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Sir Nicholas Coleridge appointed Chair of Historic Royal Palaces

07 September 2023

On the advice of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, His Majesty The King has appointed Sir Nicholas Coleridge as the next Chair of Historic Royal Palaces. Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity responsible for the management of the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle & Gardens.

Sir Nicholas will step down as chair of the Victoria & Albert Museum on 31 October. During his tenure, from 2015, the V&A has embarked on a major expansion adding four new sites to its portfolio including V&A Dundee and Young V&A, while laying the groundwork for the opening of V&A East Museum and V&A East Storehouse in 2025.

Sir Nicholas was previously President of Condé Nast International. He is currently chairman of the Campaign for Wool (established by HM King Charles III as Prince of Wales), an ambassador for the Landmark Trust, and a patron of the Elephant Family. He has also been Chairman of the British Fashion Council and of the Professional Publishers Association, a member of the Council of the Royal College of Art, and a member of the Trading Board of The Prince's Trust. He co-chaired the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in 2022 and was knighted in the 2022 Birthday Honours for services to museums, publishing and the creative industries.

In his new role as chair of Historic Royal Palaces, Sir Nicholas will succeed Carole Souter CBE, who has been acting as interim chair since August 2022, presiding over a busy year which saw the charity mark the Accession of King Charles III, open a new exhibition of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, and stage a series of events to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Her predecessor, Sir Rupert Gavin, served as Chair from 2015 – 2022. During his tenure, the charity re-opened Hillsborough Castle to the public after a £24 million restoration project, achieved record visitor numbers, and faced its toughest challenge yet during the coronavirus pandemic, when income was severely impacted.

Sir Nicholas takes up his appointment at an exciting time for Historic Royal Palaces. Thanks to a loan from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, and visitor numbers to the palaces returning, the charity’s financial recovery is well underway. In the years ahead, the charity will pursue an ambitious new strategy, focused on removing barriers to access, greater reach and inclusive stories for everyone. A new purpose-built Clore Learning Centre will open at Kensington Palace this autumn. A project to transform the moat at the Tower of London into a natural environment and make sector-leading schools facilities is in development. In the next year, the charity will be focusing on affordable pricing structures and expanding access schemes for schools and communities.


John Barnes, Chief Executive, Historic Royal Palaces, said,

‘I’m delighted to welcome Sir Nicholas Coleridge as the new Chair of Historic Royal Palaces. He brings a wealth of experience and an enviable track record in major cultural institutions that will be hugely valuable as we expand our charitable ambitions in the coming years.

On behalf of everyone at Historic Royal Palaces, I’d like to thank Carole Souter and Sir Rupert Gavin for their exemplary service to the charity. On a personal note, I’m deeply grateful for their leadership and wise counsel.’


Sir Nicholas Coleridge said,

‘Historic Royal Palaces is a unique charity that plays its part in national life and brings joy to millions. I’m delighted to be joining as its Chair of Trustees and look forward to building on the successes overseen by Sir Rupert Gavin and Carole Souter, my predecessors.’

Notes to Editors

For more information and images, please contact Laura Hutchinson in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office via [email protected] / 07990 726229.

Historic Royal Palaces is a team of people who love and look after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world. We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted. We tell stories about the monarchs you know and the lives you don’t. We let people explore and we set minds racing. We are a charity and your support gives the palaces a future, for everyone.

Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit