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July 02, 2018 09:41 AM

Prince Charles is celebrating his 70th birthday with the release of private family portraits that will be included in a palace exhibit this summer.

The poignant sketches — some of which have never been seen before — were created during the formal portrait process. Included in the collection are preparatory oil sketches of Prince William and Prince Harry, created by Nicky Phillipps as she painted Charles’ sons for their first official portrait together in 2009.

The oil paintings usually hang on the walls of Highgrove, the private residence of Charles, 69, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and will go on public display for the first time during the summer opening of Buckingham Palace in a special exhibit called Prince & Patron.

Prince William
Royal Collection Trust
Prince Harry
Royal Collection Trust

Charles will also display an oil sketch of his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother by Michael Noakes as he prepared a painting to mark the silver wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1972.

The Queen Mother
Royal Collection Trust
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In a specially-recorded message for visitors to the palace, Charles says he “acquired it from the artist as I felt it brilliantly captured her likeness and, above all, reminds me of the essence of her personality. I admire it often when in residence at Clarence House.”

Charles has also revealed a special pencil sketch study by Bryan Organ for his 1983 portrait of his father, Prince Philip, 97. The final painting hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

Prince Philip
Royal Collection Trust

This year’s summer opening of Buckingham Palace, from July 21 to September 30, (tickets can be purchased from the Royal Collection) is themed around Charles’ upcoming 70th birthday in November and brings together over 100 works of art selected by him from both the Royal Collection, his own collection and created by artists supported by three of his charities – the Royal Drawing School, The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts and Turquoise Mountain.

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