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A brief history of Historic Royal Palaces

History where it happened

History where it happened

'In Right of Crown'

The palaces in Historic Royal Palaces’ care are all owned by The King 'in Right of Crown', except Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Historic Royal Palaces is contracted by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to manage Hillsborough Castle.

His Majesty holds the palaces in Trust for the next monarch and by law cannot sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any interest in the palaces.

All of the palaces ceased being used regularly for royal court purposes in the 18th century and the government became responsible for their management, an arrangement codified in the Crown Lands Act 1851.

Currently, government responsibility rests with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport.

Two Yeoman Warders, dressed in their uniform, guarding the Middle Drawbridge.

Caring for the collections

The Royal Collection

Most of the contents of the palaces form part of the Royal Collection and are also owned by The King in Right of Crown.

The Director, Royal Collection Trust and the Keeper of the Privy Purse from the Royal Household sit as Trustees on the Board of Historic Royal Palaces.

Gloved Conservators cleaning the Historic books on display with soft brushes.

The Royal Armouries

The Royal Armouries Collections at the Tower of London are owned by the Royal Armouries, an independent National Museum.

The Constable of the Tower of London sits as a Trustee on both the Board of Historic Royal Palaces and on the Board of the Royal Armouries.


The story of the Tower of London

Iconic fortress, royal palace and infamous prison

The story of Hampton Court Palace

Home of Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty

The story of Kensington Palace

An elegant retreat for Britain's royal family