Opens at Kensington Palace, 26 March 2010 (until June 2012)
From March 2010, Kensington Palace will become the Enchanted Palace in a unique multisensory exhibition combining fashion, performance, and dazzling spectacle to reveal Kensington's magnificent State Apartments in a magical new light.
Independent charity Historic Royal Palaces is undertaking a £12 million major project to transform Kensington Palace by 2012. During this transition, acclaimed UK theatre company WILDWORKS will cast a spell over the palace, creating a mysterious and atmospheric world for visitors to explore, and bringing the hidden stories of the historic royal residence dramatically to life.
In the sumptuous State Apartments, leading fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and illustrator/set designer Echo Morgan will each create spectacular installations in collaboration with WILDWORKS, taking inspiration from Kensington Palace and the princesses who once lived there - Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. These extraordinary contemporary designs will be displayed alongside historic items from the Royal Collection and Kensington Palace's Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, together with two dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret.
The complex and mysterious world of the royal court will be opened up through spectacular installations, interactive theatre, intimate storytelling, soundscapes, haunting film projections, and a series of intriguing clues hidden throughout the historic rooms, revealing tales of love and hate, surprise and sadness, secrets and jealousy.
Each room will have a powerful story to tell about Kensington Palace's former royal residents and the life of the court - a world within a world, with its own time and rituals.
Historic Royal Palaces Curator Alexandra Kim commented, "This is an innovative animated exhibition, set against the backdrop of the magnificent State Apartments, and offers a truly unique opportunity to discover the hidden stories of Kensington Palace. Featuring specially commissioned contemporary fashion installations woven into fascinating tales from the palaces history, The Enchanted Palace will enable visitors to explore the extraordinary lives of Kensington's former royal residents."
WILDWORKS Producer Bill Mitchell said, "We have found the stories of the palace incredibly inspiring, they're like true fairy tales - the rebellious princess who was so universally loved that, when she died in childbirth, London ran out of black mourning fabric; the little sickly prince who played peashooters with his uncle, the king; the court that kept a wild feral boy as a pet; the young princess who wept for three days when told she had to marry a man twice her age; the two friends who had a quarrel that caused deaths, changed the fortunes of great families and the map of Europe. Its such rich material for art and theatre - to be exploring these stories in the rooms where they took place is thrilling."
The Enchanted Palace is inspired by the £12 million major project that will transform the visitor experience at 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 palaces rich past and unique collections. This project, Welcome to Kensington a palace for everyone, will be completed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces in June 2012, in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.
For more information, factsheets, images or interviews, please contact Ruth Howlett at the Historic Royal Palaces press office: 020 3166 6338/6166 or
A press preview of the Enchanted Palace will be held on 25 March 2010.