views into the Abbey and outside to surrounding London. Indeed, English poet John Betjeman once described the triforium as having "the best view in Europe".
According to the Westminster Abbey website, the Dean of Westminster said at Friday's official opening: "We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Galleries. The views are breathtaking; the space astonishing; the displays fascinating. The visitor will gain far greater insight into the life and history of the Abbey than ever before. The fulfilment of this vision is a shared achievement with so many people involved. We are profoundly grateful."
The website also advises: " The Galleries are a medieval space where room is limited so admission is by timed ticket, which is bought in combination with an Abbey entry ticket. If you're planning to visit the Galleries from 11th June – 31st July, tickets will be available on the door on the day of entry. Tickets are only available in conjunction with an Abbey ticket and access is timed. Entry tickets for August onwards will be made available online in early July."