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Royals

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Meaning & Analysis

Tracey Emin is one of the leading figures of contemporary British Art, having come to prominence as part of Charles Saatchi’s Young British Group at the end of the 1990s. Emin’s Royals collection attests to the artist's notoriety within the highest ranks of British society, with both HRH Royal Brittania (2012) and The Kiss (2011) being produced to celebrate royal events - in the first case, Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and in the second case the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

In 2007, Emin was elected a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and four years later the artist was appointed Professor of Drawing. In 2011, the artist met Queen Elizabeth II for the first time, and the two interacted in front of a Turner painting. In 2012, in anticipation of her Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II asked members of the Royal Academy to present her with a portfolio of works on paper to celebrate the recurrence. Together with other 104 works on paper, Emin’s HRH Royal Britannia was gifted to the monarch and has been part of the Royal Collection Trust ever since.

Not even one year later, Emin received her CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services in the arts at Buckingham Palace. In response to this accolade and honour, the artist declared: "For me, this honour is a symbol of how art can change people's perception of life and view the world in a different way … Art is a great enabler … It has helped me to achieve many things throughout my life and through my daily life to help many other people.”

Simple and yet evocative of pivotal moments of British national history, Emin’s works featuring Royals are some of the most unique and rare of Emin’s production, and speak to the artist’s engagement with the British public and political life as well as to her national fame and notoriety.