Lee Prosser

Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Queen Charlotte's Cottage 


My role...I am part of the curatorial team which cares for the buildings and contents of our five palaces (and one cottage).  My responsibilities cover Kensington Palace and Kew Palace with Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, though we help one another, if we have a particular specialism.  My role is to research the palace, and to keep a close eye on any alterations or development.

My day...Each and every day I think -‘ what am I going to find out today',  because no two days are ever alike. That’s the beauty of these marvellous buildings:  they generously dish up new morsels of interest every time you visit, whether to a visitor or a willing captive like me. 

Highlights...An inexhaustible supply of food for the soul. Sometimes I’m sitting in my office with a sandwich and a cup of coffee and I have to stop myself and remember – ‘you work in some of the greatest palaces ever built’. So instead of staring at my computer screen, I go and marvel at the skills of the wood-carvers, stonemasons, ironworkers, bricklayers and gardeners who have left their mark.

Lowlights...Being asked impossible questions at least once a day, such as ‘Did Katherine Parr have any hobbies?’ What do you think I am, the font of all knowledge? Actually she did love shoes, and had dozens – no, hundreds of pairs.

You need to have: An insatiable desire to find out – if I don’t know the answer I think, ‘How interesting. I’m going to find out if it’s the last thing I do'.

Previously I was: An archaeologist.  I was gripped by the archaeological bug when I was 8 years old, and that particular fire has never gone out.  Buildings are archaeological sites too.  Picking apart the sequence of development, piecing together the story and uncovering secrets in a building is just as interesting as grubbing around in a trench.

 I follow in the footsteps of my great guru and mentor Adrian Gibson, one of the country’s great buildings specialists, who died in 2006, before I’d had time to learn ten percent of the knowledge he held in his head. 

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