HM King Charles III renews his patronage of BFI

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L:R - HMK Charles III at opening of BFI IMAX 11 June 1999; HMK Charles III visits BFI Southbank 6 December 2018 with David Oyelowo OBE, Ben Roberts, BFI CEO.

The BFI (British Film Institute) has announced that His Majesty King Charles III has retained his Patronage of the organisation, the UK’s lead body for film and the moving image and responsible for preserving the Royal Collection of film in the BFI National Archive.

Today’s announcement also marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of BFI IMAX in Waterloo, London where King Charles III (then Prince Charles) cut the ribbon on 11 June 1999.

BFI by Royal Appointment

A registered charity founded in 1933, the BFI has been governed by Royal Charter since 1983.

In 2018 His Majesty visited the BFI Southbank to celebrate 40 years as the BFI’s Patron (see main pic), where he met employees including Chief Executive Ben Roberts, BFI Film Academy alumni and British film talent including actors Ruth Wilson, Hayley Atwell, David Oyelowo OBE and BFI Ambassador Tom Hiddleston.

The King was shown Peter Sellers’ script from The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), with handwritten notes by the comic actor, and promotional material from The Pink Panther, one of his favourite films.

Representatives from the institute joined a reception to celebrate the work of His Majesty’s Patronages, Charities and Military affiliations at Buckingham Palace which also coincided with his 70th Birthday in May 2018.

In 2019 His Majesty met BFI Film Academy Future Skills Traineeship alumni at Pinewood Studios on the set of the James Bond film No Time To Die.

Most recently, in May 2024 representatives from the BFI and guests from the film world, including director Sir Ridley Scott and Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy, attended the Sovereign’s Creative Industries Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: ‘We are honoured to have the Royal Patronage of HM King Charles III and grateful for the support he has already given us as Patron as The Prince of Wales for 45 years, showing his commitment and passion for film along the way.

“We take our responsibility for caring for the Royal Collection in the BFI National Archive very seriously and are dedicated to ensuring it is preserved for generations to come.”

The BFI preserves the Royal Collection of film. The film collection dates from 1931 with more than 1,000 individual reels of film.

For decades the BFI National Archive has cared for this unique and personal collection, using the specialist skills of its archivists and controlled storage environment in its Master Film Store required to help the long-term preservation of archive film.

Recent BBC feature documentaries, Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen (2022) and Charles R: The Making of a Monarch (2023) have presented material from the Royal Film Collection.

A team of film conservation specialists from the institute collectively examined and viewed original film reels, to assist with the development of the BBC programmes and to prepare for the digital restoration process of selected reels including personal home cine movies shot by George VI, HM The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the royal household.

All the newly created 4K digital files for these programmes have been preserved in the BFI’s Digital Preservation Archive for future generations.