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