Culture Recovery Fund Loan Agreement

Friday 11 December

Friday 11 December

We are pleased to share the news today that Historic Royal Palaces has been offered a loan of £40m from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.  Our thanks go to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and to Arts Council England for providing us with this vital lifeline.

This has been a very challenging year for Historic Royal Palaces.  Like so many organisations, we have been hit badly by the pandemic.  As a self-funded charity, we lost almost all our income for a prolonged period, and we continue to suffer the effects of the major downturn in international tourism.  We have used our reserves to survive, but we had to make some very difficult choices to reduce our costs and become financially sustainable with much lower income for some years to come.

The loan we have received will be a vital bridge towards our recovery, providing much-needed support during this period in which we anticipate facing further substantial losses.  It does not replace the need to reduce our costs, because we will need to live within our means until we are able to generate a surplus again.  We expect that this will take a number of years.

Historic Royal Palaces was a successful charity before the pandemic, and we know that we can be again.  With this loan in place, we now have the confidence to look ahead and plan, investing in activities and projects that will return visitors to our sites and enable recovery.  When that happens, we are confident in our ability to repay the loan.

Throughout this year, our brilliant team have been determined, resilient, and agile, in the most difficult of circumstances.  We are proud of them, and grateful for their efforts.  We would also like to thank all the visitors, members, followers, volunteers and supporters who have come to the palaces, or donated to HRP in 2020.  Their support meant so much - we are so grateful that they stood by us during this difficult time.

John Barnes, Chief Executive, Historic Royal Palaces, said

‘After a year focused on survival, we can now look to the future with optimism.  For us, that means loving and looking after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world, and creating space for spirits to stir and be stirred.  We are ready to play our part in rebuilding the UK tourism industry.’

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact Laura Hutchinson via [email protected] / 07990726229.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle and Gardens under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit