Updated 10 March: Kew Palace is closed. In line with recent government announcements, we hope to welcome our visitors back to Kew Palace from 4 June 2021. More information to follow.
2020 marked the bicentenary of the death of George III, the monarch most strongly associated with Kew. It was here that the young George spent much of his childhood, learning the art of kingship under the tutelage of some of the most celebrated theologians, architects and musicians of the day.
In later life, it was also at Kew that George was treated for periods of mental and physical ill health, resulting in his life and achievements being almost entirely eclipsed by the story of his still poorly understood 'madness'.
To celebrate the achievements of this remarkable King — and explore his often cruel treatment at the hands of his doctors at Kew — a new display for 2021 will consider the real man behind the much-peddled myth.
Bringing together objects which reveal his diverse interests, from his world-famous library to his fascination with the natural world, the exhibition aims to challenge what we think we know about this complex and brilliant man.
Among the items on display will be notes made by George's doctors and instructions for the King's care written by his daughter, Princess Mary.
These will be contrasted with examples of the exquisite artworks he acquired for the Royal Collection and even a concert programme in his own hand, revealing his lesser-known passion for the arts.
Image: King George III's waistcoat, made in 1819. This waistcoat was probably one of the last items of clothing the King wore before his death in January 1820
Image: White linen shirt worn by King George III, c1810.
Image: Traverse flute, c1760. George III played the flute to himself during his recovery at Kew in February 1789.
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021
The most intimate of our six royal palaces, Kew was built as a private house in 1631 and used by the royal family between 1729 and 1818. These gifts and souvenirs are all inspired by Kew Palace.