Beginning today, some Royal Residences reopen to the public after a delay brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. At Windsor Castle, a scarcely seen exhibit will reopen, allowing public access to art with close ties to Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret's experience during the Second World War era.

The Royal Family and Royal Collection Trust revealed the news on Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at Windsor Castle during WWII

On social media, the Royal Family unveiled the rare views of pantomime character portraits that were painted after the sisters relocated to Windsor Castle during the Blitz in 1940. Originally, a series of portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence were displayed, but they were removed during wartime "for safe keeping."

New portraits were commissioned in their place. Save for one previous occasion, these special WWII-era portraits remained hidden upon the return of Lawrence's originals in the postwar years. Today, the royals shared a preview of what's to come at the exhibit of the 16 works — and why it's meaningful to the Queen.

As the Royal Family's post reveals, Elizabeth—in her late teens—and Margaret—approaching her early teens—participated in pantomimes in the same Waterloo Chambers to raise funds during the war era. The new exhibit no doubt carries nostalgic meaning for the Queen as a result.

Windsor Castle to offer glimpse into Queen's war-era life

Some of the royal sisters' early 1940s pantomime productions included Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Characters from these stories are featured in the portraits, which tourists and visitors can now take in at Windsor Castle.

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret's pantomimes raised money for the Royal Household Wool Fund, which "supplied yarn to make blankets for soldiers fighting at the Front," per the Royal Family.

In addition to Windsor Castle, The Royal Mews and the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace reopen on July 23. The Palace of Holyroodhouse joins them in reopening, but the state rooms at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House will remain closed due to "the operational challenges of social distancing."

The pantomime exhibit at the Waterloo Chambers reopens for the first time since 1992, when fundraising was needed following the Windsor Castle fire. Similarly, the Royal Collection Trust is today noted to have lost significant income due to the tourism shutdown amid the pandemic. Earlier this month, the RCT also launched a Buckingham Palace Gin in an effort to recoup funds.

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