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I’m Banksy’ Prince William admits to East End’s artists

PUBLISHED: 01:27 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:21 05 October 2010

William opens gallery (top) and meets 1960s' Op Art creator Bridget Riley

William opens gallery (top) and meets 1960s' Op Art creator Bridget Riley

PRINCE William unveiled his secret alter-ego when he officially opened the newly refurbished Whitechapel Gallery in London’s East End. The 26-year-old royal joked that he was elusive street artist Banksy whose graffiti stencils can be seen on walls in streets across London

By Victoria Huntley

PRINCE William unveiled his secret alter-ego when he officially opened the newly refurbished Whitechapel Gallery in London's East End.

The 26-year-old royal joked that he was elusive street artist Banksy whose graffiti stencils can be seen on walls in streets across London.

The Prince stood in front of a copy of Picasso’s famous pacifist painting Guernica and told a room full of artists, dignitaries, architects and trustees: “I want to admit to something-I'm actually Banksy and I'll be signing autographs in the foyer later.”

QUEEN MUM

The Whitechapel Gallery was important to him as his great-grandmother, the late Queen Mother, had opened the last extension nearly a-quarter-of-a-century ago in 1985.

“The gallery meant so much to her and now I can see why,” he said.

“People from far afield, from the local community and children of all ages are given the chance to experience art first hand.”

William, who studied history of art A-Level at Eton, was shown around by the gallery’s director Iwona Blazwick and was introduced to Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread.

GHETTO UNIVERSITY’

He also met architects Paul Robbrecht and Hilde Daen who designed the gallery’s extension when it took over the almost-as-famous Whitechapel Library next door when it close three years ago-often known as the university of the ghetto’ for its gathering of Jewish intellectuals in the 1930s.

William saw the birthplace of British Modernism on the first floor of the old library now housing The Whitechapel Boys exhibition dedicated to early 20th century Jewish artists, poets and thinkers such as Isaac Rosenberg, Jacob Epstein and David Bomberg.

The Prince seemed fascinated by 78-year-old Op Art painter Bridget Riley’s 1960s’ Cataract 3, who is famous for her optical illusions.


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