What we do

What we do

Tower of London

In a world that's more uncertain than ever, people are searching for roots, foundations, anchors. They want to understand how the past shaped the present. And they want to protect the things they value. In this world, Historic Royal Palaces has a unique role to play.

We look after five extraordinary palaces

Each is symbolic of Britain, and all have world significance. Once they were only for the privileged; now everyone can visit.

They're not just places but palaces: buildings where monarchs and their courts lived, and where history was made. These palaces witnessed many of the defining moments of our nation, and collectively they explain much of the nation’s story.

We give these palaces continuing life. We welcome people, we stage events, we entertain. We have a continuous ability – that goes back into the history of our palaces – to engage, to enchant and to put on a great show.

All of this adds up to a huge responsibility.

A responsibility not only for the buildings, but also for the story that lives in them.

Our Cause

Our Cause is to help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.

Keeping the story alive

The things we look after – both tangible and intangible – are fragile. To keep the story alive, we believe in four principles:

Guardianship

We exist for tomorrow, not just yesterday. Our job is to give these palaces a future as valuable as their past. We know how precious they and their contents are, and we aim to conserve them to the standard they deserve: the best.

Discovery

We explain the bigger picture, and then encourage people to make their own discoveries, in particular, to find links with their own lives and the world today.

Showmanship

We do everything with panache. Palaces have always been places of spectacle, beauty, majesty and pageantry, and we are proud to continue that tradition.

Independence

We have a unique task and our own point of view. We challenge ourselves to find new ways to do our work. We are a financially independent charity and we welcome everyone who can support us in our Cause.

We tell stories

These are palaces where a thousand years of history have been made. Kings and queens, politicians and servants, rogues and rebels, craftsmen and traders, philosophers and philanderers, guards and gardeners. Strategy, intrigue, ambition, romance, devotion and disaster. The beginnings and the turning points of a nation. World-changing events, and the minutiae of everyday domestic life. The grand sweep, and the private moments.

Our job is to protect both the palaces and the life in them.

To unravel, debate and continue the story.

To help people see, touch and understand it.

To reflect the story to the people of Britain, and project it to the people of the world.

To help everyone find their own meanings.

To help them make history where history was made.

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Timeline of our palaces

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Browse through 1000 years of history and discover the stories that connect our palaces.

Our palaces: An interactive timeline