George III: The Mind Behind The Myth

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.


Open 4 June 2021

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Included in palace admission (members go free)

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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.


White linen shirt, detail. Worn by King George III (1760-1820). Showing the high standing collar, topstitched, with two Dorset buttons with corresponding button holes, and the vent below the collar edged with a linen ruffle. Photographed on a black background.
Transverse flute; white porcelain in five parts decorated with floral swags spiralling around body; ends and finger holes mounted with gilt copper: in wooden box covered with red leather and lined with black velvet.

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 Great Pagoda at Kew surrounded by blue sky and green trees
Things to see

Re-opens for pre-booked guided tours from 5 June 2021. See The Great Pagoda at Kew Palace, now returned to its 18th-century splendour.

Open from 5 June 2021 (pre-booked tours)

Kew Palace

11:00 - 15:00

Separate ticket

Full colour bust of George III on display at Kew Palace
Things to see

Recreated using Madame Tussaud’s original mould, this glorious full colour bust of George III can be seen at Kew Palace.

Open 4 June 2021

Kew Palace

Included in Kew Gardens admission

A Georgian cook in red and white overalls prepares food in the Royal Kitchens at Kew Palace
Things to see

Get a fascinating insight into Georgian life at Kew Palace in the Royal Kitchens, preserved as they were in 1818.

Open 4 June 2021 (volunteer-led guided tour)

Kew Palace

Included in Kew Gardens admission

Why was George I called the ‘Turnip King’? Did George IV really loathe his wife? Fascinating facts about Georgian history.

A really useful guide to the Georgians

Why was George I called the ‘Turnip King’? Did George IV really loathe his wife? Fascinating facts about Georgian history.


Selection from Palace China collection.    The Palace china collection is an exclusive range that uses delicate details from the palaces including the gardens at Hampton Court Palace, the golden gates at Kensington Palace, the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London and the gold border detail on the Rubens ceiling at Banqueting House.  Lifestyle

Shop Georgian Gifts

The Georgian era was a time of elegance and enlightenment and this popular age has inspired our collection of books, luxury gifts, exquisite jewellery and unique dress up.

From £4.99

A selection of silver jewellery celebrating the conservation of the Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens.

Shop Kew Palace gifts

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.

From £4.99