Historic Royal Palaces nears completion of Kensington Palace transformation

Historic Royal Palaces nears completion of Kensington Palace transformation

A watercolour image showing the transformation of the entrance to Kensington Palace

1 Nov 2011

Historic Royal Palaces nears completion of Kensington Palace transformation , opening 26 March 2012


Historic Royal Palaces is delighted to announce it is in the closing stages of its fundraising campaign for the £12 million redevelopment of Kensington Palace. The project will enhance the visitors’ experience of the Palace and make it ‘a Palace for everyone’.  The extensive refurbishment will be unveiled in March 2012 to celebrate the year of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics.

Kensington Palace will be linked once again to the neighbouring park and surrounding landscape with gardens inspired by the historic grounds of the area. Historic vistas to and from the Palace will be reinstated, and a new outdoor courtyard will be installed.  The main visitor entrance will be relocated to the East of the Palace to welcome visitors. The Palace’s interiors have been restored to reflect the grandeur of their many royal residents.

Charles Mackay, Chairman of Historic Royal Palaces said “Our plans for Kensington Palace will open up the buildings and gardens and increase our visitors’ appreciation of the important events that have occurred there.  We are pleased to have excellent support from major donors in the UK as well as America. Our most recent gift of £1 million has been made by American industrialist and philanthropist Mark Pigott OBE.  Mr Pigott’s gift complements our most generous supporters for this project, notably Lord Cadogan, Dame Vivien Duffield and the Weston Family, in helping make our vision a reality.”

Historic Royal Palaces is, as part of this project, creating a new suite of visitor galleries in the Palace. These spaces, which have not been previously open to the public, will be the new home of a series of  exhibitions, which will explore the building’s royal history. The extensive Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection will be the primary resource of the exhibitions.  The first exhibition in the Pigott Galleries will open in May 2012 and will feature special items from Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897, the only other Diamond Jubilee in British Royal History.

For further information about Historic Royal Palaces, Kensington Palace and the project, please contact Vikki Wood on 020 3166 6304 vikki.wood@hrp.org.uk or Katrina Whenham on 020 3166 6307 katrina.whenham@hrp.org.uk or visit our website www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace.

Notes to editors

About Mark Pigott OBE and Family

Mr Pigott is chairman and chief executive officer of PACCAR Inc (www.paccar.com), a Fortune 200 global technology company based in Bellevue, Washington. The Pigott family and PACCAR have generously supported UK organisations such as Cancer Research UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Library, the Palace of Westminster, the National Theatre, the National Gallery and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The ‘Welcome to Kensington – a palace for everyone’ project
• The project will redevelop and re-present that part of the palace for which Historic Royal Palaces is responsible: the State Apartments and Kensington Palace gardens. It does not cover areas currently administered by the Royal Household.

• Notable donors, so far, to this project include (in alphabetical order):
The Cadogan Charity, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, The Gosling Foundation, the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Hobson Charity, Kevin and Penelope Lomax, Mr Mark Pigott OBE, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, The Basil Samuel Charitable Trust, Mr and Mrs Peter Smedvig, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, and numerous donations from palace visitors and Historic Royal Palaces Members. 

When the project is complete in 2012:
• Kensington Palace will be completely opened up and linked once again to the neighbouring park and surrounding landscape with gardens inspired by the historic layout of the area. Historic vistas to and from the palace will be reinstated, and a new outdoor space for public use and enjoyment created.

• The main visitor entrance will be relocated to the East of the Palace to welcome and draw visitors in from the Broad Walk and the Round Pond.

• There will be a central hub inside the palace, free of charge to enter, where visitors will get a taste of the palace and can choose to explore further or just stop and enjoy refreshment in relaxing surroundings.

• The life and reign of Queen Victoria will be explored with the new permanent display, ‘Victoria Revealed’. Visitors will explore the very rooms in which Victoria spent her childhood, discover more about her time at Kensington, her life and family through many personal and pertinent objects that once belonged to them. The stories of Kensington’s other fascinating personalities will be told throughout the State Apartments and in the Pigott Galleries themselves.

• Children will enjoy free admission to the palace, where fun, engaging and relevant children-friendly events and activities will encourage more families to visit.

• Physical access into and around Kensington Palace will be transformed, aided by the addition of a lift providing level access to all public floors.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace and Kew Palace.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.

We receive no funding from the Government or the Crown, so we depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

We believe in four principles.  Guardianship: giving these palaces a future as long and valuable as their past. Discovery: encouraging people to make links with their own lives and today’s world.  Showmanship: doing everything with panache. Independence: having our own point of view and finding new ways to do our work. Registered charity number 1068852

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