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Detail from a portrait of the marriage of Princess Helena

The history of Royal weddings as seen through items in the Royal Collection

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92)

The Marriage of George III 1761

RCIN 404353

Library, Kew Palace

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The sketch shows the interior of the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace with, on the left, Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury blessing King George III and Queen Charlotte at the altar. Thomas Hayter, Bishop of London, stands on the right.

This work shows that not all depictions of Royal weddings were officially commissioned. It was one of two produced by Reynolds in an attempt to gain the King's attention, but despite being appointed Principal Painter to the King in 1784, he was never asked to paint anything. This work remained in Reynolds' studio, and was probably acquired for the Royal Collection by Queen Victoria.