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About us

We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred

We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred

Our Cause

We are a team of people who love and look after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world.

We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted. We tell stories about the monarchs you know, and the lives you don’t. We let people explore and we set minds racing.

We are a charity, and your support gives the palaces a future, for everyone.

How you can support us

We stir every spirit to inspire and provoke change

Our Cause

Long shot of the Great Gatehouse under a blue sky. Visitors can be seen in the foreground.

History of Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Royal Palaces was established by the government in 1989 in order to care for five royal palaces. We later became an independent charity and in 2014 took over the management of Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland.

More about our history

Researching History

We have a charitable duty, written into our founding charter, to help everyone learn about the sites in our care. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted when they visit the palaces.

The history of the palaces spans almost 1,000 years. Each has a complex history, much of which remains untold. For that reason, we welcome the addition of new research and fresh perspectives to our work, particularly when they reveal aspects of our national history which might previously have been overlooked. We are an Independent Research Organisation and our aim is to present the history of the palaces in a transparent, balanced and inclusive way, always informed by rigorous research.

We believe that our work is enriched by the involvement of a wide range of people and perspectives, so we want to work with a broad range of organisations and communities, to bring the story of the palaces to life. 

The Historic Royal Palaces Research Institute was launched in 2019 to provide a community network for staff undertaking research across the organisation and provide a platform for our academic projects, programmes and partnerships. 

Researching at Historic Royal Palaces

Trustees and Directors

Historic Royal Palaces is governed by a Board of Trustees. Our Trustees promote Historic Royal Palaces’ Cause in the world. They act in the organisation's best interests, ensuring high standards in all the work we do, and that we use our money and resources as effectively as possible.

The Chief Executive, John Barnes, is accountable to the Board of Trustees for the performance of Historic Royal Palaces and ultimately to Parliament for the public assets in our care. He chairs an Executive Board of eight Directors.

Our Trustees and Directors

Annual Reports and Accounts

As an independent charity we publish all our annual reports, accounts and Trustees meetings.

View Annual reports Read Trustees' meeting minutes


Our palaces host internationally important collections of fine and decorative art, the majority forming part of the Royal Collection.

We manage, conserve, display and research our own collections of royal ceremonial dress, architectural drawings, art, archaeology, furniture, furnishings, architectural decoration and social history.

We also work in partnership with the Royal Armouries to display their collections of arms and armour at the Tower of London.


Working with communities

Historic Royal Palaces work closely and collaboratively with local communities to create opportunities for people to meaningfully engage with our spaces and stories and make our palaces more accessible and relevant for all visitors.

Discover how we work with communities
Group leaders exploring the handling collection at Kensington Palace as part of the Community Access Scheme programme.

Tower of London World Heritage Site

HM Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London (the Tower) is one of England’s most evocative ancient monuments. There is a tangible sense of history in every tower and around every corner, making it an endlessly fascinating place for visitors from all round the world. We have a heritage management plan which sets out the management objectives for the Tower.

Tower of London World Heritage Site Plan

Our Policies

  • Equality & Diversity
  • Complaints policy
  • Conservation and Collections Policies
  • Due diligence and immunity from seizure
  • Freedom of Information
  • Gender Pay Gap report
  • Modern Slavery statement
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Pension Scheme Statement of Investment Principles
Policies and procedures

Working at Historic Royal Palaces

Find out more about working at Historic Royal Palaces.

Work for us

Sustainability at Historic Royal Palaces

We have set out a commitment to make a positive impact through our environmental sustainability performance. We want to be able to implement solutions for making a difference to the environment.

Sustainability strategy and performance