I am not now and have never been a fan of royalty. I found the part of European history where I was supposed to memorize the order of the English kings and queens to be more annoying than fun. So, though I have wanted to tour the National Portrait Gallery here, I entered it with some trepidation.
I left rather pleasantly surprised. To be sure, the bulk of the portraits are of royals, and most of them left me cold. What I ended up quite liking, however, were many of the paintings of literary and scientific figures, as well as some of the sections that brought key moments in history to life.
For example, I was happy to get to study John Taylor's (we think) portrait of Shakespeare, which I've of course seen many times in reproduction.
Equally pleasing to see were portraits of John Donne
and Ben Jonson, looking more than a bit harried.
Whether you're a fan of royals or, like me, more in it for other historical figures, I recommend spending a few pleasant hours in the halls of the National Portrait Gallery.