Who we are and what we do

These are palaces where a thousand years of history have been made.

Who we are

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle. 

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

Each of the six royal palaces in our care has survived for hundreds of years. They have witnessed peace and prosperity and splendid periods of building and expansion, but they also share stories of more turbulent times, of war and domestic strife, politics and revolution.

We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers.

What we do

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.

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.

Lucy Worsley giving a speech at the Banqueting House

Independence

We have a unique task and our own point of view. We challenge ourselves to find new ways to do our work. 

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity. For a thousand years the palaces in our care have witnessed dramatic events that shaped this nation. We exist to ensure their future, and rely entirely on your support to do so.

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.