The King and Queen will Mark the Windrush 75th Anniversary

A statue designed by Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson, unveiled by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Waterloo Station, to mark the Windrush generation, 2022.
A statue designed by Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson, unveiled by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Waterloo Station, to mark the Windrush generation, 2022.


Wednesday 14th June 2023

Their Majesties The King and Queen will host a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Windrush Generation and mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush.

The King and Queen will unveil ten portraits of Windrush elders, newly commissioned by His Majesty. The portraits will be unveiled in the presence of the sitters, their families, and the artists. Their Majesties will then meet the project’s supporters and will join a group photograph of the artists and the sitters, before meeting other guests at the reception.

The Windrush Portraits Project
His Majesty, as Prince of Wales, commissioned the Windrush portraits in 2022, acknowledging the tremendous impact of the Windrush Generation on the United Kingdom. The sitters were selected by the Windrush Portraits Committee, appointed by His Majesty and chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin, OM DBE, along with Paulette Simpson, CBE, Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, MBE and Rudolph Walker CBE. The portraits were undertaken by Black artists personally selected by His Majesty.

In 1998 His Majesty, as Prince of Wales, led the way during national Windrush celebrations by hosting a reception in the state apartments at St James’s Palace to mark the 50th anniversary of Windrush. His Majesty (then HRH) believed it was important to mark the contribution made by the Windrush Generation to British society.

In his speech on that occasion, the former Prince of Wales said, “I attach huge importance to the distinctive contribution which you, your families and the wider black community make to British life”.

In 2020, His Majesty as Prince of Wales sent a message of thanks to Britain’s Caribbean community on Windrush Day. The full video can be found here:

BBC Arts Documentary
On 6th June 2023, BBC Arts announced a 75-minute documentary to commemorate National Windrush Day, entitled ‘Windrush: Portraits of a Generation’. The documentary will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on 22nd June 2023 (Windrush Day).

Throughout the programme, viewers will hear testimony from the sitters, about their experiences of arriving in Britain. The film also follows the making of the portraits, as artist and sitter come together, with the artists reflecting on their own experience of undertaking this special commission.

Royal Collection Trust Exhibition
Following the reception, the ten Windrush portraits, part of the Royal Collection, will go on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh from 22nd June to 16th October 2023, and at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace from 10 November 2023 to 14 April 2024, in an exhibition entitled ‘Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation’. Further locations may be added in due course.

Thursday 22nd June 2023

His Majesty The King will attend a service for young people to recognise and celebrate the Windrush 75th anniversary at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The congregation in St George’s Chapel will be made up of 300 young people from schools across England as well as representatives from the Prince’s Trust, the Prince’s Foundation, Project Zero and the Amos bursary.

A choir from St Martin-in-the-Fields High School for Girls will sing, and poetry will be recited by school children. Students from the Royal Drawing School will capture the proceedings on paper.

Following the service, His Majesty will meet members of the congregation and the choir.

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