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Music in the Royal Collection

Many members of the royal family were talented musicians

A group surrounds a harpsichord playing instruments

Throughout the centuries, many members of the royal family have had very personal relationships with music. Often, they were not satisfied to be mere patrons of leading composers and musicians of the day, but were keen musicians themselves.

Click on a chapter to explore what musical instruments, paintings, drawings, sculptures, furniture, and archival material in the Royal Collection can tell us about music and the monarchy, or view these short films on selected instruments in the Collection:

See a selection of instruments being played

A showpiece piece for the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace

The Erard Piano

Howard Shelley OBE plays the piano

Chopin's 'Nocturne in E flat major'

The Erard Piano at the BBC Proms

Steven Hough plays the Erard piano at the BBC Proms in 2019

The organ in Buckingham Palace's Ballroom

The Lincoln Organ

Martyn Noble from the Chapel Royal introduces this piece

An 18th century porcelain flute

Meissen Flute

Ashley Solomon explains the unique sound

One of the earliest surviving harpsichord from the Swiss master-craftsman

Burkat Shudi Harpsichord

Laurence Cummings plays this Harpsichord from Kew Palace

Bequethed to Prince Albert in 1846

Dragonetti's Basse de Violon

Chi-chi Nwanoku plays in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace

Explore the sections below

Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707–51)

Frederick used art and music to establish himself at court

This painting (unlike Zoffany’s earlier interior portraits of royal children) was evidently conceived as a public conversation piece, immediately engraved by Richard Earlom (1743-1822), published 29 October 1770, and exhibited at the Royal Academy.
George III (1738–1820) and Queen Charlotte (1744–1818)

For George III and Queen Charlotte music was of great importance

George IV in 1821, two years before he turned his attention to refurbishing Windsor. RCIN 405918
George IV (1762–1830)

George's love of pomp and ceremony extended to music

Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and Prince Albert (1819–61)

Pianos were the main focus of their music-making at home

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.