Ticketed

Essential Information

Type Exhibitions
Location
Queen's House
Date and Times Open daily until 31 December | 10am-5pm
Prices Free | Online booking recommended

Three portraits, one historic exhibition: see the Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I for free at the Queen’s House in Greenwich. 

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I is one of the most iconic portraits in British history.

Three versions of the painting survive, each offering a subtly different depiction of Queen Elizabeth I at the height of her power.

Now, for the first time in their 430-year history, these three works are on public display together.

Witness history being made at the Queen’s House Art Gallery.

Exhibition closes 31 December 2021

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Inside the exhibition

The Armada Portrait was painted to commemorate the most famous conflict in Elizabeth I’s reign: the failed attempt by the Spanish Armada to invade England in 1588.

This free exhibition brings together the three surviving versions of the historic painting.

Royal Museums Greenwich will showcase its own version of the Armada Portrait alongside the two other works: one from the National Portrait Gallery, the other from the world famous private art collection at Woburn Abbey.

Faces of a Queen gives visitors a once-in-a-generation chance to see three of the greatest depictions of Elizabeth I together.

Plan your visit

Tickets and Opening

Free
Advance booking recommended

Open daily

10am-5pm

  • Greenwich Station
  • Cutty Sark DLR
  • Maze Hill Station
  • Greenwich Pier
About the three portraits

All three surviving versions are believed to have been made shortly after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, each by different artists or studios.

While the three paintings share the same essential pattern, each work contains subtle differences that hint at their unique histories. Tap the arrows to learn more.

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The Greenwich portrait

The Royal Museums Greenwich Armada Portrait, which was previously owned by descendants of Sir Francis Drake, was saved for the nation in 2016 as the result of a major public appeal.

Once acquired, the portrait underwent complex conservation work in which several layers of old varnish were removed, more fully revealing the painting’s intricate detail and vibrant colours.

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The Woburn Abbey portrait

The Woburn Abbey portrait remains the only version of the three that maintains the complete seascapes as they were painted in the 16th century. The portrait is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, and has been in the family for centuries.

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The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery painting has been in public ownership since 1765. Unlike the two other portraits, this work has been cut down, truncating the seascapes in the background and resulting in a more vertical format. Both the date of when this alteration occurred and the reasons behind it remain a mystery.

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A Proposal for Radical Hospitality 

A new sound installation by composer Peter Adjaye comes to the Queen’s Presence Chamber.  

Created in response to The Armada Portrait, the work traces the painting’s legacies of empire and the roots of the transatlantic slave trade. 

Find out more

Choose your tickets

Queen's House

  • Guaranteed entry time
  • Guided route
  • Faces of a Queen exhibition
  • Woburn Treasures exhibition
Free entry
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Member tickets

  • Free Museums entry
  • Priority booking
  • Membership card number required
Advance booking recommended
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National Maritime Museum

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  • Unlimited entry all year
  • Royal Observatory
  • Cutty Sark
  • Planetarium Shows
  • Special exhibitions
Direct Debit One-off
Individual: £50 Individual: £60
Family: from £65 Family: from £75
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