A princess runs through a dark wood

In the Enchanted Palace, we’ve re-imagined the lives of seven princesses who once lived at Kensington Palace in the style of fairytales.

Click on the links to below to read and download these moving stories.

Seven new tales of enchantment…

Written by Mercedes Kemp of WILDWORKS, these have been interpreted by the fashion designers and form the basis of the spectacular installations and performances that fill the State Apartments. They preserve a sense of the strange and mysterious world of the Royal Court, whilst emphasising the very human worries, pressures and sadnesses of its inhabitants.

Below are excerpts from the stories, click on the links to read or download the full versions.

A Sleepwalking Princess

Her feet are dirty and raw
as if from dancing in the woods all night
without permission.

Read the full fairytale 

Caroline and the Knowledge of the World

This princess
sets out to collect the world.
From her Royal Chamber
she can tame
the wild profusion
of existing things.

Read the full fairytale

A  Manual for a Princess

To be
a beautiful princess
in the silvery woods,
wearing out
your slippers
with the joy of it:
This is
what you were born for.

Read the full fairytale

A Beautiful Friendship

When friends so fast part forever
their bitter words etch through the walls
and leave a trace.
You can hear them still.

Read the full fairytale

Charlotte at the King’s Staircase

She was running towards love
and dancing with death all her life.

Read the full fairytale

The Blue Room

There is a Maid of the Royal Tears.
There is a Woman of the Royal Sorrows.
There is a Lady of the Royal Joys.

Read the full fairytale

The Last Princess

This princess
passes all the tests
for princessness.

Read the full fairytale

Listen to the fairytales

Three of the Enchanted Palace fairytales are available to listen to and download.

Listen now

The history of fairytales

Princesses, wicked step-mothers, talking animals, fantastical creatures, magic spells and happy endings: fairytales have been a feature of almost every society throughout history.

Once upon a time...

As children, we are captivated by tales of strange worlds with mystical rules and impossible inhabitants. As adults, we are fascinated by their simple telling of often complex messages about the world and moral instructions on how to live in it.
But it hasn’t always been ‘happily ever after’ for this type of story. Individual fairytales have their roots in the oral tradition where centuries-old tales were spoken, or even acted out, and the act of telling these almost certainly pre-dates the oldest known examples from a thousand years ago.

Early written versions – in the west, most notably in the 18th century by Madame d'Aulnoy, Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm – attempted to preserve the plot, characters and styles of the traditional versions. These are notably darker in their tone than the ‘fairytale endings’ of Disney-style contemporary renditions. And whilst fairy tales understandably assume local colour, there are similar plots, characters and styles which span cultures, continents and centuries.

Academics argue about exactly what constitutes a fairytale as well as what they actually mean, but there’s one thing that can’t be denied – fairytales have certainly not lost their power to enchant us.

The end...

About Enchanted Palace

Kensington Palace has been enchanted. Journey through this magical experience weaving contemporary fashion, performance, stunning light installations and tales of the princesses who once lived there, all set against the backdrop of the magnificent State Apartments. In association with WILDWORKS. Click here to find out more >

Peter the Wild Boy's blog

Wild Boy's blog imageFor an irreverent digital guide to the Enchanted Palace - including exclusive content featuring the fashion, fairytale and 300 years of palace gossip - follow Peter’s blog or find him on Facebook or Twitter.

The transformation of Kensington Palace

A watercolour image showing the transformation of the entrance to Kensington Palace'Welcome to Kensington - a palace for everyone' is a £12 million major project to transform Kensington Palace by improving accessibility, introducing new education and community facilities, reconnecting the palace with the surrounding park through new public gardens, and enabling us to present exciting exhibitions inspired by the palace's rich past and unique collections. Click here for more information >

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